Using the Sakai Drop Box tool
The other day, we talked about different kinds of dropboxes; this follow-up goes into detail on Sakai’s strategy.
The Sakai Drop Box tool creates a separate folder for each student. Only the student and the instructor can access any material stored in the folder. Otherwise, a drop box is a storage space that is very similar to what the Sakai Resources tool provides. It’s a student’s course-specific personal Sakai space.
What can students do in their drop boxes?
- Upload files – text, images, sound, video, etc.
- Create and edit content
- Text documents and HTML files (web pages) – using a visual editor
- Web Links (URLs)
- Create folders and subfolders to organize material
- Delete, edit, move, and reorder items
- Upload or download multiple items using the WebDAV protocol
A student can use a drop box for homework, labs, special projects, journal entries, successive essay drafts, and so on. All items are time-stamped, so the instructor can tell when they were last modified.
What can instructors do?
Instructors can use the Drop Box tool for graded or non-graded activities. They can view any student work in a drop box, but they can also add items – such as feedback in the form of a Word document.
Instructors see all of their students’ drop boxes. The list can be filtered to show a single group (defined in Site Editor), and the instructor can flag drop boxes with recent changes.
Instructors are not able to change permissions for the Drop Box tool as a whole, nor can students or instructors change permissions for individual items. For example, it’s not possible to arrange things so that students can add items but not delete or edit them.
Drop Box versus Assignments
Some instructors prefer the Drop Box tool over the Sakai Assignments tool. There are several important differences, so which tool you choose will depend on your needs and preferences:
- There is only one drop box, while you can have many separate assignments.
- Assignments can connect directly to the Sakai Gradebook tool, drop boxes can’t.
- Assignments have opening and closing dates, while drop boxes are always available
- It’s easier to browse through student work in drop boxes
- Downloading all drop box material for a class is easier than downloading from the Assignment tool.
- If student drop boxes contain multiple items, then downloading files for a specific activity may be easier in the Assignment tool.
- Uploading feedback to a student is easy in either tool.