Google Docs (now Google Drive) is great. But if you’re a teacher, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of documents you receive from students. So much clutter!
Here are three tips to help you.
1. Do not have students share individual documents with you.
They will forget. Even if they remember, it’s not an elegant solution. See Tip #2.
2. Instead, set up shared folders.
When students drag their document into a shared folder that you have set up, two things happen at once: (1) You get the document, (2) The document is automatically organized.
There are three logical ways to create shared folders. They are (1) by student, (2) by assignment, (3) by class. Each option has its pluses and minuses.
If you choose to create folders by student (which I did last year and which was very successful), you’ll have many folders, but you’ll be able to see your student’s entire portfolio at a glance. This also keeps things private.
On the other hand, if you create folders by assignment, it’ll be easier to grade your essays, but you’ll have to create new folders all the time.
Most teachers create a folder for each class. This keeps everything tidy but allows students to view (and modify!) their peers’ work. Some teachers find the openness helpful because students can assist each other.
3. Insist on a common way for students to title their documents.
If you don’t tell students to title their documents, you’ll receive tons of documents titled “Untitled.” Best practice is to find an easy way for students to identify their name, class, and assignment.
Some teachers have crazy naming conventions, which usually involve underscores, first initials, and confusing spacing. Here’s mine:
Period Number Last Name, First Name: Assignment
2 Isero, Mark: Persuasive Essay
The period number comes in handy because Google Docs will group all documents with the same number up front. Then, having a student’s last name come first keeps documents alphabetized and easy for grading purposes. Finally, I prefer a generic assignment name (rather than the student’s original title) so I can search for essays later in case they get lost.
So there you have it — three tips to organize your students’ Google Docs. Please let me know if you have a better system or if you have questions.