Getting on Dropbox


This semester, instead of making you print all your assignments and bring them to class, I've decided to join the 21st century and let you turn things in electronically. To that end, we'll be using Dropbox this semester, a free cloud storage service that's easy to use.

To get all set up, please follow these steps:

NOTE: These instructions assume you're using a desktop/laptop computer rather than a mobile device and that you are accessing Dropbox through an internet browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.). If you are using a mobile device, due to its smaller screen, some of the options and links mentioned may be hidden within collapsed menus. If you are interacting with Dropbox through an app, it might be completely different depending on what OS (iOS, Android, etc.) you're using and what device you're on.

Step 1: Get a Dropbox Account

If you already have a Dropbox account, you can skip to the next step.

If you do not yet have a Dropbox account, go to and sign up for an account. If Dropbox tries to convince you to upgrade to a paid account, don't do it—the free version is plenty good enough for us.

screenshot of dropbox

The Dropbox landing page with the sign-up form. (Click image to expand)

Step 2: Set Up a Folder

Once you're signed up for Dropbox, go ahead and sign in to your account by going to and clicking "Sign in" from the top of the page. When you arrive in Dropbox, you'll likely be on the "Home" page—if so, click the link on the left called "Files." This will bring you to a page showing you all your files.

screenshot of dropbox

If you're at "Home," click on "Files." (Click image to expand)

On the right side of the page (or within a collapsed menu if your window/screen is small), you'll see an option for "New Folder." Click this and name your new folder Last Name, First Initial, replacing those words with your actual name and initial.

screenshot of dropbox

Click on "New folder." (Click image to expand)

Step 3: Share Your Folder

Click the name of your new folder to enter it (it's empty), and then click the "Share Folder" button on the right side of the screen.

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Share your new folder. (Click image to expand)

In the dialog box that pops up, enter these email addresses: and Make sure the "Can edit" option is selected (not "Can view"). Click the "Share" button at the bottom.

screenshot of dropbox

Enter the emails; make sure "Can edit" is selected. (Click image to expand)

Step 4: Create a Few More Folders

Now that your new folder is created and shared, you need to make three folders inside of it. Start by going back into your name folder (if you're not already there). Once inside, create three new folders by clicking the "New folder" button, title these Graded, Submitted, and Submitted Late. These should be normal folders, not shared ones.

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Three folders, ready to go. (Click image to expand)

Using Dropbox

Use the Desktop App

You can always log into Dropbox through an internet browser, but it's a clunky way to interact with your files. I highly recommend downloading the Dropbox app for your desktop/laptop computer. Basically, it allows you to interact with Dropbox as if it is a folder on your hard drive—no need to log in or drag files from window to window to get them where you need.

screenshot of dropbox

See how Dropbox is just a place in my Finder? This makes is easy to move files in and out of my Dropbox without constantly logging in or resizing browser windows (I use a Mac, but it's essentially the same on a Windows machine). (Click image to expand)

Just remember that, even though the Dropbox folder looks like any other folder on your computer, it's not. It's on the cloud, and because you've shared with me your folder, anything you change on your computer within that folder will instantly be changed for me as well.

Turning Things In

Every assignment page on this website specifies how to turn in the work—while most will be turned in on Dropbox, some must be printed out and turned in in person and some will be completed directly on Slack—so you should always check an assignment's page to see exactly what to do.

When the instructions say something like "This assignment should be uploaded to your Submitted folder on Dropbox by classtime on" such-and-such day, you should do just that—upload your assignment to your Submitted folder by the specified time. If you fail to get the assignment uploaded on time, you can still turn it in late (unless the assignment description specifies that you can't); just upload it to the "Submitted Late" folder instead.

Once I grade your work, I'll move it to the "Graded" folder. There, you'll be able to see what score you received on the work and any feedback I gave you.

File Formats and Naming

Unless otherwise specified, every assignment you upload to your Dropbox for me to grade must be a .docx file. It doesn't matter if you use Microsoft Word, Open Office, Google Docs, Apple Pages, or another word-processing program, you must submit your work as a .docx file or I will not grade it. Virtually all word-processing software will allow you to save in this format (a quick Google search can dig up instructions if you can't figure it out).

Second, every assignment you upload to your Dropbox for me to grade should follow this naming convention:

Last Name, Assignment Name.docx

Of course, substitute your own last name and the assignment name as appropriate for each assignment. I will not grade assignments that are misnamed.

Why So Strict, Dr. G?

Please remember that I have 50 students, so whatever shenanigans one student pulls are potentially multiplied by 50. Imagine getting 50 documents called "english-assignment-lol.docx" and "untitled.pages" and trying to figure out who turned in what and what program can open them all. It's a headache. Up until recently, I've always required paper submissions of all assignments because it avoids file format and naming problems altogether, though it did cost my students a pretty penny for printing. I'm saving you the money, so please save me the trouble.