Thursday, September 2, 2010

My REAL Experience: Training 90 Undergraduate Students How to Use Google Docs!


Good morning! Yesterday was the SECOND day of classes (MWF) and I trained over 90 students to use Google Documents. A colleague and I received a "Real-Word Experiences Applied to Learning" institution grant for our upper-level communication courses and our learning outcomes include collaborative research for undergraduate students. The students will conduct research on diversity and communication to write a paper and to present the results at the Tarleton State University - Communication Studies Department's "Diversity and Communication - Research Symposium" (which will also include papers and panels from faculty and staff)! 

Not surprisingly (if you know me), we decided to use Google Documents for each of the student research groups. At the beginning of the workshop, the training was chaotic. Some students have a Google Documents account and other students do not have an account. This means that I had to help the students create an account for Google Documents. Many of the students actually used their university e-mail to create their Google account.

Before class, I created fifteen research documents (one document per group) and I added each of the students to the research groups at the end of the class period.

Then, I exposed the students to several "neat" aspects of the new Google Documents software. Here are items the students really liked:

a. Each of you can type on the document simultaneously! In fact, you can see each other's comments by their colored cursor.

b. You can CHAT with your group members while you type your sections of the document.

c. You can double-check the document to verify that your group members edited the document at a certain time.

d. If you EVER need to view a prior version of the document, you can! In fact, you can revert to a prior version.

e. You can send e-mail to your group members through the document!

f. The new version has MARGINS and COMMENTS you can create in the side bar (instead of comments directly on the document).

g. The document saves your data AUTOMATICALLY!

Overall, the students were REALLY impressed with this cloud computing software and I cannot wait to see them edit their document! :)

One unrelated comment - My training sessions were in the morning and my colleague's class (and training sessions) was held in the afternoon. So, I stood up for almost four hours! :) If you conduct a similar training, please make sure you wear comfortable shoes!

Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.

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