Saving and Transferring Files

When preparing to teach in a CIC lab, it is important to consider logistical questions about saving and transferring work in the lab. Where would you like students to save the daily work they do? How will you expect students to transfer work between school and home? Four of the most effective options are outlined below.


Flash Drives

You may choose to have students save their work directly to a flash drive, and to get into the habit of carrying this with them at all times. One drawback of this method is that students frequently forget or lose their memory sticks - we find these left behind in the labs all the time! So, while students will be comfortable and familiar with saving this way, they may need consistent reminders in order to for it to be effective.



It's a good idea to have students back up their work through the U Drive or cloud storage anyway, since flash drives can be lost or damaged quite easily.


The U Drive

The U Drive is a central file storage system that provides UW students, faculty and staff with a place to house files. Since files can be accessed anywhere (both on- and off- campus), using the U Drive is an effective way to store the work that your students do in the CIC so that they can return to it at home or during a later class.

Students can store up to 10GB of data, which is automatically backed up. This service is activated automatically for students.

However, the U Drive must be activated for faculty and staff via the UW NetID Service Manage Page. If you would like to activate your U Drive, please follow the instructions provided here.


Accessing the U Drive from an On-Campus Computer

Once you have activated your own U Drive service, you can lead your students through the process of accessing and using the drive in the CIC lab.

First, have them click on the U Drive icon on the desktop:


A log in screen will appear, on which students can enter their UW Net ID and password.


After students log in, a Windows Explorer window will open up to display all files and folders they currently have in the Drive.


Students may now save files to the U Drive by dragging and dropping them in the desktop icon.


Accessing the U Drive from an Off-Campus Computer

The UW recommends using Filezilla as a platform to access files from home. Filezilla is an open-source FTP/ SFTP client that runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and many flavors of GNU/ Linux.

First, have students install the platform on their home computers by going here. After installation, students should follow these steps to upload their files:

Open Filezilla. Type in for host. From there, students can enter their NetID and password:

*Note: for port, type in "22."


Next, they can click on "QuickConnect," and double-click on "udrive" on the right side of the window. This will open the U Drive folder.

Now, students can drag files between the left side of the windown (the computer) and the right side of the window (the U Drive).

For more detailed instructions and information on Filezilla, click here.



You may want to have students save files directly on their Canvas account, so that they will be able to access them from anywhere and upload them easily as components of Discussions or Assignments. If you use Canvas frequently in your course already, students should be familiar with the platform and will adjust quickly to the habit of saving files there after every LAN session.

Please remind students, however, that at the end of their time at UW their Canvas accounts will be suspended; therefore, it's a good idea for them to back up their files through cloud storage or another option.

To save files and folders in Canvas storage space, students should log in to Canvas and click on their name in the upper-right hand corner of the window (where the image below reads "Test Student"):


Next, they should select "Files" from the menu on the left hand side of the window:


In this space, students may upload any document, image, powerpoint presentation or other file by clicking on "Add Files/ Add Folder" in the Files window.


This way, students may easily access and transfer files for all of their classes at UW. If you would like more detailed instructions on how to use the Files space more effectively in teaching on Canvas, please see the CIC Faculty Guide on File Storage by clicking here.


Cloud Storage

You may also want to get into the habit of having students save their work in a cloud storage space such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive or Box. These spaces store any kind of file, including images, photographs, videos and documents, and you can access them from any computer.

Deciding which one to use is largely a matter of preference, and you may well find that students already maintain a cloud storage space that they use to store their academic and personal files.

Since UW partners with Google to provide Google Apps to students, faculty, staff, alumi and former students, it may be most convenient for you to use Google Drive as a space to create, store, and share files. For a class in the CIC, it also provides an easy place for students to store their work.


Using UW Google Apps for Students

If you are teaching a class that contains a lot of new students or freshmen, it is a good idea to make sure that all of your students have activited their UW Google Apps. UW IT Connect provides excellent, step-by-step directions if you follow this link. You may want to do this as part of an activity in the CIC, during the first few weeks of the quarter.

After the students have activated their accounts, they can easily use Google Drive to save their files in the CIC and access them from school or home.

To do this, first have students open their UW Google Apps and click on the "Drive" icon (a box design of 9 squares) in the upper-right hand corner of the window:


This will open a window, on which they can select "Drive":


When students enter the Drive space, they may save their files by dragging and dropping them directly into the window. Files can also be shared with other users, and Google Docs makes it easy for students to collaborate and work together on documents in real time.


Additional Resources