Teaching Writing With Computers

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Teaching Writing With Computers > Pickup & Dropoff Folders
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How to Use Pickup & Dropoff Folders in a Mac Computer Lab

The computer labs are equipped with software that allows your instructor to leave exercises or class materials for you to pick up, work on, and drop off.  

Opening Your Classroom Folder

Once you log in with your user name and password, the following Application Shortcuts window will open on your desktop:


Find the crystal ball (shown here in close-up) at the top of this window and slightly to the right.


You can also find the same crystal ball in what’s called the Apple tray along the bottom of the desktop screen:


Single-click either of these crystal balls to open a window of Class Folders. Scroll down the list of names to your instructor’s name, class number, and section:


If you don’t see your instructor’s name, move the blue slider at the right of the window down to reveal more names.

Double-click on your instructor’s name, class number, and section. The main view of this particular course’s Class Folder will now appear. Among the available folders you’ll see one labeled Pickup and another, Dropoff:



The main view of your course’s Class Folder, shown above, might also include other folders such as Share or Admin. Your instructor will explain these as needed.



Picking Up Files

Now that you’ve opened your course’s Class Folder, you can access files inside the Pickup Folder.

Double-click the Pickup Folder icon to open the folder and view its contents. Below you can see an example of some of the files that might be available to you. Move the cursor over the one you need and single-click to select it. In this case, “Diagnostic.doc” has been selected.



Holding down the mouse button, drag the file out of the Pickup Folder to your computer Desktop as shown below, then release the mouse button.


Next, be sure to make the document yours by giving it a distinctive name:

  • Slowly double-click the document icon to highlight its current name.
  • Delete that name and type in your first initial, last name, and the date.

Renaming your document makes it easier to identify at a glance and distinguishes it from the diagnostics being written by other students in the class. In this case, I would rename “Diagonostic.doc” as “DMeisenheimer9.10.doc”. Note that you can also change the name of a document while it’s open by clicking on File and Save As, then following the above naming protocol. (Be sure to save the document to the Desktop so you know where to find it easily.)


Dropping Off Files: the Wrong Way vs. the Right Way

From the course’s open Class Folder, you can also make use of the Dropoff Folder.

Note that you cannot drag a file into the main Dropoff Folder. The Dropoff Folder is two layers deep, so an error message will appear if you try to drag a document directly into the Dropoff:


Instead, you must open the main Dropoff Folder. Inside you’ll see a collection of various sub-folders the instructor has created.

The following metaphor might help you remember this distinction. If you were taking a letter to the post office to mail it, you wouldn’t drive by the post office and chuck the letter at the building. You would go inside the building and find the right mail slot. In the same way, you can’t drop a file into the main Dropoff Folder (the post office); you must go inside and find the right interior dropoff folder (the mail slot).

Below, you can see that “Place Your Diagnostic Here” is the appropriate interior dropoff folder for the document.


At this point you’ll see what appears to be an error message, but really isn’t. The message informs you that you can’t retrieve the document you are about to put in the dropoff folder—just as you can’t retrieve a letter dropped through a mail slot.


Click OK. As the file is copied to the interior dropoff folder, a copying bar will appear very briefly. You can verify that the document has been successfully dropped off by asking your instructor if he or she has received it.

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