E-Learning virtual lab woes

Lately I've been getting a lot of feedback from people who are having difficulty logging into our virtual labs. The login issues are mainly two fold.

  • Users can't find the login information as it is not posted in an obvious place.

  • The password itself is difficult to enter for people in non-english speaking countries, as we use a combination of upper case, lower case, and symbols.

Well we've heard all your feedback and I wanted to let you know that we are working actively to address the issue, but I need your help.

In order to simplify the experience for you our customer, we're thinking of removing passwords altogether from all of our labs. This would mean that in order to login you would just need a valid username. The second part of the plan involves posting this default username in a very clear place on the lab-launch page in such a way that it is extremely obvious.

This introduces a dilemma however, and this is where your feedback comes in. As a company Microsoft is heavily focused (as you know) on security. We highly discourage having machine logins that do not require passwords as they are a hacker's dream. Based on this we do not want to remove passwords from our labs at the cost of being perceived as encouraging bad practices.

I appreciate your thoughts (comments) on this approach.


Comments (6)

  1. David says:

    Hi Glenn,

    Personally, I can fully appreciate Microsoft’s dilemma regarding the security issue, and would like to point out (what I believe), to be the problem.

    Yesterday, I started (and completed) the first of three labs, that I am taking for .NET 3.0, but this was not with put it’s problems and frustrations to get started.  These arew the actions I took:

    1. Go to the e=learning site

    2. Logon to see my e-learning portfolio

    3. Selected the training (pressing the corresponding button to the right of the  title)

    The site then displayed the course outline and syllabus – but no start the course button.

    Pressing the back button, I again tried item three above again, only to get the training syllabus and outline.

    This was the same flow for any training that I selected.

    I was about to give up, when I noticed a strange action when the site displayed the training outline and syllabus – the passport button showed that I was logged out (the security state / session was not passed over the second page.

    So I logged in (again), and presto, I was on my merry way to actually doing the desired training.

    I suggest that you look to the security issue, not so mush as users not being able to find, but as a management issue across the site.

    Hope this helps you and the team a little and BTW, outstanding subject matter on the training.

  2. What you are describing is relating to our purchasing process, which is a whole other issue :). Basically, unless you are logged in with your passport account, you cannot go through with a full purchase and activate a course. My question above though is relating to our courses that have virtual labs (of which these clinics do not). But thanks for your feedback.

  3. Larry says:

    Not sure if this is forum is still active but I don’t see why this is so difficult.  Just post the username and password in a place where someone such as myself can find it.  The image of a relaxed security in a demo environment isn’t as bad as a demo environment which does not work at all.  Typical of the industry, using security in places it doesn’t really belong.

  4. Anna says:

    To all readers that still haven’t found the password and ended up on this site: this is how I finally found it:

    in the main screen: under ‘Content’, click ‘print all content’.

    In that document, search for ‘password’ and there it is.

  5. Chris says:

    Ehm.. I can see a Content in the main window, but not "print all content". What particular screen are you talking about exactly?

  6. Sabrina says:

    Login?   I scoff at your login.  I can’t even get the labs to launch!

    Why do I bother with Microsoft, again?  Oh yeah…because I work in IT.

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