I use Google Docs for most of my needs as a teacher: notetaking, lesson plans, worksheets, blogging, etc. However, so far I have used desktop software when it comes to one of my most frequent tasks: marking homework. Most students still use desktop software to write their homework and send it to my via email. With the recently added feature “Edit with Google Docs” it has become fun to edit the files in Google Drive.
Even though it has been possible to edit Word documents for a while now in Google Drive, this was a bit cumbersome as the file had to be saved to Drive, located in drive and then converted to a Google Document. The new feature does it all in one click, which has made Google Docs a better workflow option than downloading the file, launching a desktop application and then uploading again as an attachment.
Instead of using Word’s “track changes” feature you use “suggested edits” in Google Docs to mark the homework. There are then two options to send it back to your student: either via sharing, or emailing it as an attachment. As only few of my students use Google Drive I prefer the latter option. The default option for the attachment format is “PDF”, which is not useful in this case as the suggested edits are not shown. Changing it to “Microsoft Word” sends it back in the same format the students have sent it to me, plus all suggested edits look exactly like they would have been done using “track changes” in Word.
I find this workflow faster and more convenient than using Word. You can save time as you don’t have to wait for Word to launch and for the file to be uploaded again. And this can make a big difference when you have to edit some 20-30 documents.