Sometimes you need participants to complete activities which results in large multi-media files - large video files. These files can run into the hundreds of megabytes and sometime gigabytes. These are just too large for participants to upload to a discussion comment.
One solutions is to make sure participants properly compress video files. This requires some basic knowledge and is not always a simple process. More about how to minimise file size here.
The other option is to use the built-in discussion board video recording tools and use the admin settings to permit participants to record up to a 2 minute video comment. Participants do need to be in front of their computer to do this. More about how this works here.
Using Dropbox file requests with your discussion topics.
To capture very large media files securely, which you can access from your Mac or PC or mobile device, we would recommend checking out Dropbox's file requests option.
With file requests it is easy to capture very large video files from your participants. Just put a link in your discussion topic using the discussion topic authoring tools, and watch the files appear in your Dropbox. The advantages are:
- Get files from anyone. Anyone can send you a file, whether they have a Dropbox account or not.
- Easily receive large files. Unlike email attachments, anyone can send files as large as 2 GB.
- Organize everything in one place. Whether you’re collecting from one person or one hundred, all the files you receive are organised into a single folder, available on all your devices.
The first thing you need to do is to sign-up for a drop box account. You can do this by going to https://www.dropbox.com/ and completing the signup process:
Once you have signed up Dropbox will ask you to complete a number of tasks such as downloading the plugin for your Mac or PC. You don't have to, but it makes it so much easier to access and download the files that participants add to your Dropbox file request.
On sign-up you get a 2 GB free file allowance, there is no need to upgrade at this time unless the total files you are collecting is going to be above 2GB. This is enough to collect approximately 15 to 20 high definition 1 minute videos. If you are going to need more space you can upgrade to DropBox Pro this will give you 1000 GB. At the time of this article the price was AU$12.99 per month.
Setting up your file request
A file request is simply a folder in your drop box where participants can upload files to even if they do not have a Dropbox account. It is a secure file area and only you the owner can access and see the content unless you choose to share your file. This is useful if you need someone else to help you transcribe the video and audio files, or review the content.
To set up a file request folder pleas follow the instructions as presented by Dropbox here: https://www.dropbox.com/help/9090
Once you have done that you are ready to integrate the link into your discussion board.
How to add the link into a discussion board topic
The first thing you need to do is copy the file request link and drop it into a document, it will make it easy to access in future. Then head over to your discussion board plan.
Once you have your File request link head over to your discussion board plan and either create or edit a discussion topic.
Once you are in the edit view of your discussion board plan decide where you would like to add the file request link. Add some text and instructions such as: "Click on this link to upload your homework video files".
Once you have added you text into the topic highlight the text you would like to be your link and click on the hyperlink icon in the topic content controls.
By clicking on the hyperlink icon you will open the link window where you can copy the Dropbox file request link. Add the Link URL field, select the target option to 'Open Link in a New Window' - this will ensure participants do not lose the discussion board from their web browser. Next add some instructional text to the 'Title' field. Participants will see the title text when they hover over the link you have created. You might like to add some instructions such as: "Please click on this link to go to the upload page". Finish by clicking 'Insert' on the hyperlink window. Once you have saved your link, save the discussion topic and you are ready to go!
When a participant clicks on the link in your topic either using a Mac, PC, smart phone or tablet they will be taken to your private Dropbox file request page.
Participants will be able to choose a file from their internet connected device. Participants will be asked to add their name and email details, which let you know who the file came from. You can then choose to download the file from your Dropbox account online or by using the app you downloaded when you signed up from drop box.
You may receive a notification from Dropbox once a file has been added into your file request. To share file access, check out Dropbox file sharing instructions here.