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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

How best to accomplish this cloud problem?


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DianeVan

 
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It's not MAC related really, but you guys are up to date on all this stuff, so I thought I would ask here.

I'm teaching a class of about 6 students soon where we will be doing a lot of writing and re-writing, big and small projects. We have access to computers at school (which get wiped every night - all files and programs added during each day to keep viruses out). I can't change that. I'm looking for a simple solution.

I would like to have the students put their writing in a place where all of us can access and amend the documents. I"ve got a Dropbox already, but if I give them access to a folder can they add files as well as change files? That's what we will need. I can't test it because I haven't access to the student computers yet. Also, they may all be on at once, but only changing their own files. So far my thinking is web based only Dropbox or Google Drive or?? or individual usb sticks. That's as far as my knowledge goes and I don't know where to look for a solution other than here. I've been reading the help files of Dropbox and Google Drive, but can't see the solution for me.

If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know. Thanks for your help.

Diane
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mrplow

 
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Dropbox can do what you describe.

Look into dropbox in a web browser (it's easier this way).

Create a folder and open it. Click the little folder icon (the one with a rainbow) to share the folder. Anyone you share with edit/create/delete files here.

You can do similar with google drive and several other cloud providers

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And to add to what mrplow said, if the computers are Macs, and the school uses pages, then you can share Pages Documents in the cloud so anyone you share it with, can edit the same document, via http://beta.icloud.com . . . But for Dropbox is quite good, and if you send all the students invites from your account, you will get 500MB for each one that signs up

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vansmith

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeVan View Post
I"ve got a Dropbox already, but if I give them access to a folder can they add files as well as change files? That's what we will need. I can't test it because I haven't access to the student computers yet. Also, they may all be on at once, but only changing their own files.
This is the key to any answer we provide. Dropbox, while perfectly capable as a means of keeping files in sync, is lousy when it comes to managing edits to a document. If someone edits a document, saves it to Dropbox while someone else does so a moment later, only the later edits will be saved, effectively erasing the first set. What you should be looking for is a cloud service that offers document editing through their web interface which includes, but is certainly not limited to, Google Drive and OneDrive (the latter of which, in leveraging Office Online, has exceptional file compatibility with Office).

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mrplow

 
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I agree to a point. But If you right click on a file in the Dropbox web interface you can get a full version history of every update and restore back to a particular update as required.

This extends to restoring a file if deleted in error too.

The OP doesn't detail the types of files being used but I agree, if MS docs are required OneDrive is a great choice

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True but that still requires you to look at older versions and then merge them manually. Imagine if you and someone else had re-written the same portion of the same document - that would be a pain to merge if you wrote it very differently.

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mrplow

 
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Granted but you need to be looking to a far more sophisticated mechanism than any of the cloud tools to manage that level of concurrent document collaboration (Google docs for business comes the closest in my experience). But even full-blown off office suites aren't great at that without a savvy user at the helm.

Comes down to the level of control and collaboration required to satisfy the OPs requirements I guess

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Lifeisabeach

 
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I wonder if Box.com may be a better cloud solution here vs DropBox. I haven't used it in this way, but they appear to be more oriented for business use and heavily tout their collaboration features.
https://app.box.com/services/manage_it
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
Granted but you need to be looking to a far more sophisticated mechanism than any of the cloud tools to manage that level of concurrent document collaboration (Google docs for business comes the closest in my experience). But even full-blown off office suites aren't great at that without a savvy user at the helm.
If you used something like GD or OneDrive and only used the web interface, you wouldn't have to worry about document conflicts. Additionally, you can tell the OneDrive web app to open a Word document in the client side application and have it work in sync with the version stored online, collaboration tools and all. So, I'm not sure that, for a small group of students, one needs anything more sophisticated than what's available.

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DianeVan

 
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions and help. Before I asked here I tried to use my Dropbox as a test but my MAC knows who I am and so I couldn't test it. I'll go to the school today and play around with a test email address and see how this might work. From what you say, I think Dropbox will be sufficient. Each student only amends his or her own work - except for one big project at the end of the month-long course. By then we will have worked out how to manage this issue or I will leave it up to the students to work it out. I'm just trying to find the simplest way to set this up for them and for me. They are new learners of English so that makes everything a bit more difficult. They are young though, so probably quite computer literate as young people everywhere are. I haven't met them yet. If they use web version, I think all will be well.

Thanks for help and answers everyone. They have been very enlightening. The course starts next week and I'll let you know how it works out.

I have read many posts here on lots of topics and have learned a lot. It's a great resource.

Diane
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