Today's latte, Google Drive.

Today’s latte, Google Drive. By Yuko Honda (CC-By-SA)

I recently ran a class (in our excellent [Arguments, Evidence, and Intuition]1 undergrad subject) on finding and manipulating data. As part of that I wanted to: 1. Demo some sheets functions to import data ([importhtml]2, etc.) and show some shared data 2. Have each individual student get access to their own copy 3. Retain access to the files myself so I can (a) help students as they go, (b) get insight into the activity and potentially informally assess it, and (c) use a pre-formatted sheet to get feedback on the session By sharing a google sheets URL with ‘copy’ in it you can force users to [create their own copy of a shared sheet]3. That option meets needs ‘1’ and ‘2’ above, but it doesn’t meet need ‘3’. Happily, there’s a google drive addon called [doctopus]4 that does just that, and more! Using doctopus you can share a file with a classlist per ‘3’, plus share feedback with them on their work (using a rubric if you want), and view basic metrics like who is editing, who’s adding and replying to comments, etc.  You can also create documents shared with pre-assigned groups (so each group has their own copy), or with the whole class, and you can give different documents to different groups or individuals (to differentiate, or just give a diversity of tasks). It’s brilliant, with pretty minimal setup you can run activities making use of g’docs, and if (like UTS) your institution has google apps, the login/sharing address is just the institutional UTS one. One of the features I like – but wish could be easily extended – is the dashboard view of student activity. This lets the instructor(s) know which students have accessed the documents when, how many edits they’ve each made, and whether they’re adding/responding to comments (implying some degree of collaboration, and giving an indication of where there might be comments that need resolving). I’ve written before about [collaboration/cooperation data in google docs/etherpad]5 type systems, but doctopus provides a good start.