ASSESSMENT TOOLBOX

UW Stout EDU 762-930 Feb. 2010

Carolyn Jenkins

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Google Logo & Link


Google Docs - Introduced
Google Docs is rate number 5 in the list of 100 Tools for Learning 2009. Google Docs in an on-line office suite. According to Google Docs website, basic word, powerpoint, or spreadsheet documents can be created on-line from scratch or by using templates. Existing files can be uploaded from a computer and Google Docs accepts most file formats. Editing documents created in Google Docs is similar to editing in Microsoft documents. Creators of documents give permission for others to view or collaborate in documentation. When collaborators are editing documents in real time, there is an on-screen chat window for communicating. Google Docs provides safe storage and organization for users. Documents can be published as a web page for anyone to view or viewers can be limited to those given permissions. Documents in Google Docs can also be posted to blogs.


Google Docs - Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats
A major strength of Google Docs is that it is a free on-line resource for creating and sharing your work. Files can be uploaded and downloaded from your Google Docs list quickly from anywhere as long as you have access to the internet. The creator determines who has access to the files for viewing or collaborative editing. Collaborative documents can be changed asynchronously or in real time using shared files. The files are secured on-line. According to the Google Docs web site, there is constant work on improvements and some new features include:
  • Language translation of documents
  • Language dictionary for word translation
  • Google Forms templates
  • Equation editor for mathematics
  • E-mail documents as attachments
Many other new features and improvement projects are available for review at Google Docs website. I used Google Docs for the first time to collaborate with another student for a midterm project. I was able to upload word documents into Google Docs, choose a template, and copy and paste into the template. I had no difficulty updating and reviewing changes made by others. I was able to post a link to the document on my blog. It was fairly straightforward and there are many tutorials available explaining the steps involved in using Google Docs.

Some weaknesses were described in several reviews listed in the references. One weakness described in several reviews is lost animation and format changes when uploading documents created in other programs. A financial modeling specialist described their experience using the Google Docs spreadsheet. This reviewer judged Google Docs spreadsheet as slower to work in compared with Excel; but valued using Google Docs spreadsheet due to its capabilities in being worked on simultaneously and collaboratively. An educator reviewed their experience using Google Docs with students to share presentations in real time with chat. In order to accomplish this, the documents need to be published to the web. This could be considered a weakness having anyone (non-students) be able to access to the presentation and chat discussion during a class

Google Docs has already experience a major threat in March 2009. Google docs suffered a security breach. Documents were shared on the web that did not have web access rights due to a “bug” in the system as described in some of the reviews. Google managed this security breach by notifying through e-mail all Google Doc users affected by the security issue. The affected users were given a description of the correction implemented by Google Docs. Individuals and businesses may be fearful of a re-occurrence and decide to use an in-house on-line office suite to avoid potential confidentiality breaches or trade secrets.


Google Docs - Opportunities and Possible Uses:
There are detailed examples of how teachers, businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations use Google Docs in the reader use section of Google docs website. Google Docs staff appears to be using feedback from reviews and their blog to work on improvements. In the education setting, Google Docs provide free access to documents on-line and the ability for students to work collaboratively synchronously or asynchronously. There is a record of collaborators and edits. There is an opportunity to save documents securely on-line in the event of personal computer failure or other catastrophe.


Learning Objective- Google Docs
Blooms Taxonomy: construct - Analysis
Student groups will construct a power point presentation that incorporates their review of the literature and hypotheses about the future of simulation in healthcare education.
A Presentation Rubric will provide students with guidance as they construct a power point presentation using Google Docs for collaboration and the presentation rubric will also be used by the instructor for summative evaluation of the group presentation.


References
Cassinelli, C. ( Nov. 4, 2008). Tech tip Tuesday- Google presentations. Edtech VISION. Retrieved Feb. 23, 2010 from http://edtechvision.org/?p=263
Fiveash, K. (March 9, 2009). Google Docs suffers serious security lapse: Cloudbusting bug shares documents. The Register: Biting the hand that feeds IT. Retrieved Feb. 23, 2010 from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/09/google_docs_serious_security_breach/
Google Docs. http://www.docs.google.com
Hart, J. (Nov. 5, 2009). Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009. Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. Retrieved Feb. 23, 2010 from http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/
Kincaid, J. (March 7, 2009). Google privacy blunder sharing your docs without permission. Tech Crunch. Retrieved Feb. 23, 2010 from http://techcrunch.com/2009/03/07/huge-google-privacy-blunder-shares-your-docs-without-permission/
Miller, D. (July 16, 2009). Review of Google Docs. Sumwise: Join the spreadsheet evolution. Retrieved Feb. 23, 2010 from http://blog.sumwise.com/2009/07/16/review-google-docs/