On a slow news day (holidays, CUNY closed), I wanted to pass along a newish tool all CUNY faculty can access to enhance our teaching and scholarship: the rejiggered site license with Microsoft Office products. On one level, this is a snooze: we’ve always had MS Office in one form or another. But there is a new feature that might be of use: OneDrive for Business. OneDrive is a lot like DropBox, Google Drive, Evernote, etc.: it is a cloud-based environment for creating, collaborating on, storing, and sharing content of all kinds. I don’t want to bury the lede: users get 1 TB of storage apiece, which is roughly 200 times the free allotment of 5 gigs that Dropbox or iCloud, for example, provide. Here’s where you get started, if you haven’t already.
So what might I do with it, you ask? A few things:
- anything you’re accustomed to doing with Google Drive works here: creating and editing text files, spreadsheets, presentations; collaborating with others on those materials in real time; sharing/distributing files with students or colleagues. Advantage: some may appreciate the advantages of MS Office’s core applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) over their Google counterparts.
- more specifically, you might have students collaborate on a research project or engage one another in asynchronous peer review or keep a common scratch pad to organize a collaborative project. I’ve always used Google for this sort of thing (see Andrew Laudel’s post for ACERT for a fascinating example), and increasingly the DOCUMENTS feature with the CUNY Academic Commons’ “groups” function, but nice to have another option that students can access automatically via their Hunter addresses.
- the generous allowance means that you can store your 1000s of .pdfs or sound files or video clips or whatever space hogs have been crowding your hard drives or other cloud-based services. For me, this means I can share those neat audiobooks I had students create in 2016 without forcing me to pay a monthly fee for cloud storage. Your results may vary, but for me this is the killer feature.