I remember my first day with an iPad in a class. I couldn’t find any decent way of getting the material I wanted to share to my students. I had planned to do it using WebDav but that didn’t work, and Plan B hadn’t been thought of! I think I ended up sending it by email and making a chain so some students would forward the email to others so I didn’t have to gather all 26 email addresses. These days it is close to effortless as most students in my college a Box.com account and share a folder with their teacher so they can access material the teachers want to share easily. I also use a Box.com folder to collect work. Students do not have direct access to this folder but they can send some work via an attachment to an email.
Sounds easy enough but there are pitfalls. Some students may not have their own iPads, so the shared Box.com folder isn’t just a click away. Sometimes you go to a new class which doesn’t have collaboration status on the shared folder. Luckily you can set permission on the folders so that the students can easily access it via a link the students can type into their browser. The awkward news is that the link is pretty long e.g. (not real) https://app.box.com/files/q/x/125123123b00 Not many students will manage to type this quickly and accurately! So I use www.Tinyurl.com to make it as short a url address as possible. You can also use Bitly.com for the same purpose.
The trickier part is getting the email address to the students as it is also very long and neither Tinyurl.com nor Bitly.com can shorten email addresses. There must be a lucrative e-company to be formed that can do this! The best solution I have found is to get a short email address and have that address forward all email automatically to the long Box.com address. I tried the gmx.us email hosting company but for them mail forwarding is a premium feature you have to pay for. Plus the website was so slow at every click took almost that it took over waiting to discover that it was a premium feature. The best suggestion I can give is to use as short a name as possible on live.com – a Microsoft emailing service. Putting a couple of numbers between letter got me down to 4 keystrokes.
The combination of Tinyurl and live.com can be the difference between an efficient class and chaos!