Schoology Google Drive Assignments and improved student-instructor interactivity

The use of the Google Drive Assignments app in Schoology Enterprise provides a far more interactive student-instructor experience to assignments. Although the following example is from Google Sheets being used in a statistics class, this same capability is available in Google Docs and Google Slides.

Using the Google Drive Assignments app allows the instructor to make comments directly in the submitted document.

In this instance the comment reflects the use of an incorrect formula. When a student either responds to a comment or clicks on "Resolve" to indicate the the comment has been acted upon, the instructor immediately receives a note in their Updates section of Gmail.

This also provides a silent notification on an Android smartphone. Updates do not cause the phone to "chime" as would mail arriving in the inbox. In this regard the Google ecosystem is intelligently designed.

With the Google Sheets app preloaded on the smartphone, selecting the notification permits the instructor to view the correction made and, if need be, re-open the comment.

If the student has then resubmitted the assignment, then the notification also appears in Schoology.

This comment and comment resolution system applies to all Google office suite formats. One advantage is that commonly made mistakes can be kept in a separate document and copied and pasted in as comments. The above formula error was made by more than one student, the instructor typed the comment once in a Google Doc and then pasted the correction in as a comment as needed.

That the comment is attached directly to the location in the document where the error occurred is another benefit of this approach. In the past, using Schoology Basic, comments were more easily pasted into the comments box on the right side of the document, and were not located where the error occurred. There was no tracking system of resolution or notification of resolution, thus if the student posted a question in reply to the comment inside the document container in Schoology Basic assignments, there was no notification to the instructor. Only replies to the right side container generated a notification. Responding to comments using the Schoology assignment container is not practical on most mobile devices. The use of Google Drive Assignments brings response capability to mobile platforms.

The use of the Google Drive Assignments app in Schoology Enterprise provides rapid feedback for the student and potentially quicker responses from the instructor. Research has shown the importance of timely feedback. As noted in Edutopia, "Feedback should be within 24-48 hours. This idea seems overwhelming for a teacher who sees 150-200 students in a day. But if students wait too long for feedback, they risk losing the context for the valued learning of the work. Strive to attain this response time as a goal, not a policy." (Edutopia, January 27, 2016).  Writing intensive classes are intentionally small to provide the instructor with the opportunity for timely feedback. Google Drive Assignments can provide the mechanism to support timely feedback, improve learning, and student success, while - in the experience of this instructor - keeping the workload manageable and far more efficient in the use of time than working with hard copies and a marking pen.


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