Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

CollabEssay: Why Open 30 Docs When You Can Open One?

CollabEssay: Why Open 30 Docs When You Can Open One?

collabEssay open one document

Open Fewer Documents

One of the most effective things we can do to improve student writing is to give students feedback WHILE they are writing rather than after they submit their writing. Feedback given during the process is formative. No matter what way you cut it, the learning students receive from your feedback AFTER they are done is less. The worst is when we give feedback and they never read it at all, we wasted our time. The problem is the challenge of opening multiple Google Docs individually to provide feedback; it’s slow.

CollabEssay Template



Use Google Slides

I am a huge fan of collaborative Google Slides. All students on one Google Slides. I’d rather open ONE rather than 30. G Suite just updated Google Slides to allow for better commenting. This makes Google Slides viable as a platform for writing short papers. The template is 8.5 by 11. Each student joins the SAME Google Slides. They add a slide and put their name in the speaker notes. The template allows for a paper title and to write a one page paper.

All on the SAME Google Slides.

Grid of student docs in the same Google Slides

Control Alt M

While students are writing their papers in Google Slides you can insert feedback comments. Control Alt M inserts a comment. Control Enter saves your comment. (Mac users it is Command Option M and Command Enter).
Control Alt M

Commenting in Google Slides is now like a Google Doc

Can Students See Each Others’ Papers?

Yes. They are all writing their paper on their own slide, but within the SAME Google Slides. Design the assignment to take ADVANTAGE of students being able to see each other’s papers.

Peer Evaluation

When students are writing their paper in the same document (Google Slides) peer feedback is a snap. Students can simply go to another slide and insert feedback comments. No document sharing required.

Send Papers to Google Docs

The writing and feedback process can be facilitated by having all students utilize the same one Google Slides. However, the papers are possibly still preferable to be in individual Google Docs.
Google Slides to Google Docs

Google Doc It Menu

Once students have written, received feedback, and revised their paper they can send their work to a Google text document. Use the “Google Doc It” menu in the template. While on any particular slide choose “Make Google Doc” and the text on that one slide will be sent to a new Google Doc.
Google Doc It Menu

Make Docs – A Pile of Google Docs

Choosing “Make Docs” creates an individual Google text document for each slide. All students papers are instantly in their own Google Doc. A link to each of the Google Docs is placed into a spreadsheet.
Google Slides to Google Docs and listed in Google Sheets.

The Google Docs are created in Google Drive, however to easily access the list of Google Docs created, the links to the documents are easily accessible in the spreadsheet.
Link to the Google Docs in the spreadsheet

Authorizing the Script

None of my Add-ons or Chrome extensions collect any data. When asked to authorize the script you may encounter a screen telling you the app isn’t verified. No one at Google has reviewed my code and they are letting you know they have not reviewed it. When authorizing a script you should make sure that you trust the person who coded it. I coded this myself.

Click on Advanced

Find the small print of “Advanced” and this will expand out a further warning that Google has not reviewed my code. Click on the link that says “(unsafe).” It is safe. Again, I coded this myself. You can review the code by using the Tools menu and choosing “Script editor.” When asked to allow permissions for your Google Apps you are NOT giving me any permissions; you are giving yourself permissions to your own Google Drive and apps.
Click Advanced to Authorize

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