Dropboxes and lockboxes in Sakai
I used to think of a dropbox as something like a night deposit box or a ballot box. It was a file storage location where students could add items but not change them. Each file was time-stamped and only an instructor could remove it. You could be certain that what you found in a dropbox was submitted on time and that students could not see their classmates’ work. I am going to start calling that idea a lockbox*, because “dropbox” has acquired too many new meanings!
Three kinds of dropbox
There are several varieties of dropbox in use on the Notre Dame campus these days. Only one provides a lockbox option:
- Courseware dropbox – our home-grown course file storage space is called “Courseware.” One of its functions is to automatically generate lockboxes for students. It has served us for twenty years, but Courseware is not pretty and uses dated technology. It’s on the way out.
- Dropbox.com – with this general-purpose tool you “drop” files into folders on your desktop and they sync up to the cloud (FYI, it can’t do lockboxes). Many of our faculty members use Dropbox.com, even though the university has officially adopted competitor Box.net.
- Sakai Drop Box tool – our new Sakai system includes a tool that creates a private folder where students can upload files to which only the instructor has access. Files are time-stamped, but students can delete and edit items in their drop boxes.
Group lockboxes in Sakai
Here is one way Sakai can provide lockbox functionality:
- Create one or more groups in the Site Editor.
- In the Resources tool, create a folder
- On the folder’s dropdown “Actions” menu select “Edit Folder Permissions” and grant “Student” the right to “Create resources”
- Back on the “Actions” menu select “Edit Details.” Under “Availability and Access,” select “Display this folder and its contents to selected groups only” and indicate the desired group.
Members of the group will be able to upload files to the folder and open them, but not change or remove them. If you want an individual lockbox for each member of a small class, you can create a one-person group for each student.
[Image credit: dropbox icon by IconEasy.com.]
* No relation to Al Gore’s Social Security lockbox idea during the 2000 presidential campaign. Remember the field day “Saturday Night Live” had with that gem?