To complete your portfolio this semester you use the cloud-based backup application, Dropbox. Dropbox is free for up to 2GB of space and allows you to backup your work and be able to access it from any computer or smart phone. It also allows you to create spaces where you can share your work with others. While Dropbox is an excellent application, it does have its problems. Here are the benefits and drawbacks:
Dropbox is the industry standard because it was first-to-market. It is very easy to set up and use. Sharing is quite intuitive and users can download and upload content to shared folders. This allows multiple people to upload documents to a shared space when they are, for example, collaborating on a project.
Dropbox has security issues, namely, as Dave Parry explains in his post, “Why I Might Be (although I would rather not be) Leaving Dropbox,” “if the government subpoenas Dropbox, Dropbox has the ability to turn over your files in unencrypted form to the officials.” This is an important issue and you should read his full post as to why everyone should be concerned about it (such as, if hackers find their way in to Dropbox, they would have access to some of your documents that might have private information, such as addresses, social security numbers, and so on). One work-around is to use local encryption software, like TrueCrypt, which is free and encrypts your data before sending it to the Dropbox server. If you choose to use TrueCrypt I recommend following their Beginner’s Tutorial quite closely.
When completing this assignment, you have the option of using Dropbox as-is or you can address the security concerns by installing TrueCrypt. The choice is yours. Watch this video to learn how Dropbox (and cloud storage) works:
Part 1. Getting Started with and Setting up Dropbox
To download and install Dropbox and create your portfolio, compete the following steps:
1. Go to Dropbox and click the giant blue Download Dropbox button and then follow the very easy instructions. Because the instructions are so easy and their help instructions so clear I’m just going to link to how to do things rather than replicate them.
1a. If you want to install TrueCrypt, here is the time to do it. Following their Beginner’s Tutorial quite closely.
2. Either create your Portfolio in the new Dropbox folder than has been created or move an already created folder to the Dropbox folder. These folders should automatically sync with the server. And, any time you add something new to the portfolio (or anywhere in the Dropbox folder), as long as you have auto-sync set up, it will automatically sync with the server and back up your work.
3. When finished with your final project, share the portfolio with me.
And that’s it.
Part 2. How Syncing Works
Syncing in the process by which documents and folders on your computer are backed-up to a server, and documents and folders on the server are replicated on your computer. The goal is to have the items on your computer and on the server be exactly the same.
When you install the Dropbox software a Dropbox folder will be placed on your computer. Anything you put in that folder will be synced with the server (and any other device that has access to your Dropbox account, such as a smart phone or another computer).
Part 3. Creating the Portfolio
The Portfolio we create here will allow you to store work completed during your time in the Writing Arts major in a structured way so when you get to Portfolio Seminar you are able to find and access it without any problems. In Portfolio Seminar you will be writing a paper in which you refer to and cite from your own work. Therefore, you need to have that work available to you when you get to the course. By designing this portfolio and backing up your work, you can be sure to have access to it regardless of if your computer crashes, your flash drive is lost, and so on.
To complete the assignment, you will have to create a folder structure on your computer that mirrors your time in the major, the classes you take, and when you take them.
I’d like you to create a folder structure that looks something like this (created in Fall 2011; yours will obviously look different):
And so on. All work for those classes will go in the appropriate folder and because it is synced with Dropbox that work will automatically be backed-up. This will ensure your work is backed-up in a secure location and ready for you when you need it for Portfolio Seminar.
Assignment Due Dates and Specifics
Mod 1: 2/21
Mod 2: 3/28
Mod 3: 4/30: Due by class time; in class BW will check that it is completed
- Install the Dropbox software (with TrueCrypt if you’d like) on your home or laptop computer.
- In the Dropbox folder that was created when you installed the software, create a Writing Arts folder structure (as pictured above) that represents and anticipates when you have/will take Writing Arts courses (if you are not a standalone, coordinate, or Liberal Studies major, replicate this process for the classes in your major).
- Go to dropbox.com, log in, and verify that the folders you have created have been synched online.
- In class, you will share the folder with BW to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mod 1: 3/3
Mod 2: 4/7
Mod 3: 5/5: Due by 11:00pm
- In the Intro to Writing Arts folder that you created for the above portfolio, place these two documents (I only accept .doc, docx, or .pages files; make sure your name is on both your documents):
- final project reflections; name the file: tfws13-mod3-reflection-yourlastname
- log of blog posts and blog post comments; name the file: tfws13-mod3-blogstuff-yourlastname (note, these should be in ONE document)
- Did you name the files correctly? If not, go and rename them. File naming might seem like a pain but doing so now is good practice for later in life when you’ll have specific file name requirements if you want your work to be considered by bosses, publishers, and so on.