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Teaching Tech

Using Dropbox for Document Management

Managing documents is a soul-crushing task.  If you’ve ever spent a lonely Saturday afternoon searching for a misplaced essay, you know where I’m coming from. Add to this the burden of collecting/organizing student documents each semester, and the prospects seem exceedingly bleak (Daft Punk’s “Technologic” never seemed so relevant). Fortunately, there is help.

Dropbox is a free online storage program that makes quick work of an otherwise unmanageable task.  This intuitive system updates and improves previous software, greatly expanding the functionality of platforms like Google.doc:  Upload and organize Word documents, pdfs, and images from any computer.  Files appear on an easy-to-maintain interface, can be organized in folders, shared with colleagues or students, and downloaded with the click of a button. Install Dropbox to your home or office computer for improved functionality. The software keeps track of changes to documents, automatically updating copies online.  Working on an old laptop or desktop in complete disrepair? Fear no longer!

The sharing feature greatly reduces the difficulty of collecting student documents.  Create folders for each semester (as pictured below) and sub-folders for each student.  Students can then upload drafts to these folders.  The days of searching one’s email for student projects are numbered.  Simply, download, grade, upload (a mantra for twenty-first century computing?).  Each time a student joins, the good folks over at Dropbox will give you more space.  Grading will, I assure you, suck less.

Derek Risse is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric & Composition at WSU with research interests in Animal and New Media Studies. He has taught ENG 1020 in the department for several years and is teaching ENG 3010 this Fall.



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