Do you need to send large files without clogging up email? What about sharing files between your office desktop and a laptop? PC and Mac or iPhone?
It is worth taking a look at Dropbox. For the features see here.
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I started to use Dropbox this year and have found it exceptionally useful.
Specifically I collaborate with scientists abroad and we keep all documents pertaining to a project in a shared dropbox folder.
We experimented also with Google docs but it was not so successful. It seems sticky and the spreadsheet facility is not very good, and other extension formats are not supported obviously eg SPSS files.
I tried to introduce to colleagues here but not too successfully I think … doubt as to utility and suspicion about security.
Although I would not put bank details there I think it is secure. !!One help perhaps from LIS would be advice about the encryting devices that could be incorporated!!
I plan to experiment use with students this year. Free and 2Gb space initially … I'm up to 5Gb with referrals. They can drop their formative work there for me to check out. It's great that they can each share only with me etc.
Hope that there are not corporate objections to this !!
I agree an excellent tool. I use it almost exclusively for ensuring that I have the files I need in the office, at home, on the lap top and on the iPhone. Works seamlessly and beats a USB data stick. Providing that you have an internet connection that is.
There's also a version that can be installed on a USB data stick (with windows).
It is very useful. I would like to clarify the security features.
It would be useful to communicate with students, send and receive information and documents … should be OK
But how about storing marks in dropbox … ?
Perhaps is is less easy to hack into dropbox than into the Swansea University Intranet or Blackboard ??
David, you might want to look at the the risk analysis guidelines for using external tools with students, which contains a series of questions that should be asked before using third-party or external 'Web 2.0' IT services
Sorry, the link is here
Dropbox's Unique Selling Point is its transparency. Once installed, it's just another folder that is magically backed up to the web (and linked to any other folders anywhere). The trouble with the alternatives — the nearest on-campus alternative is probably Sharepoint — is that they are much more fiddly to set up. Even Microsoft's LiveFolders is not as convenient.
Security is probably an issue, but as the files live on your own machine(s) as well as the web, not more insecure than the alternatives I think.
It would be interesting to know if encryption would work with a dropbox.
Chris H thanks for the guidance document which I had not seen. I had a shot at answering the questions … see here sticky notes with exchange viewer.
(Another nice dropbox feature … link to file in public folder.)
I don't see any problems really. Chris J mentions security but apart from the effort made by dropbox for normal use I think other encryption could be use.
My intended use is to have students start folder in their own account and share eg an essay only with me.
There is some discussion on dropbox forums about some universities banning dropbox. One admin person was dead against dropbox but his company did not allow employees to use memory sticks!
The issue seemed to be that dropbox has access to folders on university PCs. This does not seem to be a problem in my case at present as I do not put anything sensitive in the dropbox.
One argument put forward was that dropbox was now a big company with big resources and one would expect better security from dropbox than could be provided by university's own dropbox systems … which many universities have.
Another point made was that dropbox was in any event more secure than E-mail, though I'm not sure if Swansea LIS would contest this. Anyway we know here in the university that marks and confidential information from students is E-mailed around … well the students E-maill us themselves.