Dee begins by explaining that this session is going to be about the workarounds possible with Google Drive.

Paperless Assignment Distribution & Collection

Dee prefaces her talk by explaining why these workarounds are important and why she chose to go down this path with Doctopus.

  1. The world is going paperless both in terms of students handing in work and getting digital feedback.
  2. Google doesn’t always play nice with iPads
  3. She tried a lot of things already. File>Make a Copy works on a computer but not on iPad. There was also the challenge of students not turning assignments in correctly both in terms of the file name as well as sharing.

The solution that Dee has made work is Doctopus – caveat, you have to use a computer for this to work. To begin explaining it, Dee asked everyone to fill in a quick Google Form.

Doctopus is a script add-on to a Google spreadsheet. By having us fill in the form, we generated a database for her with our names and Google email account addresses. So that we can all see how it works, Dee created a document about her presentation that she would like to share to all of us. There are two options for how she can get this to us. First, she could share it with all of us. Next, she can use Doctopus to share.

Once the initial spreadsheet is all set up, she shows that you go to Insert>Script and the choose the Doctopus script. Once that is completed, Doctopus has been installed on the Google Spreadsheet. IMPORTANT – Dee warns us to make sure we have an organizational structure in place.

When running the script, the first thing that it asks is sharing type – groups, individual, or whole class. From there, she shows how you can set the access level. After setting up the sharing settings, it asks to choose the actual assignment from a Google Drive folder. It’s because of this that organization becomes important.

“Doctopus is great for control freaks.” Dee says, as you can control every aspect of the process. When a file is shared from Doctopus, they all end up in one place and are named exactly what you want. A participant asked about the difference between Doctopus and Harpara (or another LMS). What makes this script great is that it makes the teachers’ life easy for assignment distribution and collection.

After running the script, it’s possible to assess all of the student’s work in one place. You can also run an embargo when you want to collect assignments from students. This way, you can provide feedback without them working on it.

While the script was running, Dee spoke about her love-hate relationship with Goobric. Even after sharing the document, it’s possible to attach a rubric to an assignment pushed out with Doctopus. Goobric is a Chrome Extension that allows her to attach a rubric to any assignment – providing useful feedback to students.

Paperless Feedback

To provide final feedback to her students, Dee uses iAnnotate. First, she converts all of the documents to PDF so that she can provide feedback on her iPad. Through the iAnnotate app, it’s possible to connect directly to Drive, Dropbox, or a few other cloud storage options. Once she opens up the folder, the files are downloaded so that she can provide feedback regardless of the network.

What makes iAnnotate different from any other PDF annotation tool is the ability to create custom stamps. If she is going to provide the same type of feedback over and over, she can turn that feedback into stamps. A quick double-tap and she can add feedback directly into the document. To make life easier, she color codes her feedback as well (e.g. formatting is blue, grammar is green, etc).

With the push of a button, she can put her feedback doc back in Google Drive. Once it’s there, she can put it back in the student folder. Dee uses this system for a final round as it creates a flattened PDF that the students cannot edit. These final versions then go in a portfolio.

It is possible to leave audio feedback with iAnnotate, but then it needs to either be shared back as an iAnnotate file, or it needs to be shared via Dropbox.

Using these tools together provides an amazing solution for document distribution, collection, and assessment.