Streamline Dropbox for Online Classes

Online teaching with Dropbox

When you are an online teacher, Dropbox can greatly help organize your online classes. You have to use it correctly, though.

How to stop syncing your files on a Mac

Turn off Dropbox sync so you’re files don’t overwhelm your computer

Once you begin teaching English, you will be overwhelmed with lesson plans – both the lesson plans you will save from others and the lesson plans you will make for yourself. It is extremely important for your own mental health that you keep your lessons organized. Teaching is exhausting, and you have to manage a lot. Soon, you will be overwhelmed with documents and images, which will take a huge emotional toll on you if you don’t feel like everything is in order.

a photo of a professionally dressed teacher looking very anxious holding her hand to her temple
Backup and Sync functions will fill up your computer quickly if you don’t control them quickly.

One great way to organize your lesson plans on all your devices is to use Dropbox. But, if you’re on a teacher’s salary, there’s a good chance you don’t want to pay for anything beyond the Basic Free Dropbox plan.

This plan has limited storage space, so you must be careful not to flood it. It *will* be enough for your needs as long as you are careful to manage your preferences correctly.

How to Change Automatic Backups and Syncs

The first preference you need to change is the automatic backups and syncs. These will fill up your computer quickly if you don’t control them quickly.

It is surprisingly confusing to figure out how to stop syncing the folders on your Dropbox. 

I use a Mac, so this I what we do on a MAC

Step-by-step how to conserve Dropbox space

  1. Go to your APPLICATIONS folder. 
  2. Click the Dropbox icon to open Dropbox

It should look like this:

screen shot of my dropbox folder and files

3. Next, go to the bottom left corner of the window and open the profile 

There, you will see “preferences,” so go to Preferences.


First, go to BACKUPS. Go to SET UP. 


Second, you can also go to “Sync” to change your selective sync options.

Under “Sync,” you can choose a “selective sync.”

What is Dropbox Sync

What is Smart Sync?

According to Dropbox:

Smart Sync is a Dropbox feature that lets you access every file and folder in your Dropbox account from your computer. Smart Sync is available for Dropbox Plus Professional customers and members of Dropbox Business teams.

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Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL
Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL

Ingrid Maria Pimsner has been teaching for over a decade in various universities, nonprofits, and private academies. She has taught English as a Second Language for Lutheran Children & Family Service, Nationalities Service Center, Lernstudio Barbarossa Berlin-Tegel, and more. In addition to her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification, she holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from Maryland Institute College of Art.