Active Teaching Lab Recap: Google Docs with Tim Paustian

Fri September 25, 2015

Tim-PaustianIn the Active Teaching Lab on September 25, 2015, Tim Paustian from Bacteriology shared how he used Collaborative Google Docs to get his students to work together.

Key Takeaways

  • Different types of Google documents (Docs, Sheets, Slides) are a great place for collaborative writing/creating/building by students.
  • Using tables within a shared Doc to create a “holding” space for each individual’s notes can minimize students typing over each other. The Collaborative Notes page for this Lab has examples of this.
  • Tutorials are a must; don’t assume the students know how to use Google Apps just because they are on their cell phones all the time 😉 — plan to teach the features you want them to use. Scaffolding is critical.
    • Include social engineering and expectations
      • For collaborative writing, teach the difference between editing grammar and being an effective editor.
      • Require that students use Wisc.edu accounts only, as opposed to their personal Google accounts.
  • Show the students the “revision history” feature of Docs. It allows you as the instructor to hold each student individually accountable for their work, AND allows teacher and students to see improvements in the end product.
  • Issues:
    • Everyone has access, which could disrupt the data.
    • Everyone must understand how the sheet was constructed and how it is used.
    • Challenge students to “see” the whole proposal rather than just their own piece.
  • Google is still not as easy to use as we might wish, especially when one person has more than one Google account (e.g., personal and UW).

If you’re interested in learning more to get up and running with Google Docs, watch the videos below, see Tim’s slides, and try walking through the Google Docs worksheet we created for the session!

Tim’s Google Docs Story

Hands-on with Google Docs

Discussion with Tim