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Unleashing the Power of Document Sharing for Students,
Faculty, and Administrators in Higher Education
While messaging via email or learning management system
(LMS) has emerged as the critical and comfortable link for daily
information exchange in higher education, it has unfortunately
also come to double in many institutions as a platform for
document sharing, an essential activity for which it is ill-suited.
Faculty distribute important documents such as syllabi and
test notes in attachments to email or other messaging media,
a time-consuming practice that greatly increases the risk that
recipients will wind up with outdated or incorrect information.
Administrators commit the same error when sharing policy
documents and other critical communications.
Sharing documents through links on school websites or LMSs
avoids some of the problems inherent in sharing attachments,
but doing so is often inconvenient for faculty and staff, and an
additional burden on IT staff maintaining the website. Doing
so also shares another fundamental flaw with distributing
documents through message attachments: What if the recipient
does not have the application or viewer program required for
reading the document type attached?
This whitepaper describes how the use of a document
sharing environment designed for the purpose can enhance
communication effectiveness in higher education settings.
The Trouble with Attachments
When sharing syllabi, notes, example files, and other document-
based content to students, faculty often simply attach document
files to a message and broadcast it to a class list, either through
a university email system or through messages generated from
an LMS. The pitfalls in this practice are both numerous and
common, and fall into five categories:
Bandwidth: University email systems can have message-
size limits as low as 10