Improving Team Projects Through Cloud-Based Storage and Collaboration

A short video describing this teaching strategy can be seen here.

Students of Melissa Gross,  School of Kinesiology, use 3D animation and motion capture technologies to study the biomechanics of human movement in a studio course. Students’ group projects are presented as narrated movies and include animations to illustrate their research findings (e.g., differences between a healthy knee and a reconstructed knee climbing stairs).

One major logistical hurdle is the need for students and the instructor to manage, share, and collaborate on many large video files. To overcome this challenge, Gross uses Box.net, a cloud-based file storage and sharing service explicitly designed for collaboration. In addition to solving storage capacity and organization issues, Box.net allows students and instructors to attach comments, tags (to facilitate easy file searches), and editable task lists in the file directory. These features provide easy mechanisms for students to manage and coordinate workflow within teams. Instructors can also use task lists and commenting features to provide feedback or directions to teams and then to monitor what has been implemented or not. Box.net can also generate a single e-mail digest per day to the instructor (site owner), summarizing all activity on the site and facilitating efficient oversight of student projects and instructor-student interactions. 

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