CTL Blog

Anonymize Student File Names in the Drop Box

September 24, 2013 | 1 Minute Read

In late August, we added a feature to the Drop Box tool in online courses that allows you to anonymize the file names of student files which you download from a course Drop Box. This means that instead of the file names having the student name in them when you download the files from the Drop Box, the file names have a random string of characters. For example, instead of a file being named "Homework_1-Brian_Klaas.doc" the file would be named "Homework_1-7URT-BQIK-J8AJ-KAN3.doc" if (and only if) you turn on this option in the setup for the Drop Box.

How is this feature useful? This feature has been requested by a handful of faculty over the past few years who have their TAs grade student papers and want the grading process to be totally anonymous. If the student name is in the file name, it's not going to be anonymous. With these anonymized file names, TAs will not know whose paper they are grading (provided, of course, that the student does not put their name in the body of the paper.)

If this option is selected in the setup for a Drop Box, a key listing all students and the file names for their files will be available from within the Drop Box. This allows faculty to know which file belongs to which student. Additionally, if you upload a ZIP file of files with these anonymized file names into the Gradebook, the Gradebook uses that key to correctly assign each file to the proper student so you don't have to do that work.

This feature exists only in online courses right now, but is coming to the CoursePlus Drop Box before the second term.