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Creating and Managing SSO-Enabled Section Access Links
Last Updated: Oct 19, 2018 08:45AM EDT

This article applies to:  Echo360 Instructors

If you do not see an Access Links option in your section Settings page, your Administrator may have disabled Access links to sections. Contact your system administrator if necessary.
If your Access Links have more than Public or Private options for them, refer to Creating and Managing Section Links. This topic is specifically for instructors in single-sign-on (SSO) institutions whose administrators have configured their system to automatically create Echo360 accounts for incoming users through these section links.

Section Access Links are generated by Instructors and used to give students direct access to your section. This access can be Public (does not require the user to be logged in) or Private (requires the user to be logged in and have an Echo360 account). 

The TYPE of link you create depends on how or who you want accessing your section. You can create multiple links with different capabilities for posting to different audiences. Details on what actually happens with each type of link is provided at the bottom of this article.

Section Access Link with options as described

To create a section access link

  1. Log into Echo360 as an instructor.
  2. Navigate to the section you want to create a link for, either from the Dashboard or via the Courses drop-down list in the top navigation bar.
  3. Click Settings for the section.
  4. Click Access Links on the left.
  5. Click the ADD LINK button.
    Section access links tab with selections for steps identified as described
     
  6. The link is created and appears as shown in the figure at the top of this page. The default settings for all new links are as follows: 
    • The link is Active at creation. Toggling the switch OFF means users cannot use the posted link to enter the section. Turn it back ON to reactivate the link.
    • Access: The link access is Private by default. This means a user who clicks it must be (or become) registered in Echo360 to enter the section.
      Changing Access to Public means that users can click the link but do not have to log in to enter and view the section. If users enter as anonymous users, they can view all of the classes and section materials but cannot take notes, participate in Q&A or respond to Activity slides (because there is no way to distinguish or identify individual users). More on this below.
      NOTE: All logged-in users who are not already enrolled in the section when they click the link will be enrolled as students. Anonymous users are always students.
  7. Provide a Description for the link if necessary. You may find this helpful to know why the link was created or where it is posted for access, etc.
    New Access link created with fields for steps as described
     
  8. When the configuration is complete, click in the Link box to copy the link to your clipboard. You can now paste it wherever necessary to provide section access.
  9. When you no longer need the link, you can Delete it. This removes any relationship between the original link and the section. Any instances of the posted link will no longer work (and will never work again).

If you want to keep the link for later use but suspend access to the section via the link, turn the Active toggle OFF instead. This retains the relationship between the link and the section but does not allow users to access the section via the link while it is inactive.

Access levels and how section links work

As stated above, there are two access levels available for SSO section access links: public and private. One does not require a user to be logged in to see the section, one does. That does not mean that if a user is already logged in, a public link won't work. Nor does it necessarily mean that a user who has never been in Echo360 before cannot use a private link. 

Below is a rundown of what happens when different users click different types of section access links.

Public-type Section Access Links

If a user is NOT logged into the Institution SSO and clicks a Public type section link, they are taken to the Class List for the section as a student, but are there anonymously. Meaning they are not actually enrolled in the section as an individual. They can view the materials but cannot take notes or participate in Q&A or respond to Activity slides. It does not matter if the user is a registered Echo360 user or not; if they are not logged in, we do not know who they are, and Public-type links do not request a login.

If a user is already logged into the Institution SSO and they click a Public type section link, they are taken to the Class List for the section and enrolled into the section as a student. This user can take notes, enter Q&A questions and responses, and respond to Activity slides. Whether there are other students in the section who can do that as well depends on how/when they accessed the section. The Q&A/Discussions panel may be very lonely.

If the user is already logged into the Institution SSO and they click a Public type section link for a section in which they are already enrolled as an instructor, they are taken to the class list for the section and retain their role as an Instructor in the section. Their access through the link does not change their role.

As an instructor for the section, you can review any student enrollments through the Settings tab > Students page.

Private-type Section Access Links

If a user is not logged into the Institution SSO and clicks a Private type section link, they are taken to their institution's login page where they log in. Once they are authenticated through the institution's SSO process, they are passed into Echo360 and onto the section Class List. The user is enrolled into the section as a student. This is true whether or not the user has ever been in Echo360 before or not. The SSO-enabled access links automatically creates them as a user in Echo360, if necessary, when they click through.

If a user is logged into the Institution SSO and clicks a Private type section link, they are taken directly to the Class List for the section and enrolled into the section as a student.

All of these users can take notes, enter Q&A questions and responses, and respond to Activity slides.

If a user who is already enrolled in the section as an instructor clicks a Private type section link (for that section) they are taken to the class list for the section and retain their role as instructor in the section.

If a user clicks a Private type section link but cannot log into the institution (they have forgotten their login OR they do not yet have one established with the institution) they must contact the help desk or an administrator to set up or reset their user account. Echo360 accepts SSO users through the institution login/authentication. If the SSO cannot do that, we cannot let them in. However once the SSO system validates them, Echo360 will pass them in, either as their existing user account or creating a new one if appropriate.

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