21) Try out some digital workflow tools
It is perhaps not surprising that the problems of digital workflow has not really been solved, since the problems of paper workflow are still with us, and we have been using paper for a long time. I have been through different versions of solutions (del.icio.us anyone?) and I certainly remember the days when the worst part about upgrading a computer was losing my bookmarks file. So I tried out Pocket, and I think there is potential there, at least for saving things that I know I want to read, but I don’t want to keep for longer than that. I don’t yet have the habit of using it, but I have it on my ipad and my computer, and I will keep trying. I also need to develop the habit of going there and then deciding what to do with the links I put there. Sometimes I read them and delete, and other times I move them over to Pintrest (in the case of some sewing patterns) or leave them in Pocket for later use on my class Portal or something else.
22) Share a workflow
I don’t know if other people would find it useful, but one of the few digital workflows I have developed that I really like is for grading papers. It does not matter how the students turn them in (right now I am using the portal, before that I used Moodle, before that email), but I end up with student work (text files) in folders by section on my hardrive. They have turned them in in Word, Pages, and sometimes also .txt, .rtf, or .odt. I open them all in Word (for Pages this means opening in Pages and exporting, but it is quick, and worth it). In Word, I turn on Track Changes, and I do all my comments and feedback there.
Then, when I am done, I save the Word file (in case I need to go back and add something) and then also save as a PDF, which I return to the student on the Portal (or Moodle, or email, or whatever). The PDF format can be read by every student, so it does not matter if their copy of Word is the same as mine, or if they like Pages better, they just need to view my comments. If they want to make the suggested changes, they go back to their original document in whatever their favorite word processing program is.
The one thing students don’t like is that I won’t take papers turned in as Google Docs. I just don’t have a good workflow for that, and I don’t really want one. But this question does sometimes require me to teach them about exporting from Google Docs as .rtf, a format most of them have not heard of. Often they can download as a Word doc, but when that does not work .rtf is the next best choice.