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I've recently inherited administration of an Xserve running OS X Server 10.5.8. I have a specific need for teaching staff to access the home folders of students via network shares. Ideally in groups - i.e. the home folders of students in Class A, the home folders of students in Class B etc. Of course students can be in both classes or just one. So, teacher chooses share "ClassA" and it lists the home folders, with access rights for r&w.

Any suggestions on how to set this up?


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One suggestion is to add all of the teachers of studentA to the studentA group, and give the group studentA read/write access to all of the files that studentA owns. You might have to enforce that through a crontab unless you can prevent the students from changing permissions.





teacherA teaches studentA
teacherB teaches studentB
teacherC teaches studentA and studentB

groups: (name: member, member, ...)

studentA: studentA, teacherA, teacherC
studentB: studentB, teacherB, teacherC
teacherA: teacherA
teacherB: teacherB
teacherC: teacherC

If you also want to create (for each teacher) a directory with symbolic links to all of their students home directories, that would make things a little simpler for the teacher.

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In the Mac world, you can do these steps in Workgroup Manager. I'm not sure that this is a great idea, but a quick glance looks like it should work. I'm just not sure about how well it will scale over hundreds of students. Especially over time, as students transfer in and out of classes. – Data Scavenger Oct 1 '10 at 4:52
Yea, the maintenance work is high. I might as well just add each teacher individually to a students home folder. Preferring a global/group approach. I.e. Some students are in Group101 and/or Group202 (classes). TeacherA can access all user folders in Group101, TeacherB all users in Group202. – Music Tech Nov 1 '10 at 21:29
You would want to automate it, based on a list of students in each teacher's class. E.g. while read teacher, teachersStudents ; do for student in ${teachersStudents} ; do usermod -a -G ${student} ${teacher} ; done ; done – Slartibartfast Nov 2 '10 at 4:13

Are you sure that this is what they need? I don't mean to offend, but I've found that most of my teachers' needs were better addressed through other methods. For example, I set up a "Drop Box" share point. I then put a folder for each teacher in it. That folder is set to be world-writeable, but only readable by the teacher's account. Students can then hand in work by copying their files into the teacher's folder. They've come to call this "drop-boxing" it and really like it. Its easy to learn, its scaled well over many years and hundreds of students. The teachers even use it to send each other large files.

If I had a better grasp of your needs, maybe I could see why the above doesn't work for you. Or even suggest a better method.

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Oh, yes I have thought of that (drop boxes) but students do a lot of AV work, hence the storage cost involved and slow copying process of copying gigs of data to and from folders makes this a usability problem. Cheers. – Music Tech Oct 7 '10 at 21:11
Ah. That makes sense. Then there is a built-in tool for you already. Just tell the kids to move their files into ~/Public and anyone can come by and view them. This would mean your only investment would be training the end users (and that won't take much effort, I suspect). It scales well, its already part of Apple's OS design, etc. Not sure if that helps, but I figured I'd mention it. – Data Scavenger Oct 13 '10 at 0:21
Hi - we have a specific requirement that only the teacher of the class can access those files, so ~/Public won't help thanks. – Music Tech Nov 1 '10 at 21:25

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