Configuring sharing options for students using Lab tools


This article goes over frequently asked questions related to being able to enable and disable a student's ability to share their "Lab" projects. 

What are App Lab, Game Lab, and Web Lab? 

App Lab, Game Lab, Java Lab, and Web Lab are programming environments designed to allow students to easily create applications, games, interactive animations, and websites. They are primarily used in our CS Discoveries, CS Principles, and CSA courses but are also available as standalone tools to be used outside our curriculum. Learn more about the differences between Lab environments here. 

These Lab environments allow students to personalize and customize their creations through writing free-form text, uploading images and sounds, etc. These tools are available to students who are 13 years or older or are in a teacher's section.

We recently updated our default settings so that students who are under 13 will not be able to share these projects with others (other than their teachers) unless the teacher overrides the setting and allows these students to share their projects.

How I can control which students can share their Lab projects? 

An important part of the student experience of using is the ability to share their projects and creations with others. You can manage which students can share their Lab projects through the Manage Students table. Just follow these steps: 

  1. Sign into and navigate to the "Classroom Sections" area of "My Dashboard."
  2. Click the section name of the section you want to disable sharing for. 
  3. Go to the "Manage Students" tab.
  4. If you have CS Discoveries, CS Principles, or CSA assigned to your section, you should see a column in the table called "Sharing." If you don't see this column, click on the settings icon in the "Actions" column and press "Control project sharing."

    Make sure to hit the "Show project sharing column" button in the dialog that pops up. 
  5. The "Sharing" column will show you exactly which students can and cannot share Lab projects.
  6. If you aren't already in editing mode, click on the Settings icon in the "Actions" column and hit "Edit all": 
  7. Select the checkbox in the sharing column for any student you want to allow sharing for and uncheck the checkbox for any student who you don't want to give sharing permissions to. 
  8. Hit the "Save all" button whenever you are done. 

If you want to quickly enable or disable sharing for all students, you can do this through the Settings icon on the "Sharing" column: 


What happens if I block my students from sharing their Lab projects?

If you disable your students from sharing their App Lab, Game Lab, and Web Lab projects, the following will happen:

  • If students click the "Share" button from their project, they will not be given their share link and instead be told why they cannot share. 
  • If someone (other than the student or their teacher) tries to access the share link or the "View code" link for one of the students' projects, they will not be able to. Instead, they will see an error message on that page.
  • Students will no longer see the ability to "Publish" their Game/App/Java Lab projects from their projects list to the Public Gallery (Note: Students already cannot publish their Web Lab projects). 
  • If the students previously published their Lab projects to the Public Gallery, these projects will be removed from the gallery until their ability to share is re-enabled. 

Why does this feature only block sharing for certain Lab environments? What about other tools like Play Lab and Artist?

We wanted to provide teachers with the ability to block sharing for App Lab, Game Lab, Java Lab, and Web Lab projects because these tools give students freedom to do things like upload images and sounds. While these features are important to let students build creative and advanced projects, they also open up the opportunity for students to create projects that may be inappropriate, personal, or otherwise not within your school's rules on sharing.

Our other tools are designed for younger students with the appropriate level of privacy built in for this age group. For example, while a student can share a cool looking star or spiral in Artist, students can't upload a picture, use any artist tools to write words, etc. In the few places where we do allow some text entry, we automatically disable sharing of projects if we detect that the text contains information like phone numbers or email addresses.

In addition, we protect your student's privacy on all projects in the gallery (App Lab, Game Lab, Artist, Play Lab, etc.) by making sure anything they do share is anonymous. In the gallery, they are listed only with an age range and the first letter of the student's name.  

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