Web-based course tools such as WebCT,
Blackboard, or soon, Bedford/St.
Martin's Comment, make it easy for students to share files with one
another. It's simply a matter of uploading their work to the Website where
classmates or the instructor can read the work. In other settings, such
as computer labs, students often share files by using a common public drive
or folder. File sharing makes peer review possible. It also helps students
mark and keep track of drafts. By putting files online regularly, students
create copies of their work, so even if they don't use File/Save As to
rename files for each draft, they have copies online that mark drafts,
copies which can later be downloaded and put in a portfolio. Collecting
drafts is one of the best ways to counter plagiarism, is, along with assignments
that evolve from class discussions and postings, the most effective
way to prevent plagiarism.
File Sharing Ideas
Set regular due dates, for projects
large and small. Have students upload files. Regularly uploading files
and storing them creates an online record of drafts.
Don't feel you have to comment and access
every draft. Teach
peer review to take off some of the burden. Sometimes it's just fun--and
useful--to collect drafts and simply read them. You can use email or a
web discussion board to share general, classwide impressions. Plain reading
also lets students know you're not always judging, that you're simply reading
their stuff for its communicative value. Reading is a great way to get
to know your students' voices and ways with words.
Have students keep a reading journal
online--where they respond to any 'text' they 'read': whether it's an article
in a reader you assign, a web page they find, a television show they watch,
a lecture they attend, an art exhibit they see, and so on. Each entry can
be posted as separate file, or they can reload the same file and add new
entries to the top. (This simulates the phenomenon
Peer Review, Peer Review, Peer Review.
Students can upload files into course tools in rich text format, or send
them as e-mail attachments (another way of sharing files), or use a the
web discussion boards or chats or a program such as Comment to share
files and give feedback to one another.