WEB2oOLS Compared: What is the Best Way to Post my Class Content

In BV, we have choices!  That can be awesome and overwhelming all at once.  It is my goal to help direct you to the best WEB2oOL for your scenario.  I have examples below of some various Class Content Display options!  I have left off Class OneNote intentionally as this is a 2 way communication WEB2oOL between teacher and student!  This only compares these as “1 way street” WEB2oOLs.  Arguably, you can make all of these a 2 way street, but let’s start here!

OneNote

Advantages:

  • Teacher can drag and drop files onto a canvas that is organized by sections and pages (just like a notebook) and up the content goes. So easy!
  • Almost any file type is accepted and it stays in the native form (as Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
  • Students can view on any device as long as the teacher has shared by invitation.  On their personal computer (Mac or PC), they can use the “Open In OneNote” feature for easy access later.  On a phone or tablet, they can open in the OneNote app.
  • It will expose students to a fairly new WEB2oOL that can help them with their own digital organization.  I am not aware of another 2oOL that acts quite like OneNote.
  • You can supply a guest link for parents to use, no sign in required.
  • Here is an example to illustrate the benefits.  This one is shared by 2 teachers:grospitch-onenote

Disadvantages:

  • Max file size is 19MB. I can’t decide if this is truly a disadvantage, as this is really large.  But we already hit the limit with one teacher who was using OneNote.   You can overcome this by uploading those larger files to OneDrive and sharing as a link.
  • If viewing as a “Guest Reader”, files won’t download in IE which is BV’s default browser. The workaround is to open in Firefox or other web browser. I advise my staff to send an email invitation for students and then they can post a guest link for parents.
  • The best user experience is to send the students an invitation.  So teachers need to invite each of them.  A workaround is to have them each add themselves and send.  NOTE:  don’t try to send too many at once. I have witnessed some “crashing” if you try to send one invite to 30 students at once.

When have I suggested this? This works great to display content in any classroom. BVW’s math department is using this the most.  They use one section to post a calendar and then others for notes.  Most of them post the PDF’s of their smart notes and some post class videos.  Social studies is also another good area to use this as they have large quantities of files that they like to share, many of them are PowerPoints.  What is great about it for the teacher is that they can drag and drop content into an organized container.  The learning curve has been with the students, but once they learn how to add it as an app on their phone and other devices, they are liking it as well.

Google Drive Share Folder 

Advantages:

  • You can drag and drop all files into this folder for students to see if you have this drive synced locally.
  • You can share to anyone with a link, so outside of BV is included (parents for example) with no sign in required. Drive offers a wider scope of sharing options.
  • Wider file type acceptance on viewing videos “upstairs”.
  • Real time collaboration is much smoother with larger groups of individuals.

Disadvantages:

  • When viewing from a computer, files open in a “PDF” style format.  For most file types this is OK; however, PowerPoint files “flatten”, so you can lose the “click-able” functionality.  The workaround is to advise students to download and view.  On a mobile device, the get converted to the comparable app (Docs, Sheets and Slides) which again, losses the “click-able” functionality.
  • Max file size is confusing.  Documents can be up to 50MB, Spreadsheets up to 2 million cells, Presentations (Slides) up to 100 MB, all other files up to 5 TB. So basically, most anything will go up, but there are limits once it is up there when you convert to Docs/Sheets and Slides. Here is a resource: https://support.google.com/drive/answer/37603?hl=en

When have I suggested this?  Our Journalism teacher was provisioned a shared folder for her students and was storing over 1.6 TB of data.  They really needed 24/7 access.  Using the folder uploader in Google Drive in Chrome, I was able to move this content for her class. It took over about 2 weeks time, as I had to leave it uploading overnight for a few of the folders to move up.  The students mainly use InDesign and Photoshop, so there was no reason to keep documents in their native format.  They were already using Google Drive for some other file sharing, so it was the perfect choice.

BV OneDrive Share Folder

Advantages:

  • You can drag and drop all files into this folder for students to see if you have this drive synced locally.
  • Files open and remain in their native form (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • We are on Windows 10, so the synced folder is set up and integrated into the applications. This shared folder is already in the correct location if synced and set up correctly.

Disadvantages:

  • You can only share by link with BV accounts.  You can send an invite to “outside of BV” accounts.  Recipients will be prompted to create a free account.   There does not appear to be a way to share a folder of content to a guest reader like you can in OneNote or in Google Drive.
  • Only certain types will play “upstairs”.  I have verified that MP4 will play in the “upstairs” player.  When it does not play, the experience was not good for the user. It says there was an error trying to play the video instead of explaining that the file type is not supported.  But downloading and playing does work.
  • Max file size is 10 GB.  Not sure that this is a disadvantage?

When have I suggested this?  We had a teacher who needed to share a folder of PowerPoints that were very large (300 MB).  OneNote would not work due to the individual file size limitation.  And Google Drive flattened all content and would not play upstairs due to the large file size. OneDrive was the best option in this scenario.

When will I suggest this?  If keeping files in their native form is important (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).   For Business and ELA courses, for example.