In which Jotform saves my sanity….

One assignment in my semester-long vocabulary project asks students to create a handout for the class.  The handout must include the word they are going to teach the class, part of speech, definition, context example, etymology and a mnemonic to help their classmates remember the word.

I have rarely gotten a submission that included all those components, and the project loses time as I have to either return the work to be completed or provide the missing parts myself and grade accordingly (yes, I know that is enabling but there are days ….)

As I was working my way through the ever-informative FreeTech4Teachers blog, I was pondering how I could use Dropbox to streamline receiving assignments online.  Asking for homework to be emailed creates several problems: I rarely get it in the “attached document” form I request, and my inbox swells to an alarming size.  It is also too easy to miss a single submission if it doesn’t arrive with the rest of the flock.

Dropbox seemed to be an attractive alternative, but I didn’t want to have to invite each individual student to Dropbox to give them access, so was poking around FreeTech4Teachers to find other possibilities.  Lo and behold, not only could I create a form and bypass email altogether (with a little help from the folks at Jotform), but I could create the fields I wanted and increase my odds of getting an assignment that gave me what I asked for.  Huzzah.

I created a form on Jotform with a field for each piece of information I wanted.  I linked that form to Dropbox, but couldn’t figure out how to not get email as well as the Dropbox submission.  Apparently there is an email wizard page that allows you to set such preferences, but I wrote to Jotform and got a prompt reply and solution removing email as the default option.

So, I posted a link to the form on our online classroom management system (Blackboard) and watched the pages roll in.  I got a little notification each time a new submission arrived, and at the due time I went to Dropbox and printed them out.

Every single assignment had every component – it was a miracle!  They weren’t all right, or even coherent at times, but all the pieces were there!  The pairing of Jotform and Dropbox created a delightful solution to the problem of incomplete homework assignments, and I am forever grateful.

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