Creating Memorable Passwords

Usernames and Passwords

They almost always evoke an eyeroll, a sigh, and a facepalm.  But unfortunately they are a reality of life in the Internet Age.  Teaching students to type their username and password might also add headaches and nausea to those symptoms.  And watching a young student try to type their full email address and password can be downright painful.

To help alleviate some of these symptoms, here is a lesson that can help students create unique, memorable, passwords that meet Concordia’s 12 character requirements.  Since we do not yet require that passwords have numbers, symbols, or upper case letters you can use the following guide to help students pick a combination of words for their password and create a visual that will help them remember it.

The password consists of three words put together.  A describing word, a color, and an animal from the Chinese Zodiac.

First pick and adjective from the following list:

Next pick a color:

Finally, pick an animal:

Take those three words, put them together, and count the letters.  If they add up to 12 or more you’re good!  If not, go back and change one of the words until you get a combination that adds up to at least 12 letters.

bigreddog = 9 letters (too short)

smallreddog = 11 letters (too short)

happybluedog = 12 letters (Okay)

angrypurpleox = 13 letters (Okay)

When students have selected a password, then they need to draw an animal that matches their description.  (See example of my poor drawing skills below)


Finally, after students have created their drawings, record their passwords next to their e-mail address on your class list so you have a record of their passwords just in case they forget.

Odds are good that the process of selecting the words and creating the drawing will help them remember their password so they won’t need prompting.