I do this with my huge classes. It is a different kind of headache, but
it works well (though currently we are not using Blackboard, I do use it
for the Virtual Science Fair that I work on with American schools
abroad. These comments are applicable to BB, WebCT, and D2L --- all of
which I have used for this purpose).
First of all, the software itself screens for viruses. It is not
perfect, but it is pretty good.
Second, the system organizes all the files --- you can set up specific
folders, put in hard deadlines, get the student work time stamped, AND
have email receipts sent to students. So, when a student says, "I turned
it in ..." you can tell if, and when it came in. In the rare case that
the system loses the file, the student who prudently kept the receipt
(which I always tell them to do, but most do not) will have
documentation that the file was appropriately submitted.
Third, most of these systems have fairly easy download capabilities ---
so, you can collect all the papers for one assignment into a single
folder, compress it, and then have the system deliver it to you. When
you extract the cases, they end up in a folder with the same name as the
one that the system created, so your files on your own computer
correspond to the ones on the web site.
Fourth, the system has infinitely more storage space than you do, so it
can keep all the student papers for all the courses you ever taught.
And, when you check the file properties to find a document whose history
indicates that it was originally written by another student or created
during a previous semester, it is fairly easy to track down the
plagiarists (We have NEVER lost one of these cases on appeal by students
--- including the idiot who turned in a plagiarized paper to replace a
previously plagiarized paper).
There is a learning curve, but IMHO it is worth it.
Beverly Bennett wrote:
> Hi, everyone,
> I was recently told that if I allow students to send me their papers
> through e-mail, that opens me up to viruses, and that I should switch
> to having them sent in through Blackboard. Any thoughts on that? I'm
> not sure how it would work through Blackboard, since I can't send one
> to myself to test!
> Thanks very much, and Happy New Year!
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Andrew J Petto, PhD
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
PO Box 413
Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
"There is no word in the language that I revere more than teacher. None. My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher and it always has."
-- Pat Conroy
The Prince of Tides