Share Resources and Collect Assignments

Share Resources and Collect Assignments

Even if instructors have a required text or course packet, they often have other resources that they want their students to read, watch, listen to, or interact with. Additionally, instructors often ask students to create products or resources that they need to share with the instructor or with each other. These tips are useful no matter the course modality.

Share resources

  • Require only common software: Students may not have access to specialty software located in on-campus computer labs. Some of that software may be available via the ISU Software for Students page, but unless the students have permission to load software onto a computer they can access, they may be unable to use these tools. Be ready with a backup plan for such students.
  • Ensure students know when new material is posted: If you post new materials in Canvas or CyBox, be sure to let students know what you posted and where. Please encourage your students to change their Canvas or Box notification preferences to alert them when new materials are posted. Refer them to How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as a student? or CyBox email notifications.
  • Keep things smartphone and device friendly: In a crisis, many students may only have a phone available, so make sure you are using mobile-friendly formats, PDFs being the most common. Consider saving other files (for example, PowerPoint presentations) to PDFs, which are easier to read on phones and tablets, and keep the file size small. It is fairly easy to reduce the size of PDF files using Adobe Acrobat, and there are online tools that do the same thing (for example, search Google for “PDF file size”). Videos take lots of bandwidth, so only require them if you are confident students will have access to them during a crisis.
  • Activate ISU Library Resources: To populate your course with discipline-specific resources and databases, enable a chat with subject librarians and use discipline-specific FAQs using Step-by-step instructions web guide.

Connect to resources with ISU Library

The ISU Library makes it possible for classes to connect seamlessly through direct engagement with library staff, access to digital content, and collaboration across the University.

  • Discipline-Specific Resources: Populate your course with discipline-specific resources and databases, enable a chat with subject librarians and use discipline-specific FAQs.
  • Streaming Media: Explore ISU’s streaming media collections of documentaries, news programs and news clips, instructional material, and selected feature films on many subjects.
  • To determine the best options for your course, use the Ask a Librarian page.

Use digital course materials with ISU Book Store

For assistance with digital course material needs, conversion from print to digital, or additional support, contact Iowa State University Book Store team via:

Read the most up-to-date information about publishers, access, and more on the Immediate Access: The Iowa State Digital Content Solution page.

Collect assignments

Collecting assignments is fairly straightforward. Use the Assignments tool in Canvas. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid email for assignment collection: It may be easy to collect assignments in small classes via email, but it doesn’t meet FERPA requirements, and student data is at risk. Use Canvas Assignments or CyBox. Balance what is simplest for students with what is easiest for you to manage.
  • State expectations, but be ready to allow extensions: In the case of a campus closure or other crisis, some students will undoubtedly have difficulties meeting deadlines. Make expectations clear, but be ready to provide more flexibility than you normally would in your class (see Be Flexible).
  • Consider altering the assignment: In many ways, papers are the ideal assignment during times of disruption because they require fewer adjustments than other types of assignments. Consider using Peer Reviews to receive feedback from their classmates while focusing on modifying more challenging assignments to an online format (see Interactive Feedback and Canvas Peer Review.
  • Require specific filenames: It may sound trivial, but anyone who collects papers electronically knows the pain of getting 20 files named Essay1.docx. Give your students a simple file naming convention, for example, FirstnameLastname-Essay1.docx.

Common tools for sharing and collecting:

Sharing Resources and Collecting Assignments, by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University, is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Sharing Resources and Collecting Assignments, is a derivative of Collect Assignments developed by the Indiana University UITS Knowledge Management team (retrieved on April 13, 2020) from