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Keeping your notes safe

Our Learning Management System is frequently used to house lecture notes from face to face classes. These come in the form of PowerPoint slides, word documents, or PDFs. Yesterday, an instructor called me, concerned that she’d found notes that she’d posted in our password protected system were being posted and shared online.

I started by saying that once we put items online, there is no 100% way of making sure that people don’t take and repost our materials. That being said, there are a few approaches to reduce it, or to make it more difficult.

1. Save as HTML: in either PowerPoint or Word, you can save items as a web page or HTM file. Since students are viewing the items on the screen, instead of downloading a PDF, it means there are a few more steps. It also means that you don’t have to worry about students finding their downloaded items, versioning (if you repost an updated PDF), or the correct software (.doc vs .docx).

2. Don’t post all the lecture slides: why are students asking for the slides? Are there a few key diagrams that are too complex to copy during class? Do they want an outline and key questions from the lecture so that they can follow the flow of the lecture and class activities?

What other methods have you tried or heard of? Would using Google Docs or Presentation help?

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