Various remote work guides and tips

Here’s a place where I’m collecting various tips and tricks for remote work in light of the University of Lethbridge moving to “alternate methods of delivery.” I’ll update this as I go.

Some Zoom tips.

The university is encouraging us to use Zoom for meetings, office hours, and classes. Here’s my page on Zoom tips and tweaks :

Remote working tips (from IT)

The IT department just published some tips for working from home.

Remote desktop for Linux

The U of L IT group just put out instructions for access Windows computers on campus remotely using Remote Desktop, with specific instructions for Windows and Mac users. Here’s a guide for access Windows machines using remote desktop on Linux.

How do I share large files with my class

One of my colleagues asked for tips on sharing large files with her class. Here’s my answer about 4 different ways of doing it:

Question: Do you have a simple answer as to the best way to share with students a PowerPoint with audio recording? It will be a large file, obviously, so I’m not sure of the best way to do this. I’ve heard there are concerns about Moodle crashing…

Answer: Yes, that’s a real issue. Also Moodle is set to reject things above a certain size, I think 2MB (not 100% sure, it might be larger).

There are four options, I’d say for large files like that:

1) Dropbox
2) Google Drive
3) Sharepoint/One drive
4) Zoom using share screen

The first three allow you to share large files by link. Dropbox is really very full feature nowadays for this kind of thing. You upload it, set it to share by link, then share the link.

Google drive you can access via either a gmail account (if you have one) or, since Christmas or so, via your faculty uleth email. The student uleth email is already actually gmail based, so they have the same system. If you go to http://drive.google.com you can upload your file and then share by link. Depending on how your settings are, it might try to convert Powerpoint to Google Slide format (which I’m pretty sure can’t have sound attached). But I believe the default behaviour is upload in the original format. If you see it say “converting…” when you upload, then you need to find the setting that controls whether it converts or not. But, as I say, I don’t think it does it automatically.

Sharepoint/One drive is the U of L’s cloud storage for faculty. Because I’m not on a Windows or Mac, it isn’t well integrated for me so I don’t have a lot of experience with it. It looks like you go to it at https://uleth-my.sharepoint.com/personal/user_name_uleth_ca/ (where you replace user_name with your uleth user name). The I think you can upload things. You might be able to do it directly from your Windows computer and File Explorer. The advantage of doing this might be that students are able to play the files online using powerpoint itself.

If you want to show students your powerpoint, rather than share the file with them, then you can do that in Zoom with “Share screen.” Basically you load up Powerpoint on your computer with the slideshow open, then in the meeting select “share screen.” The slideshow and sound then plays on everybody’s computer simultaneously. Here’s instructions: https://blink.ucsd.edu/technology/file-sharing/zoom/guide/share.html#Zoom-client and here’s a guide to the place where you find “share screen” (you need to be in a meeting to see it, but you can practice by starting a meeting just on your own): https://blink.ucsd.edu/technology/file-sharing/zoom/guide/navigation.html

Question: Also, ideally I would not this wanting floating around forever, so is there a way to manage that (I’m thinking a temporary YouTube channel?) I logged onto Zoom but did not see an obvious solution to this there… Can I send a Dropbox link to the class email list?

Answer: All of the above solutions are or can be temporary: you can shut off link sharing in Dropbox, Google Drive, and One File, and screen sharing in Zoom only lasts as long as you share your screen. YouTube I think is harder to suppress things later in. Certainly harder to control.

If what you want is to replicate how you would normally teach with powerpoint, then sharing your screen in Zoom is probably the best bet, since you control the timing and everything else, just like you would in a classroom. The main difference is that instead of going to the projector, the slideshow goes to the Zoom message window. But otherwise it is the same: it plays media and you can talk over it.

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