Best Practices

Sharing large files on the OpenLab

The OpenLab was conceived as a hub for sharing information and ideas. It would be wonderful to have unlimited file storage space on the OpenLab, but unfortunately, that is beyond our current scope and we must have a storage limit for an individual course, project, club, and portfolio sites. NOTE: If you have reached your storage limit and need extra space, please reach out to the OpenLab Team.

Best Practices

For those members who are nearing their storage limit, this is an opportunity to learn “best web practices” – an important skill in any field today. The term best practices refers to the generally accepted practice in a certain medium, field or expertise.

For example, data-heavy files, such as video/audio, are not stored in a folder on a web server, but rather on YouTube, Vimeo, Sound Cloud or similar sites that are dedicated to this use. In the same vein, if you need to share large files or large numbers of files on the OpenLab, best practice dictates that you house this data on a free, external storage solution.

Collecting and Sharing Files Using Dropbox:

  1. Collecting files from students via a Dropbox File Request.  This is a great alternative to collecting large files by email. Students do NOT need a Dropbox account to use it. Post a Dropbox File Request link on your site that students can use to upload files. The files will appear in a folder of your choosing.  Students do not have any direct access to the folder (they can’t access the files once uploaded).
  2. Using Dropbox to share files with students.  If you grade papers or other coursework electronically, you can return them to students by sharing a Dropbox link to the file.  Students can only access the file for which they have a link.  Links can be shared with students via email, or posted in the OpenLab Gradebook (as “comments”) or via a private Grade Comment on a student homework post.

Sharing Non-Web-Ready files (PDF, TIFF, PPT):

File storage solutions like Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, and others can be used to host your large, non-web-ready files for download, such as PDFs, TIFF, PPT or any other files you wish to share with members of the OpenLab.


Below is a PowerPoint slideshow that was uploaded to Slideshare. Slideshare files will automatically embed in your posts. All you have to do is copy and paste the slideshow URL on its own line in your post.

Sharing Web-Ready Images (jpgs, pngs, gifs):

Web-ready files, such as jpgs, pngs, gifs, can also be embedded on your site using links from Flickr, Instagram, Slideshare, and others. You can find instructions on embedding images from services like Flickr on our help page, Adding Images to your Site.

Below is an example of a photo that has been embedded from Flickr rather than uploaded to the OpenLab:

Embedded image from Flickr
This image is housed on Flickr.

Are you nearing your storage limit on your OpenLab Project, Course, Club or Portfolio?

Ask our Community Team for help. They will be able to increase your storage space and will gladly show you how to link or embed files on your Site from externally hosted storage solutions.

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