When backing up your courses and materials, you will be saving multiple items to either your computer, a thumb drive, or an external hard drive. Regardless of where you store the files, the fact remains that you will have to put multiple items in a folder somewhere.
To that end, any folder and file structure needs to allow you to easily locate a specific item at some point in the future. For example, if a student is on the cusp of graduating three years after taking your class and they claim that something went wrong in your class that is preventing them from graduating, you will need to be able to quickly locate the information from that class in order to verify or defend against the accusation.
Therefore, we suggest something similar to the following for storage of your course backups and course materials. You do not have to follow these recommendations if you already have a system in place that works for you, but the key is you need to EASILY find the information if you ever need it.
NOTE: The following can be used whether or not you are saving the files to a computer, thumb drive, or hard drive.
- Create a New Folder on whichever storage device you want to use (computer, thumb drive, or hard drive). Name this folder something like Course Backups. This folder will be built ONCE and is where you will store ALL of your course information for EVERY course over EVERY semester (so don't lose the thumb drive or hard drive and if you are saving it to a computer then you need to use the same computer every term).
- Create a New Folder within the Course Backups folder. Name this folder whatever term you are backing up. For example, you might name it Spring 2013 if you are backing up your courses at the end of the Spring 2013 semester. You will repeat this step EACH SEMESTER.
- Create a New Folder within the term folder (ex: Spring 2013 term folder). Name this folder whatever course section you are backing up. For example, you may name the folder MG 310 or MG 310 - 20343 depending on how many sections of the course you taught. Ultimately, you will repeat this step for EACH COURSE SECTION you taught in a given term.
- Lastly, you will save all of your course materials from the semester within the course section folder (ex: MG 310 - 20343 course section folder will contain all materials from that section for that semester). Examples of materials that should be kept include a final backup of the GradeCenter, a copy of the final course archive, and any graded materials that may have been submitted outside of Blackboard (ex: submissions through email, etc.). This storage area is primarily for materials dealing with TEACHING the course, NOT DESIGNING OR DEVELOPING the course.
An example of what the file structure might look like if you follow the above format is located below.
Remember that you do not have to follow the above structure exactly. It is only meant as an example of how to arrange your backup files so that you can easily locate any information that you may need in the future. Ultimately, the key is making a structure that works best for you.
NOTE: As with any other computer or technology where you are backing up files, it is a best practice to store backup files in two different locations or on two different storage devices. Therefore, it would be ideal to perform the above steps on TWO devices (such as two different external hard drives). That way, if one of your hard drives breaks or gets lost, you still have always have a second one with your information on it as well.