File storage and management has become a potentially limiting factor in the usefulness of new technologies, and cloud-based file services such as Dropbox, SugarSync, AeroFS, and Box.net attempt to fill that need. With these services, files are stored “in the cloud,” and each time the user accesses the service, the files are synced with whatever device is currently being used. Many students have found that cloud-based file management provides the convenience and flexibility needed for their mobile, always-connected lifestyles, and growing numbers of them show up at college having used such services in high school. The seamless, cross-platform functionality of cloud-based file services provides high levels of access and flexibility, though education and awareness are necessary to minimize activities that could expose private information. Cloud storage offers students and faculty the option to work in real time more effectively because it increases the range of files available for on-the-spot access.
The "7 Things You Should Know About..." series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning technologies. Each brief focuses on a single technology and describes what it is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use these briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues.
In addition to the "7 Things You Should Know About…" briefs, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution. To learn more, please visit the ELI Resources page.