Student Groups and Accounts

This article explains how course staff (TAs, HTAs, etc.) can manage their course's student group and convey to tstaff what accounts need to be created.


Manual Student List Editing

0. Registration and Shopping - NEW Fall 2016

Beginning Fall 2016, account creation is a trickier process, and it requires an extra step on the part of the students.

Brown recently added a new feature to Banner. In addition to registering for courses, a student has the option of adding courses to their shopping cart, as a way of expressing interest in a course without actually registering for it.

As an unexpected consequence of the migration to CIS' systems being half-finished, there are certain steps in the creation of CS accounts that must first be performed by CIS. The most convenient way of alerting CIS about new CS students happens to be for those students to either register for a CS course in Banner, or add a CS course to their Banner shopping cart. Inform new students emphatically (in class and over email) that they will have to either register for the course or add it to their shopping cart before their accounts can be created.

The remaining steps are unchanged from recent years.

1. Collect Information From Students

In the first few days of classes, you should collect the following information from your students:

2. Edit your Student List

First, create an empty student list file in your course's admin directory (replace csXXX with your course's code):

echo > /course/csXXX/admin/studentlist

Now, edit your student list:

/local/bin/editstudentlist csXXX

This will open your text editor of choice (based on the EDITOR environment variable). Enter the logins and AuthIDs that you collected from your students, one per line (blank lines are OK). When you are done, save and quit. The system will process the input and then show you how it has interpreted the list. Output is fairly straightforward; it either finds a valid account, and asks you to confirm the student's name, or it asks you to check your spelling.

After confirming the input, save and quit again. If the list is alright, you will be returned to your shell prompt. Email to say that your student list is updated. Tstaff will begin the process of creating new accounts and adding accounts to the csXXXstudent group. Please give at least one day's notice; account creation is not a fast process.

If you wish to make modifications to your student list, you may re-run the editstudentlist command at any time. Remember you must email after making a change.

Automatic Student List Editing

Alternatively, you may choose to populate your student list using registration information from Banner.

First, create an empty student list file as described above:

echo > /course/csXXX/admin/studentlist

Now, edit the student list, but specify the -a (auto) option:

/local/bin/editstudentlist -a csXXX

This will initialize your student list with all students registered for the course in Banner. Adds and drops that took place since the previous night will not be reflected in this list.

You will be placed in your text editor of choice in case you want to make any modifications to the auto-generated list, as described in the section above. When you are done, save and quit, and email

Important: You may re-edit the list at any time with the editstudentlist command. Be aware that if you specify the -a option, the existing list will be cleared.


Initial Passwords

Initial passwords for new accounts can be retrieved electronically by the student. The student should talk to the on-duty Sunlab consultant for details. For intro courses (CS15, CS17, CS19, CS4), the consultant presenting at the first lab will walk the students through the process.

Forgotten Passwords

The student must follow the instructions as described on the passwords page.


Courses which expect a large number of new students (e.g. CS15, CS17, CS19, CS4) can request that a SPOC be present during their first labs to handle last-minute account requests and password resets. Please email at least 72 hours before the first lab.

Special Case: Non-Brown Students (incl. RISD)

If you need an account created for a student who does not have and can not obtain a Brown account, you should email They can either help you to find a way for the student to obtain their Brown account or may just create a guest account, if there is no other option.

Note that some RISD students will have already completed enough paperwork to get their own Brown account. You can treat them like normal Brown students.