Three Ways to Use Google Drive for Student Assignments

Last week I posted about the basics of how I would use Google Drive to collect and comment on student assignments.  I discovered that using Google Drive would help streamline my grading process.  Exploring its capabilities, however, made me realize its potential for different types of student assignments. Below are three ideas for assignments that emphasize collaboration and dialogue and capitalize on Google Drive’s abilities.

Assignment Revisions

I usually allow students to revise their papers in my courses for an improvement in their grade. If I did comments on student work with Google Drive, I could ask that as part of the revision process, students reply to those comments.  Having students respond and “resolve” the comments would help them think through the comments on their writing, and make the revision process more of a dialogue between you and your students.

Collaborative Writing

Using Google Drive could also allow for collaborative writing projects.  The way that most students do these kinds of assignments now is to either meet in person and have one person type, or to split up writing duties and each student does a chunk of writing and then email it to each other.  Using Google Drive, which allows for simultaneous editing of documents, could make for a more flexible system.  While assignments completed by dividing up the sections of the paper for each group member to work on often result in a poorly flowing paper, and one where individual group members do not understand all sections of the paper, students using Google Drive could work on sections simultaneously.  All students could also comment on portions of text, asking questions and participating much more in a “live” collaborative document.

Peer Critiques

Google Drive would also make it easier for students to share their work in small groups, and to comment on each other’s assignments.  Multiple students could comment on the same copy of a paper, and have a discussion online about various students’ writing.  One could also use this type of commenting dialogue for an assignment requiring students to dissect example papers for rather than just for each other’s papers.

Since all W&M students have Google Drive through WMApps, it would be easy to have students use this tool for assignments.  Creating new spaces for dialogues about student writing could be helpful in many disciplines, since writing and forming arguments are skills that are invaluable regardless of whether or not one is in a class specific towards writing.

I hope these assignment ideas help you imagine how a particular tool can improve student learning.  If you have other suggestions for Google Drive, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

If you’re interested in reading more about how you might use Google Drive, you may want to take a look at these posts: Collecting Student Assignments with Google DriveFrom Word to Dropbox and Back Again — Sharing Comments on Text Documents, WMApps: What’s That?, and Collaborating on a Conference Panel with Google Drive.

About Kim Mann

Kim Mann is the editor and a writer for the Academic Technology Blog. She earned her BA in English from the University of Minnesota in 2003 and her MA in American Studies from William & Mary in 2009, and her PhD in American Studies at the College in 2014. Her research is on technology, the interface, and the body in mid-twentieth century science fiction.