Category Archives: Technology Survival Guide

Digital Storytelling Resources

As we conclude the 2010-2011 academic year we wanted to assemble a collection of our resources related to digital storytelling and student video projects in anticipation of instructors who may want to use these next year. As always if this is something you are interested in exploring further we encourage you to contact the Instructional Media Lab at 545-2823 or instruct@oit.umass.edu to set up an individual consultation.

If you’re thinking about using digital storytelling, Check out out our Video and Audio for Instructors page on the OIT Website for current digital storytelling resources.

Further Reading:

Past TeachOIT posts on Digital Storytelling

TeachOIT posts reviewing different audio recording equipment

Staying in Synch

For anyone who works from more than one computer, synchronizing files is an important issue. If you can’t access the latest version of your grant proposal or the revised version of that syllabus; frustration is bound to ensue. Carrying files around on USB drives and emailing attachments to yourself are possible solutions, but there are a variety of web-based tools that provide better options for having constant access to the files you need.

Three Tools for Staying Synchronized:

  • UDrive
  • Google Docs
  • Drop Box

UDrive – https://udrive.oit.umass.edu

UDrive is OIT’s file storage and sharing system. Users can save files to UDrive so that they can be accessed via any computer with an Internet connection. In addition to being a simple way to move files from one computer to another, UDrive can also be used to easily and securely share files with collaborators. By default UDrive offers 1 GB of storage space (additional space is available for instructors upon request). Regular users of UDrive should be sure to set up a “WebDAV” connection to drag-and-drop files directly between their computer and UDrive, which makes synchronizing files quick and easy. To learn more about UDrive, go to: http://www.oit.umass.edu/udrive/

GoogleDocs – https://docs.google.com/

GoogleDocs  is an online file storage and collaboration system provided by Google. Google Docs can be used to pass files back and forth, but its strength is the ability to edit them online. I regularly use GoogleDocs as a graduate student and as an instructor, for its online collaboration tools that allow me and collaborators to directly edit text, spreadsheets, and presentations directly in a web browser. Recent additions to Google Docs have added diagraming tools and a form/survey creator.

To learn more about Google Docs, check out this video: Google Docs in Plain English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRqUE6IHTEA

Dropbox – http://www.dropbox.com/

Dropbox is a commercial file storage and sharing system. Functionally, it is similar to UDrive, but it has many advantages in terms of usability and organization. It offers a simple program you can install on your computer to manage files and settings directly from your desktop, in addition to its web interface. Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage with additional space available for a fee.

To learn more about Google, check out this video:: Dropbox in Plain English:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghKdYKZ1Sts

What do you use to keep your files synchronized?

New Additions to Google Docs

Google Docs has recently released two major additions that continue to make it one of the most powerful collaboration tools on the web. If you haven’t tried Google Docs yet, do yourself a favor and spend an hour exploring it. If you already use it, take a moment to check out these two new big features:

Integrated Discussion

Borrowing from the functionality of Google Wave, new Google Docs now have the option of a discussion page where authors can have an asynchronous conversation about the document they are editing. The feature effectively adds the Discussion Page feature offered by many wiki tools, which lets you separate the planning of your document from its production.

Check out this video about the new discussion feature:

Collaboration via Microsoft Office (Google Cloud Connect)

This is a big addition for those more comfortable with the look and features of the standard Microsoft Office suite. Google Cloud Connect is an add-on for Microsoft Office (Currently only available for Windows) that allows you edit GoogleDocs through the Microsoft Office interface. This effectively gives you the benefits of sharing and storing your files in the cloud, but use the tools and the interface in Microsoft Office with which you may be more comfortable.

Check out this video about Google Cloud Connect: