RETRIEVING DIGITAL DROPBOX SUBMISSIONS FROM SPRING 2012 COURSES (Bb version 8.0)

Retrieving legacy digital dropbox assignment work, SHORT answer
:

1) Log into Community System - http://community.worcester.edu
2) Once logged in on one browser tab (keep that open) open a NEW browser tab and go to http://community.worcester.edu//webapps/blackboard/execute/ddb
3) This should display your list of courses in clickable link format which will then display the submitted items.
4) You will need to save these somewhere (your choosing) maybe a dropbox.com folder if you have created a personal account... or your Z:/ drive if you have room.

LONG answer detailing why the change from Digital Dropbox to Assignment was made (Supplied by Bb):

Issue Description: The old digital dropbox has been entirely removed from the product in Blackboard Learn release 9, as mentioned in the release 9 upgrade documentation.

Cause: The digital dropbox is a tool that existed since the early days of CourseInfo (the original name of the Blackboard Learning System before release 5.0) and served several purposes.

•Students could add files for online storage.
•Students could send such files to the course dropbox for grading.
•Instructors and other privileged users could send files back to students with grading comments.
Dropbox files could be associated with (owned by) student users or with instructors. All instructor-owned files together formed the "course dropbox," accessible to all privileged users in the course.

The dropbox code had several major weaknesses, such as the inability to organize the submitted files by assignment or user, difficulties in determining who had submitted which file, and a cumbersome grading process. Since release 6 of the Blackboard Learning System, an Assignment tool is available to facilitate file submission for grading purposes that was from the beginning intended to replace the submission facility of the Digital Dropbox, whereas for the user-storage feature, a full-featured online storage facility has also long been offered through the Blackboard Content System. Students can also use Journals and Blogs in Blackboard 9 to keep notes and data easily accessible to themselves and the discussion board and a variety of other tools for sharing documents with the class or a group within it.

The only shortcoming of the Assignment tool compared to the dropbox thus was the inability to re-submit files, for example, for multiple attempts at the assignment. In release 9.0, the assignment tool was enhanced to support multiple submissions, and the old and now superfluous digital dropbox has been entirely removed from the product in Blackboard Learn release 9, as mentioned in the release 9 upgrade documentation.

Another legacy component using partially the same code as the old Digital Dropbox, the Group File Exchange feature, has been rewritten in Java for release 9, so this functionality remains available, even somewhat enhanced over previous versions.

Resolution/Workaround: Retrieving Legacy Files

As the old dropbox knew no separation of files by assignment (one of its major limitations), it was not possible to move these files into assignments during the upgrade, and there is no storage area facility available into which they could have been moved. So they are not directly accessible within the application after an upgrade or in courses restored from earlier versions. The old dropbox code used Perl, which has been completely removed from the web application in release 9, so the dropbox cannot be accessed anymore to retrieve the legacy files. A rudimentary Java-based interface is being provided to enable each user individually to download any legacy files he/she may wish to retrieve. These files can then be submitted in newly created assignments as desired.

Unfortunately this interface is not exposed through any link in the application. System administrators or helpdesk staff can, however, make available such a link to their users (provided above).

The location of this interface (relative to one's server root) is:

xxxxx.xxxx.xxx/webapps/blackboard/execute/ddb

It is important to note that this is not a file system location but a web application. One actually has to access the URL through a web browser.

Sample: Example of HTML for a portal module named "Digital Dropbox Download":

Download the digital dropbox files <a href="/webapps/blackboard/execute/ddb">here</a>

When a user accesses this link, he/she will either see a message that no files were found for him/her,or a list of courses in which he/she had uploaded or received files. Clicking on one of those courses will display the list of his/her files, which he/she can individually download from there. It is not possible to upload additional files or to submit files to others.

No batch download or migration facility is being provided. The interface is intentionally kept sparse to emphasize the importance of migrating the content out of here; this is not intended to provide long-term access to these files. Rather the intent is that all the dropbox content for older courses should be downloaded within a given period and then recycled (batch deleted).

Files sent by students to the course dropbox are not identifiable by author in the instructor's dropbox download interface on release 9. No information about who added the file (and when) is being displayed; it is purely a listing of download links. Instructors will thus not be able to grade these file submissions in the dropbox download interface on release 9 unless the student's username is included in the filename and when submission date is not a primary concern. Grading these items generally needs to be completed before upgrading to release 9.

In case of grade disputes for historical data, the system administrator would be able to determine the file's sender and submission date from the database (unless this entire area has been recycled for the course). One will have to look in the database to see who sent the file, table COURSE_USER_UPLOADS. For each file in status 'r' (received) for the instructor, there will be a matching record with the same file in status 's' (sent). The associated course_user is the sender.

The Group File Exchange

The dropbox code also served as basis for a similar component in course groups called the File Exchange. For release 9, this feature has been entirely rewritten in Java and continues to serve in Release 9 as it did before, with all files remaining fully accessible after upgrades or course restores (since both file storage and database storage aspects remain unchanged).