The good news is that I no longer have to keep hard copies of all those handouts on file, which explains why I no longer need two big filing cabinets in my office. The bad news is that I have so many handouts saved in files on my computer that I don't always remember where to find the one I need right now.
I have folders full of handouts for specific classes and other folders for handouts I use in multiple classes, sometimes in various versions. Some file folders have other file folders embedded inside, each embedding leading into a black hole of more and more files. If I haven't taught a class for a while, I have to go through all the folders just to see what's in there. Sometimes I'm surprised by what I find (My, how clever I am!) and sometimes just befuddled (What was I thinking?).
I'd be lost without my Find function, and it really helps to give files screamingly obvious names. A special version updated to meet the needs of a specific class gets an abbreviation for the semester at the beginning of the name (f17 thesis powerpoint), but the rest of the name has to communicate clearly across time to Future Stupid Me, who isn't going to have any idea what f17tp might mean.
I rarely delete a handout entirely, even if it seems hopelessly out of date. I may move it to an Archive folder, but it'll still be sitting there when old format standards or certain types of writing prompts come back into style.
All those handouts near at hand pile up like a security blanket to soothe the start-of-semester jitters. I may not know when I'll need every single one of these handouts, but it's good to know that when I need them, they'll be there.
|Files for just one class.|