24 October 2011

Use DropItToMe to Collect Student Work

For those of you using Dropbox, you know how useful a tool it can be.  For those of you who aren't using Dropbox, you should really look into it and six other free tools that I think every teacher should know about.  Once you've discovered the greatness of Dropbox, it's time to take it a step further.  DropItToMe is a Dropbox enabled application that allows users to upload documents straight into your Dropbox folder without the need for your username and password.  Here's a video that will help you get started with Dropbox and DropItToMe plus show you how to set up a student turn-in link on your Google Site.


  1. First, the link to six other tools redirects me to blogger.com. I imagine it was supposed to go to another post.

    Second, I would strongly recommend not using DROPitTOme or any other service that allows anonymous file transfer. I outline my reasons below.

    1. Denial of Service - Any user who knows the password could fill the dropbox with numerous nonsense files. This could be scripted very easily and could prevent or delay legitimate access to the service. There would be no way to identify the culprit and the attack could be distributed across multiple IP addresses.

    2. DropBox Terms of Service prevent allowing access by a third party. The explicitly hold the box owner responsible for all content in the box which comes into play in the next two points.

    3. Malicious Content - Any person with the password could upload a virus or trojan.

    4. Stolen Content - Any person with the password could upload content that was protected by copyright. The owner of the box could be held responsible.

    5. Illegal Content - the worst possible scenario is that a person who has obtained the password uploads illegal material, for example child pornography. DropBox would then propagate this content onto the box owner's system, possibly a district owned computer. The box owner would be legally responsible for possessing the material and could not identify the source.

  2. Steve,

    You have some valid points. Allow me to make a few of my own.

    1. Uploads are restricted to users to whom you give the password, the password can be changed, and the service can be turned on and off at will. If using it in the classroom, you give the students the password during the class period, turn it off at the end of the class period, and change the password for the next group of students. Problem solved.

    2. Dropbox's TOS actually implicitly allow the use of third party apps (see https://www.dropbox.com/acceptable_use#security). They only require that you do not share your Dropbox password with a third party.

    3. See answer 1. In addition, for my safety, I use an email account and Dropbox account that are separate and in addition to my primary email and Dropbox accounts. This Dropbox account is not linked to my desktop software, so the files are not synced to my local machine. I have to access the DropItToMe folder via the web access.

    4. See answers 1 and 3.

    5. See answers 1 and 3.

    I apologize if this blog post and video tutorial were misleading, but the intent was to demonstrate HOW to use the tool not IF you should use it. DropItToMe works well for me, but it may not be for everyone.

  3. Great post - what about the six other tools? I'm itching to know.

  4. Unfortunately, because some of the services have close, these are a bit out of date, but here's the original blog post containing the six other tools:http://www.teachthecloud.com/2010/07/seven-free-cloud-tools-every-teacher.html

    Maybe I'll update them in a future post...