Managing Collaboration in a GoogleDoc

There are a number of ways of managing collaboration within a Google Doc to help manage the work that your students are producing. Here are some ideas:

  • Insert a table (1 column and multiple rows) assign a cell to each collaborator for their work
  • Colour code sections of the document for different people to use
  • Use a a document template and assign each student to research/complete specific tasks in a section

Through careful management, students will develop good ways of learning and respect each others virtual workspace within the shared document. The best management tool that teachers can use is the revision history. Students can be held accountable to what is written in each space by using the revision history. In addition you may decide to give some of your marking/assessment criteria to

Part of the marking criteria could also go into how students use the virtual workspace – some great opportunities for developing Digital Citizenship!


The revision tool is also an excellent way of allocating time limits to tasks as you can take a snapshot of the document at that particular time. Some teachers are using Google chat to comment documents, this is not ideal as google chat comments are not saved. Use comments to annotate the document instead.

Voice comments are a great way of giving feedback onto collaborative documents. There are a couple of different workflows to achieve this. Vocaroo is a great service for recording audio via a web browser. Go to the site, record your audio and copy the unique URL. The unique URL can then be embedded back into the comment in the Google Doc. Note that Vocaroo only hosts your comment for a couple of months so it is ideal for documents that are fairly short lived.

The voice comments app from the App Store is a great App to connect to your Google Drive. However, the workflow for this is a little more complicated. Basically you need to click on the document within Google Drive, go to more and select Kaizena. This will open your Doc within Kaizena. This is probably a better method of commenting when you want to comment on multiple parts of a document. I.e. when giving feedback on an essay for example.

Managing the collaboration

Remember to manage your notifications on collaborative documents – decide whether you really need to receive emails for all changes. Changing the notifications to Replies to you can save a lot of wading through unwanted emails!

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