I have extolled the wonders of DropBox on several occasions. Here’s something else to consider. What if others could send files to your DropBox without accessing it? See dropitto.com.
DropBox – is a great utility for saving and transferring files and DropItTo makes it even better.
Using DropItTo, you can create your personal web-based utility that anybody can use to send you a file. Once you register, you get a unique URL like www.dropitto.me/abc. Anybody who needs to send you a file can then go to the URL and upload the file. The file will be directly uploaded to your Dropbox account and be easily accessible.
Personally, I like this better than receiving files attached to emails (Sara)
Read more: DropItTo: Let People Send Files To Your Dropbox.
Yet another great idea from MakeUseOF
I have mentioned before the wonders of Dropbox, a free, quick, safe, and simple download that places a tiny open box icon on your menu bar. Inside this box, you can save files, folders, pictures, etc. that can be accessed from any computer. The file list in Dropbox look like any file menu on your computer.
I use Dropbox to safely store all the docs I frequently work on and may need to access at home. I know that if my computer crashes, those files will be saved. At home, I loaded Dropbox on my computer there. Voila! All my files are there. Any changes I make to them at work or at home are saved. I have also gone out of town, used a computer in a hotel business center, and accessed dropbox.com. From there, I got to all my files. I can do the same in my classroom.
One caveat: It is best to save any material that would fall under FERPA rules on one of the college servers rather than Dropbox.
Here is the link to MakeUseOf’s manual for everything Dropbox.
Try it–you’ll like it! http://tinyurl.com/34gz9vz
Teaching Strategies That Help Students Learn How to Learn
By Sara J. Coffman
What skills do you wish your students had prior to taking your course? Reading comprehension, time management, listening, note-taking, critical thinking, test-taking? Let’s face it, most students could benefit from taking a course in learning how to learn. But who wants to take a study skills class?
My solution: sneak study skills into your class along with the content.
• Select a textbook that has learning aids (study guides, online materials, and/or audio files) and encourage your students to use them.
• Craft your syllabus carefully. By setting the right tone, you can motivate students.”
• Design clear, meaningful assignments that enable students to accomplish course objectives.
• Space the workload out evenly throughout the semester.
• If students don’t master an assignment the first time, give them constructive feedback, and the chance to redo it. You may not want to do this for every assignment, but doing it for one early in the course “sets the bar” and encourages them to do quality work.
When it comes to retention, the traditional view is that it’s the students’ responsibility to “retain” themselves by doing the work that is assigned in a course and achieving passing marks on tests. However, the growing focus on student success and retention involves increased efforts to help students from admission through graduation. And that means faculty have a big role to play
The first week:
• If your class is small, set up interviews with students individually or in pairs to find out why they’re taking the course and what they want to get out of it. Not only will you learn about who’s in the class, but you’ll increase students’ commitment to work hard and communicate with you. If the class is large, use email to collect information about students and to establish connections.
• Talk to students about how to study for your course. Give them a list of study techniques recommended by students who’ve taken the course and earned A’s.
• Early in the course, have students use their textbooks in class. By using class time, you acknowledge the book’s value. If you can’t afford class time, have students do a homework assignment that they can’t complete without using the book.
• Offer students time management suggestions. Let them know approximately how much time they should spend on the course each week. Talk about how daily study keeps the information fresh and helps avoid cramming. Show how longer assignments can be broken into small pieces.
Techniques for teaching:
• Start class with something that gets their attention and then quickly review what was covered in the previous class.
• Show students “tricks of the trade,” or how you learned the material. Talk aloud when you solve a problem. Show students what you do when you get stuck.
• Provide a partial outline and have your students fill in the missing material during the lecture.
• Leave five minutes at the end of each class for students to check their notes with those of their neighbor, review major ideas, and indicate what they thought was important and why.
• Assign study groups prior to the first exam, have them exchange contact information, and require a one-hour study session outside of class. Help them be more productive by providing a study guide and/or sample test questions they can submit for bonus points.
• Give students frequent tests and constructive feedback throughout the course.
• Give a practice test before the actual exam so students get a feel for the types of questions you ask. If you use essay questions, share an example of an A, C, and F answer.
• Take class time to go over the first exam. Talk in detail about the questions most often missed.
• Have students analyze the first exam, or quiz, by writing you a memo that responds to questions like these: Was it harder than expected? Were any of the questions a complete surprise? If so, which ones? Were there any questions you didn’t understand or found confusing? If so, rewrite them using your own words. What one change are you going to make when studying for the next quiz? What study strategy did you use that worked well?
These simple strategies teach students learning skills that will make them better students in every course.
Excerpted from “Teaching Strategies That Help Students Learn,” The Teaching Professor, 23.7 (2009): 1,8.
Sara J. Coffman, Center for Instructional Excellence, Purdue University.