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Some Frustrations With Google Docs

Written by Kristi Bancroft
March 26, 2011

A friend was visiting while I was grading the irony in short stories paragraphs. I felt like I kept writing the same comments over and over, like “Always name your assignment so it so doesn’t show up as ‘Untitled’”, and “Titles of short stories are in quotations as opposed to titles of books that are underlined or italicized.” I was grumbling, “I wish this program had canned comments so that I could just click on the comment and it would be inserted instead of writing the same thing over and over. He suggested that I create a Google Doc with common comments and to star it so that I could find it easily when grading assignments. This was really helpful and saved time – plus, I can add to the list of canned comments at any time, as needed. Still, my friend commented that Google could probably put a feature in for inserting canned comments like the following.

  • Always name your document by choosing “File” and then “Rename” so that I will know which assignment you are submitting.
  • Please put a heading on every document with your name, date and class period.

  • Short story titles are in quotations “The Sniper”, as opposed to book titles which are underlined or italicized.
  • Be sure to pay attention to and correct underlined words. This indicates a misspelling which you should correct before sharing a document.
  • Be sure that “Show spelling suggestions” is checked under the “View” menu. Edit and revise any spelling errors before sharing a document for a grade.

  • A definite conclusion is always an important part of any piece of writing.
  • Incomplete until revised and shared again.

It would also be helpful if there was a way to comment on presentations so that students will get that feedback as they do with documents. I tried commenting on individual slides in their slide shows by using the Speaker Notes feature, but unless students open the notes on individual slides, they won’t see my comments. One option is to share the presentation back to the creator(s) and send an attached message with my comments. Another option is to print out the scoring rubric for presentations, requiring the use of paper, which defeats my purpose for using Google Docs.

What is not going so well is getting students to go back into documents and revise them based on my suggestions. I am going to have to do a demonstration on that and will need to encourage them to make revisions ASAP when they see that I have commented and made suggestions or see that an assignment remains “Incomplete” in their portal and has a comment, “Needs revision for a grade”.

Still, I am so pleased to not be carrying tons of paperwork home on a regular basis that the pros of using Google Docs far outweigh the cons! I also like the search feature where I can search a student’s name or the title of an assignment and everything written by that student pops up, or every assignment with that title is all in one place to either file or correct. And ungraded assignments remain unfiled until I grade and file them, which is another nice feature.