Technical Training in Secure Environments

Our training materials are built with certain assumptions about actions that students will be able to take on their PCs. We understand that training must sometimes occur in secure environments. Users of this courseware should be aware of a few requirements and recommendations:

Classroom Setup

  • All software for student machines is free and downloadable, unless otherwise identified in a particular course outline. So the pre-class setup process requires internet access; or one can download files to a machine outside the classroom and transfer them by a local network, CD, DVD, or USB memory device.
  • The instructor will usually bring additional files that are not for general distribution on a USB stick or other portable storage device. It is essential that the instructor's PC be configured to allow files to be transferred onto the machine. Virus scans and other security measures may be necessary; but prohibiting file transfer completely will severely limit the instructor's ability to present the training.

During Class

  • Students must have privileges to execute various applications found in the lab software and supporting tools -- Java launchers, web servers, IDEs, and so on.
  • Students must have privileges to modify the lab software -- this means creating, deleting, and modifying existing files. This is a simple enough requirement but it can become a problem when lab software is installed under one account (often an administrator's account) and then students log in with a different account. So it's good to be sure either to use the same user account for setup and class time, or to set file permissions so that non-owners have the full range of capabilities.
  • We recommend a networked classroom. Our courseware does not strictly require internet access (except as identified for a particular course). A network between instructor and student machines facilitates file sharing, which can be useful in ad-hoc situations such as improvised lab exercises and solutions, or patching up an unanticipated problem in the machine setup.
  • We recommend providing Internet access to all student machines and to the instructor's machine. Our courseware does not strictly require internet access (except as identified for a particular course), but the Internet is a huge resource for the instructor and students alike, to research a given topic more thoroughly during class time.
  • If the instructor's and/or student's accounts are set to log out automatically after a certain period of inactivity, we strongly recommend setting that timeout to at least ten minutes. Very short timeouts can make it difficult for instructors to lecture, as their machines will log them out in mid-sentence! And students can have a harder time staying with instructors during lectures and demos, and even with their individual lab exercises.