Today’s tool is GoogleDocs. I enjoy using this entire suite of tools for a variety of tasks. Here’s a little overview of a couple of the tools that I use on a daily basis.
Documents – A word processor that has the feel of MS Word, but enables collaboration, in real-time or asynchronously. Google has increased the number of simultaneous authors beyond what I would ever need – I heard 200, but am not sure if that’s real or an urban legend. You can import a file and work on it, or export the online document in a variety of file types:
The finished document can also be published to the web and you control the type of access: private or public. The bonus is the accessible history – always key when you are holding students accountable, and of paramount importance as you’re tracking your work with colleagues. In keeping with my paperless classes, I have moved most assessment descriptions and instructions into GoogleDocs. Publishing the document keeps my course delivery system (a wiki) clutter-free and the memory usage down. I also have students publish their work – same space saving idea, plus they are now learning a new tool that they can use with their students. The only down side is the loss of formatting, both when imorting and exporting. But that’s a quick fix and far outweighs all the advantages of using Google Documents.
Forms – This tool has become my new online best friend. The created form is seen as an online survey and is something I’m using with my classes and for my research. The finished product stands alone and doesn’t require any login to complete. You will get the results in a spreadsheet that you can manipulate online or download … again as a variety of file types. The 7 types of questions give you quite a bit of flexibility:
You can even create a test or quiz that corrects itself. Here are the instructions from PlanetOfThe Web. There are almost 100 themes that jazz up the appearance of the survey/form. The form will also have an embed code, so you can embed it right in your wiki, blog, website.
It’s a quick process. I created this example in about 30 seconds. It takes longer to choose the theme than create the form itself! Click on this link and try it out: SampleForm.
If you have questions or want to learn more, go to YouTube and search for tutorials. Have fun!!