Google G-Suite Promotes Student Online Collaboration

Google G Suite

How can we replicate student engagement and collaborative learning when we shift from a face-to-face to a virtual classroom? The Google G-Suite is a great tool for allowing students to collaborate synchronously or asynchronously in a variety of multimedia platforms. Using G-Suite tools, instructors can foster collaborative and critical thinking while coaching students on providing and accepting constructive feedback, developing a respectful online presence, and being productive team members.

Incorporating G-Suite Tools

The Google G-Suite includes an array of tools that can support any of your project-based and collaborative learning needs.

Looking for a way to engage students in original research?
Students can work together to develop and distribute a digital survey using Google Forms, analyze their data using Google Sheets, and present their findings using Google Slides—all while communicating in real time with chat or comments.

Eager to incorporate a collaborative paper into your curriculum?
Google Docs provides a medium where students can simultaneously work on a group paper in a shared document while offering and implementing peer feedback. They can negotiate objectives, tasks, and resources directly within the application.

You can adapt G-Suite applications to a multitude of instructional needs, even simulate teamwork as practiced within a traditional academic setting in an online environment.


Online Student Collaboration

Teach 21st Century Skills with G-Suite Tools

The “Version History” and “Comments” features in G-Suite allow instructors to review each stage of the assignment, identify how each member contributed, and observe how the group worked together to create the final product. This is a great opportunity for instructors to assess and coach students on building a respectful, digital presence, and being a positive team member.

You may consider including guidelines on collaboration in the evaluation criteria for each of your assignments. Like a discussion forum, you can include guidelines for frequency of participation and the types of conversations students should have throughout development. You may also include points for students who review, provide, and/or implement meaningful peer feedback. This reinforces the importance of being engaged, communicative, and teachable in an increasingly diverse and changing workforce.

G-Suite Takeaways

The Google G-Suite is a simple, user-friendly toolkit that has the potential to break down the silos of distance learning, create meaningful student interaction, and develop positive collaboration skills in our learners. Considering FIU emails are powered by Gmail, no additional credentials are needed to access these tools. You can integrate G-Suite tools into your course by using the “Collaboration” or “Google Drive” features in Canvas. They can also function independently as hyperlinks on course pages and assignments.

As an added bonus, assignments completed using G-suite are graded easily and efficiently with Speedgrader when students add a shareable hyperlink to their submissions. Ask your instructional designer for more information about incorporating G-Suite tools into your class!

Catherine Macek was an Instructional Designer at FIU Online, Florida International University's online learning unit. She loves working with faculty to incorporate activities where students are meaningfully engaged and working collaboratively in an online environment.

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