Another Day, Another Folder

Dr. Sallie Han, 
Anthropology Department, 
SUNY Oneonta, 

I reorganized the folders on Blackboard so that each one contains all the materials for one day/lesson, and my students have told me that this has been helpful for keeping their work organized. Previously, I had organized the course so there was a folder of readings, another of quizzes, etc. 

Now, each day/lesson has its own folder and contains the links to the readings, videos or podcasts, discussion board or Collaborate, etc. I use “standard” language, so PDFs are clearly marked and differentiated from videos, etc. I also note which ones are “required” versus “recommended” and for videos and podcasts, I note the running times. 

There is also quite a bit of redundancy—for example, the instructions for an assignment are included not only in the handout/document itself, but also in the link to the dropbox and as a separate “item” in Blackboard that is immediately visible to students when they open the folder. 

I find it is, in fact, more effort for me to organize the folders like this. It takes a lot less time just to upload items to separate folders of readings, quizzes, etc.! So, in addition to the time spent preparing the materials themselves, I sometimes go back and rename files, so they conform to the “standard” I have been developing. This is not to mention the copying and pasting of instructions so that they students cannot miss them (and BTW, I just realized that when I copy text from MS Word, I can use Shift-Command-V to paste without Word formatting). 

I am happy that it helps reduce the confusion and worry for students that they “missed” work. For example, when students have had questions, I can tell them to look inside a particular folder and everything they need to read, view/listen to, answer is contained there, without even looking at the syllabus ? 

This is part of a series of posts collected by the TLTC and Faculty Center to share ideas and tools that have been helpful in the shift is teaching during the Spring 2020 semester.  If you are interested in sharing either a tool that you have found very useful or a method that you are now using in your courses, we would love to hear from you. Send your video or brief description to Chilton Reynolds and we will post it as a part of this series. 

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