Summary of approach/tool
OneDrive is an online storage space that York St John staff and students can use to store, share and collaborate on files.
Member of Staff: Artemis Alexis
School: Art, Design & Computer Science
What was the issue/need you were trying to address with the use of this approach/tool?
My first aim was to decrease the amount of email correspondence I received from and had to send to Level 6 students. As a dissertation supervisor, I tend to offer formative feedback on written drafts throughout the year. Using Outlook to receive drafts, and send feedback is definitely not a sustainable method, because it is difficult to keep track of who send you what, and when.
My second aim was to have a safe place to: archive all the drafts that I have been working on with each individual student; store our notes from each supervisory meeting; save any texts that were relevant to individual students.
My third aim was to indirectly teach students how to use OneDrive, what are the benefits of keeping a tidy folder for each module, and generally to be organised and professional.
What did you do? For how long? With how many students?
I set up my Moodle page for each specific module. Then I made sure to include a topic titled ‘Individual OneDrive Folders’. Under that topic, I put a full list of all the students that were registered in that module, and hyperlinked each page to an individual OneDrive folder with their name.
For example, if my student was called Elizabeth Black, then I would create a folder in OneDrive named ‘Elizabeth Black’. This folder would be archived in 2018-2019>Teaching>Level 6>3DG113>Graphic Design>Group A>Elizabeth Black. Then, to allow access to Elizabeth Black, I had to create a link that I then used to hyperlink her name in the list that appeared on Moodle. The link that I would generate using OneDrive would be clickable by everyone, but only Elizabeth would be allowed to see in the folder. This meant that I could hyperlink each name on the Moodle page, which would normally be accessible by all students, but only the specific student who is hyperlinked could actually access their own folder. (Get in touch with the TEL team if you need a hand with this!)
How did it go?
Everything went well. Initially I had to repeatedly explain to students how to use OneDrive, and how to operate Moodle, but following a few demonstrations on how the two work, they were able to operate them with ease. And most importantly, I certainly achieved all three of the aims mentioned above.
What were the benefits?
Less email correspondence; no time wasted on searching for emails in my inbox; great way to keep a track record of meetings and progress of each individual student; great way to get students to be responsible for their own draft submissions; great way to urge students to look for answers to their questions through the notes on previous meetings; unlimited storage; able to access online from anywhere outside campus; able to download each folder as a zip, if there was a need to share the whole folder; and much more.
Did you face any challenges?
The students for this module were all level 6, so I thought that they would know how to operate Moodle and OneDrive. Yet, I discovered that these tools were almost never used by other colleagues, so the students did not have the opportunity to practice, or, conveniently, some of the students thought that they did not need to learn how to operate these tools. Inevitably, this meant that I had to demonstrate to students (more than once!) how to operate Moodle and OneDrive. Some of them learned to use them faster than others, but eventually all of them were able to operate both platforms by the end of the semester.
Once the author of an OneDrive folder generates a link for that folder, this will not update automatically, if this folder is later moved to another location. This means that if there is a link on Moodle that directs you to a specific OneDrive folder, if you move that OneDrive folder inside another sub-folder, the link will no longer work.
Do you have any tips for other people using this tool?
Any other thoughts?
It may take you a bit of time to set up all the folders at the beginning of your semester, but you will definitely save on time and administration throughout that semester. And also you will have an helpful orderly archive ready to access whenever necessary.
Thank you Artemis for this great case study! If you would like to use OneDrive in your teaching and would like some support, please get in touch with the TEL team. If you want help using OneDrive to increase your productivity more generally or using other Office 365 tools for communication and teamwork, contact the Digital Training team.