Disappearing student work (how to avoid)!

As we are all now using Google Drive to store and collect content from students and each other, we’d like to bring to your attention a sometimes overlooked inconvenience… If you have asked students to submit content to you by sharing files from their own Google accounts, or by placing them into folders you provide in your personal Google Drive space, then you may be in danger of losing access to that material once the student’s account is removed from the College’s systems after they graduate! You can tell by looking at the “Owner” listing of any files you’re worried about within Google Drive. If that owner is not you, you could lose access.

To solve this, you have several options. First, you can download anything you are worried about to your own computer. (Don’t use Google Sync for this, that’s not the same thing!). By downloading the files to your computer, you break the link between the student “owner” of the material and your copy, safely saving them on your own computer. They should then also be backed up by the College’s CrashPlan backup system too.

Second, you can make a copy of the shared files to your personal Google Drive. Search Google Drive for “from:”. Select all the documents you wish to save, and right-click (or control-click) on them to choose Make a Copy. This will copy the selected files permanently to your Google account and make you the “Owner” of the copy.

Third, you can move it to a Google Drive space managed by AODocs, such as a folder within your Departmental Google Drive space. Doing this ensures that the ownership of the file is Swarthmore College… These drive spaces will have a prefix on the name in square brackets, like [BIOL] or [ECON], or [PSYC] and the owner of the files and folders in that Google Drive space will be all the same, most likely Swarthmore College, or the name of your lab. Similarly, if you have a Google Drive space set up for your lab that’s outside your personal Drive space, you can similarly have students put the content in a folder you’ve shared there. If you don’t already have a research lab Google Drive space, and you’d like to request one, please contact the Help Desk (support@swarthmore.edu, x4357), or you can fill out the AODocs Drive folder request form to request it. We strongly recommend that you have a research space set up, if you regularly collect digital files from students. It’s not just good for this purpose, but can be a great resource for sharing critical files with your lab group in a common place, without having to send email constantly!

Lastly, of course, if you use Moodle, having students upload work to your Moodle course will continue to be a good option, but those courses are organized on a semesterly basis. You can still download a backup of your course yourself (you don’t need our help)! Instructions are here: How do I export or backup a course from Moodle?.

If you’re worried about losing any student work that has been shared with you via Google, please don’t hesitate to contact the Help Desk (x-4357, support@swarthmore.edu), and we’ll be happy to help you figure it out!