Monday, September 2, 2013

The BEST Way to Assign and Share Google Documents with Students

The best way to organize, assign, and share google documents with students is using the script gClassFolders.

I have been using google docs with my students for years.  Last January we became a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school and I began to discover google scripts.  Scripts are magic!

In the past, I had had students create their own documents and share them with me.  I gave them a specific way to name/title the documents, but they didn't always follow my instructions.  And many times they would forget to change the sharing rights and I couldn't view their documents.  And I was so bad at organizing my google drive - their files were everywhere.

That is where the magic of scripts come in.  I can send out documents to students that are already name properly, with the student name, class period, and assignment in the title of the document.  I can control the sharing rights and even "embargo" the assignments, by changing student editing rights so they can't change the document after the due dates.  And I can automatically organize the documents into class or student folders.  I can use google search to find them, or go to a spreadsheet for an assignment and click on the link to each student's document.

To do all of this scripting magic, I use gClassFolders to set up the folders for each class and student.  Then to send out the documents/assignments, I use the hub in gClassFolders to run the Doctopus script.  I can assign individual or group assignments and change the share settings for the entire class at one time.

In the following videos I will share how I export my class rosters from Infinite Campus, run the gClassFolders script to set up my class and student folders, and then run the Doctopus script to send out an assignment.  

How to export class rosters from SUHSD's Infinite Campus and auto type in student email addresses:

How to set up and run gClassFolders:

How to send out documents using Doctopus:

*Note (9/3/13):  It looks like you can now create folders in your gClassFolder Teacher folder and they will show up in Doctopus when choosing folders for templates.  When I created this video, that was not an option.)  

This seems like it is a really complicated process, but you only need to set up gClassFolders once - at the beginning of the year.  If students enter or leave your class, you can update your gClassFolder roster and run the script again.  

From that one original roster, you can then run three other scripts; Doctopus (for sending out documents and running the goobric (rubric) script), Autocrat (a mail merge script), and pageMeister (a script that creates a page for each student on a class website).  

The first time I did this, it took less than a half an hour.  Once you get the hang of this, it will be a snap each time you assign students a google document or presentation.  

Pictures of Documents, Folders, etc. After Using the Scripts:

Sites with more script information:

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