IT Connect
Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Managing Assignments and Projects with Collect It

What You Can Do With Collect It

Collect It is a Web-based tool that can be used to collect and return documents online. With Collect It, owners and their collaborators can easily receive, access, track, store, and download participants’ submitted files. Participants can easily upload files to submit work from anywhere they have Web access.

  • Lighten your load by receiving and storing papers online rather than carrying around hard copies.
  • Provide participants with a central online location for assignment instructions and an overview of assignment due dates.
  • Avoid last minute printer problems and late students on due dates.
  • Grant access and management privileges to collaborators, TAs, or graders who can then retrieve submitted files online, without any need for distributing papers or forwarding email attachments.
  • Submitted files can be sorted for viewing by assignment or by participant, late and missing submissions are tracked, and selected files or entire dropboxes can be downloaded with a few clicks of the mouse.

Planning Considerations

Getting started with Collect It is as easy as creating a dropbox and adding assignments. With a little planning, you can assure the smooth integration of Collect It into your course or research project. Here are a few things to consider:

Access to Technology

Because Collect It is Web-based, users need to have access to the Web to use it. Keep in mind the different computing environments of your students and/or collaborators: for example, some may have a high-speed connection only when on campus.

Deadlines and Workflow

When you create an assignment in Collect It you will be asked to select open, due, and close dates and times. These choices are worth giving some thought because they can influence workflow over the span of a course or project. For example, opening all assignments at once makes it possible for participants to submit work out of order in an assignment sequence or perhaps before an assignment has been discussed in class, whereas opening an assignment only hours before it is due may make it difficult for participants with busy schedules or limited Web access to submit within that window. Additionally, setting a due date and close date to the same time is appropriate if you will not accept late work for an assignment, whereas setting the close date some time after the due date will allow late submissions and flag them as late.

Access to the Submitted Files

By default, Collect It allows only the dropbox owner to view and download all submitted documents. However, you can choose to give your teaching assistants, graders, and other collaborators access to the documents as well. Just edit “Access & Roles” to add administrators or commenters by entering their UW NetIDs when you set up your Collect It dropbox.

Participants have access only to their own files up until the dropbox closes.

Responding and Returning Feedback

Collect It includes the option for all users to leave comments for each other, whether submitting a document or responding to it. In addition to text comments, Collect It makes it possible for owners and their collaborators to attach files as a means of providing feedback. For example, an instructor can download a paper, add feedback using their word processing software’s track changes and/or commenting features, and then attach the file to return it to the participant.

Digital Submission Details

Participants will likely need some assignment details that are specific to digital submission.

  • How to get to the dropbox: including a link on your Web site or CommonView workspace, directing participants to find the dropbox listed on their Catalyst Web Tools account screen, and adding the URL to your syllabus, assignment sheet, project timeline, etc. are good ideas.
  • How they should name files: A standard system for file naming may make it even easier for you to keep submitted work organized.
  • What file formats are appropriate: It is a good idea to give participants instructions about appropriate file formats in order to avoid receiving files that you cannot open.
  • What file size is expected: If you plan to download documents, especially if working with potentially large image or video files, some guidelines about file size are also a good idea.
  • How will feedback work: Particularly with students, it is also nice to let participants know who will have access to their work and how/when they should expect to receive feedback.