Google to the rescue…

September 5, 2009

It has been a very productive week as I have updated and prepared my Early Literacy Instruction class to open next week.  Just a quick post to share two ways I am using Google to make formerly cumbersome assignments easier:

I am now using Google Forms to collect information on a Needs Assessment.  Every semester I do a needs assessment and have students tell me a few things about their technology and themselves.  The tech questions ask them to identify things like what type of computer they use, their connection speed, their browser, their comfort level on the internet. I am not as interested in the details as much as I like to provide them the opportunity to find out this information if they do not already know it.  The other questions have them sign off on having read the entire syllabus, the academic honesty policy and the approximate workload expectations to successfully complete this class.  By providing a place to sign their agreement to class policies, it raises their awareness of the expectations and if they have special circumstances, often this leads to the conversations about modifications so we can make plans that will support their success right from the start.

In the past I have used the exam tool to gather this information and tally their responses.  This semester I am embedding a Google Form so it will be easy for them to provide the information, and easy for me to access it once it is compiled.

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I am also using Google Documents to compile my Introductions posts so my students can upload pictures and add text to introduce themselves to one another as the class begins.  I used to use a threaded discussion in the Learning Management System (eCollege in my case) but students had to attach a picture to a post and then download it to see it.  This was cumbersome to say the least and highly problematic at times.  The Introductions assignment during the Orientation week of class helps students learn how to use Google Documents (which we will then continue to use throughout the class) and they have a user-friendly, single page access to basic bio information as they get to know their classmates.

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