Google Docs allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating with other users in real time. Edits are tracked by the user making the edit, with a revision history that keeps track of all changes that are made. An editor’s position is highlighted with an editor-specific color and cursor, and a permissions system regulates what users can do.

What You Can Do With Docs

An Overview by Google

Collaborate on Work Synchronously

Both faculty and students can utilize Google Docs to engage in collaborative work, whether synchronously or asynchronously. Through synchronous collaboration, instructors may have students participate in live discussions and edit shared documents in real-time. This approach supports instant feedback and encourages collaborative brainstorming. 

Google Docs for Asynchronous Communication

In addition to synchronous collaboration, Google Docs provides a platform for asynchronous communication. Faculty and students can contribute to shared documents at their own pace, allowing for flexibility in work schedules and accommodating different time zones. To stay up-to-date on changes made within a document, the comment feature can be utilized amongst collaborators.

Adjusting Notification Settings on Google Docs

  1. Open the document on your computer.
  2. Navigate to Tools and select Notification settings
    OR Click “Open Comment History (speech bubble icon)” in the top right corner, then select “Notification Settings (the bell icon)”.
  3. In the “Comments” section, specify your notification preferences:
    1. All comments: Receive notifications for all new comments.
    2. Comments for you: Get notified about @mentions and threads involving you.
    3. None: Opt out of email notifications for comments on that file.

Learning Activities for Google Docs

A few examples of how instructors might choose to use Google Docs include…

  • Peer Review and Editing Workshops
    • Google Docs’ commenting and suggesting features make it ideal for facilitating peer review sessions. Faculty can assign students to review and provide feedback on each other’s work, fostering a collaborative learning environment and improving overall writing and analytical skills.
  • Shared Lecture Notes and Resources
    • Google Docs enables faculty to share lecture notes, slides, and supplementary materials with students in a centralized location. This facilitates easy access to resources, encourages collaborative note-taking, and ensures that information is consistently updated.
  • Collaborative Research Proposal Development
    • Google Docs can be used for collaborative research proposal writing among faculty members. Multiple contributors can work on a proposal simultaneously, ensuring a cohesive and well-constructed document that represents various perspectives and expertise.
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