Cloud Computing means having access to documents, files, pictures and other teaching and learning artifacts from any computer, tablet or phone, as long as there is an internet connection. Storing files on a remote server, rather than on a computer’s hard drive, allows for the flexibility to work on the go. In addition, collaboration becomes much easier. It is possible to share, edit and collaborate on projects with colleagues and with students. Storing documents “in the cloud” is a great option for receiving, commenting on and grading student papers and projects. Curating content for a class project, study guide, or website can be achieved by sharing documents on a remote server. Faculty have used Dropbox and Box to group edit a screenplay, Google Drive to create a collaborative slide deck and spreadsheet, OneDrive to receive and grade papers, and SharePoint to store files, course content and assignments. View the tutorials on how to get started using these services.
Once you start keeping documents in the cloud, you will need to come up with a workflow that will be suitable for you and your students. Will you collaborate with students using OneDrive and with colleagues using SharePoint? Will you keep your Google Account strictly for personal and family use? Will you use a file system, or will you rely on the search bar within your cloud service? If you use an annotation app to markup student documents, will you store those files on your harddrive, will you return them using a folder individually shared with each student? Email it back? If you download and highlight articles for a literature review you are working on, where will you store the original and annotated files? The bibliography? Having a plan will help you locate your files when you need them; rather than having to search several different services for the document or project that you are looking for. For more tips on creating a file system and workflow, check out these Lynda.com tutorials (free to view one you log in with your Seattle Public Library account).
It is important to practice good password hygiene, but this is often easier said than done. It seems that every mobile app, website or service requires you to create an account and password. Taken together, the passwords that you need to manage for work, school and your personal life can quickly increase, when it can become tempting to use a short, easy password, or to use the same password over and over on multiple accounts. Unfortunately, this practice can leave your extremely vulnerable to thieves and hackers who would love to get their hands on your personal information. It is important that you use a unique password for as many accounts as possible, and enabling two step authentication is an even safer bet. When is it important to manage your passwords? All the time! You personal information is only as safe as your weakest password. Learn more about creating and managing passwords.