A while back I outlined 10 reasons to have students submit papers using Google Docs. Now that I’ve used Google Docs for two terms, I have some tips and suggestions to make using Google Docs easier on you and, generally, more awesome.

Problem: The main document browser seems rather chaotic. You need a nice, neat way to sort through all of your student paper submissions. You may, for example, want to look at just the first paper assignment from your introduction to philosophy class.

Solution: Saved searches.

  1. Have your students fill out a header like you would for an old-school paper submission. Here’s what I have them do.
    First Name, Last Name
    PHIL 115
    First Paper
    Spring 2010
  2. Create a “Saved Search” in Google Documents.
    Next to the search box there is a little blue hyper-link that says “Show Search Options.” Click that.
  3. Type in “PHIL 115 and First Paper and Spring 2010” in the keyword box.
  4. Name and Save your search.
    Your saved search should show up like a label in the left hand navigation bar. Click on it and it will bring up all the papers from the students who submitted them correctly.

You may be wondering…What about students who forget to give me the header?

Do whatever you would for a student who forgets to turn in a paper without a name on it. Some professors take off points. Some professors simply put that paper at the bottom of the pile as a low priority.

Once you’ve graded all of the papers, if you notice that there are students that you don’t have grades for – let students know that if they didn’t do the header correctly their paper wasn’t graded and that they need to go back and enter in a header before you will grade their paper.

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