CTL Blog

Timed Drop Boxes Now Available in Online Courses

November 08, 2012 | 3 Minute Read

While the Quiz Generator in online courses and CoursePlus is a powerful tool, it does not meet everyone's needs. We've heard from a handful of faculty about the possibility of timed Drop Boxes — the ability to set up a Drop Box so that a student would only have a set amount of time from the moment they "unlocked" a Drop Box before they could no longer submit a file to a Drop Box. If faculty had an assessment where students needed to work inside of a specific type of document (an Excel file or R script, for example), they could offer that document and know that students only had a limited amount of time to work with the document and return it to the faculty via the course website.

Starting with the second term, these timed Drop Boxes are now available in online courses. Here's how they work:

  1. The faculty, TA, or course instrucitonal designer designates that a Drop Box will be a timed Drop Box.
  2. They specify the amount of time that the student has to unlock the Drop Box and then submit a file into the Drop Box.
  3. They provide a file for students to use as part of this assessment.
  4. On the student view of the Drop Box, the "Submit Files" button is replaced with an "Unlock and Start Timer" button.
    Before opening a timed Drop Box
  5. A student clicks the "Unlock and Start Timer" button and a warning page is displayed, like the one before taking a timed and graded quiz.
  6. The student clicks "Unlock Drop Box" button and the timer starts and the file and additional instructional text is displayed. The student then has [n] minutes from that time (as specified in the Drop Box setup) to turn the file in. The student also gets an email reminding them of when the Drop Box locks for them.After unlocking Drop Box
All of the other options for Drop Box setup are available to timed Drop Boxes. You can specify that under no circumstances can a student turn in a file after the amount of time has passed, or you can specify that students can turn in a file after the amount of time has passed, but the file is to be flagged as turned in late. In cases where students need access to a timed Drop Box outside of the normal open/close dates for the Drop Box, you can have the students send their file to you or a TA and submit the file on their behalf.

The "View File Submissions" report will show when a student unlocked a timed Drop Box and when they turned in their file. If the student has not yet turned in a file for an unlocked Drop Box and time has not run out, the "View File Submissions" report indicates that the student is currently "In Progress" on the timed Drop Box.

We hope that this new feature opens up new possibilities for faculty who want to offer timed assesments and activities outside of the Quiz Generator. We look forward to hearing your feedback about it!