Depends on what you want to use it for. The main downsides I see are that they require you to have an account and that they delete your files if you use their free version and don't log in within 30 days. There are a lot of usecases where those downsides would be deal killers.
What do you want to use it for? There are a lot of different storage services, and if I know what you are trying to do I can tell you which I think makes the most sense.
Well I'm still not completely clear on how you want to use it, so I'll go over some options.
1) There are sites that will host files for you with no registration (like imageshack.us but for files). This means there is no simple account-level limit either. There is usually an individual file size limit but it's usually pretty generous. Here your files are usually pruned if they are not downloaded within a certain amount of time, and the ideal kind of usecase is uploading the file and sending a link out by email. It's like a replacement for email attachments when they get too big.
2) There are traditional free hosts meant for websites, who will often give you significant amounts of free storage. Searching for "free hosts" will give you lots of reviews etc, but here is an example of a 5GB free host:
3) There are also services aimed at online document sharing and collaboration. These usually have limitations on what kinds of file formats you can use and sometimes actually mean for you to use them online. But some also have powerful collaboration tools and would even allow you to do things like capture your student's input and store it in spreadsheets. There are lots of limitations that can be a deal killer, but this can do some of the 2-way sharing you speak of. Examples:
5) And if resource stability is the key I'd go paid, and I'd use Amazon's cheap (pennies per GB) storage solution. Just note that it's a development API so you'd need some kind of client (there are web-based ones) to use it:
I can't send out a link by email as that would mean I would need all the student's emails each time there is a new class or if their emails changed. The onus should be on them to access not me.
I am not sure with respect to share-in / share-out where you are not completely clear on how usage.
I do not want just storage.
I do not need / want to embed documents.
Given my Institutes's IT provides share-in / share-out I'm disinclined to pay monies or spend a bunch or time working through what I already have available for free with support, only that I have not been totally happy with its reliability alas.
I thought the requisites for share-in / share-out as used in schools was commonly understood, no?
4) "on-line drives" might work as long as it's the students and not me doing the balance of work to obtain access to my files / leave files for me.
Tue 12 Jan, 2010 12:49 pm
My appreciation for your thoughtful response Robert!