As a TA this semester, I've noted a few students mentioning that they need to get organized, or that they'd like to get organized. You might be organized in your thinking, but is your content organized? Designing a content management method you like takes only a little of your time. Mine saved me a lot of time and frustration after I got in the habit of using it. I'd like to share with you how I organized my MDE content to support my online learning adventures, starting in 2003.
First, I made a 'program-level' MDE folder. Inside the MDE folder, I created a 'main' folder for each course I needed to take to finish the degree. Inside the course folders, I created folders for readings, assignments, modules, etc. This varies from course to course, but I think you get the idea.
To make your file stash crash-proof, consider using Dropbox http://www.dropbox.com (2GB storage, free). Dropbox requires a download and installation of a small file that creates a 'My Dropbox' folder on your system. Anything stored in this folder is automatically securely uploaded to your Dropbox account on the Web (in the "cloud") for safe keeping. If you install Dropbox on another computer, the file stash is automatically sync'd with the other computer (as long as the Dropbox application is running).
There are other file sharing/storage service available if you prefer something else. Stella posted a list of these services elsewhere in the conferences. I use Dropbox and Box.net most frequently. Do some browsing, try them, find one you like and use it.
Here is an example of a content management method using My Dropbox as a backup system:
C:\My Documents\My Dropbox\MDE\ - the program-level folder, inside the My Dropbox backup service folder
\2010 OMDE601 Foundations (OMDE etc, etc) - the main course folder
\Admin - syllabus, schedule, progress reports, a copy of my current UMUC ID card with library barcode (from MyUMUC)
\Assignments - assignment instructions for each module, notes, drafts
\Required Readings - downloads, captured pdfs
\Module 1 (2, 3, etc) - notes, snippets of discussions with classmates, instructors, visiting experts
\Multimedia - audio, video, powerpoint presentations, etc
\Research - downloads, captured pdfs
To capture pdfs, I use the free PDFCreator application. Once installed, it appears as another printer in your printer list. To make a pdf file, print to PDFCreator instead of your normal printer. CutePDF is another pdf-writer application I highly recommend.
Get PDFCreator here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator
Get CutePDF here: http://www.cutepdf.com/
Once I had this content management method set up, I added folders for other courses and another main folder to collect artifacts for my portfolio and capstone project. Using a backup system (Dropbox, Box.net, USB stick, other computer) regularly, I still have every file I collected since I started my MDE in 2003. Getting organized takes only ONE effort. Keeping organized requires making a habit of using your method.
Here's a snapshot of my content management system, started in 2003 with OMDE601:
(sorry the picture wouldn't copy over- it's located in the MDE Orientation WT Classroom for anyone interested)
Your structure should be organized to your liking. With a content management method in place, once you have selected a home for your portfolio, finding and uploading your artifacts will be a snap.
I'd love to hear your methods for getting and keeping your work organized. How do you do it?
Here Allison shows us how to use a freeware PDF creator to save WT conferences to a PDF- a great way to keep track of those conferences that you find especially useful!
Capture WebTycho Conferences to PDF
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to capture WebTycho Conference notes to pdf for offline-viewing and archiving. The software mentioned in this tutorial, CutePDF Writer and PDF creator are available here:
CutePDF Writer http://www.cutepdf.com
The tutorial is available here: http://www.screencast.com/t/YWU3ZDY1O