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Making Documents Available to Students

One thing you will certainly do a lot of as an online instructor is make various documents available to students in GeorgiaView. These include everything from your syllabus to content you have written. You could provide these as Word documents, and there are cases where this is the best option, but there may be reasons to consider other options.

Using Word Documents

If you do put Word documents in GeorgiaView, it is highly recommended that you save them as Word 2003 documents so that students who do not have Office 2007 will still be able to view them. To do this in Word 2007, choose Save As from the the Office Button in the upper left corner, and then from the Save As Type drop-down list, choose "Word 97-2003 Document." This will save the document with a ".doc" extension and makes it viewable in Word 2003 and older versions.

Providing PDFs

Another alternative is to make your documents available as PDF files. There are a couple of real advantages to this method. First, everyone who has the free Adobe PDF Reader (which is something the GeorgiaView browser-checker looks for), can view your documents. No need to worry about which version of Office students have. Second, students cannot alter your PDF. Not that any student at BC would ever do this, but imagine having someone change a due date on your Word syllabus and then using that as an excuse for a late paper! You can avoid such calamities by converting your documents to PDF files. The only real exceptions to this are when you specifically DO want students to alter your file such as providing text that you want students to correct and send back to you.

Creating PDFs

Adobe Acrobat is the primary software that creates PDFs, but it is unnecessary to buy and learn this product for basic conversion. There are several free PDF converters that work beautifully for easily converting Word documents to PDF. To use them, you simply go to Print from within Word, and then choose the converter from your list of printers. You then choose a location for the file, and that's it.

Here are three good PDF converters that you can download and use:

Primo PDF converter

PDF Creator

CutePDF