Help me monitor students as they write in my online writing class
September 30, 2011 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Help me monitor students as they write in my online writing class

I'm teaching an online writing class tonight. I want to watch as individuals (who I may or may not have e-mail addresses for) work on individual documents. What are some options that are easy on the writers and free to me?

I set up a public "collection" in Google docs and created a couple of documents there. But when I access the collection via it's public link, I can't edit any of the documents. I confirmed that the documents to have public share settings, and I can access them through their own links.

I am teaching Kim and Jeff. Kim is able to easily access and edit a document intended for her. Jeff is able to easily access and edit a document intended for him. I can access and edit both. It's ok if Kim accesses Jeff's document and vice versa.
posted by jander03 to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Capital letters and bold... wow, sorry about that
posted by jander03 at 8:07 AM on September 30, 2011

Sound like wiki might be your friend here.

A search for "free online personal wiki" turns up wikispaces.

I know precisely nothing about them but they seem to offer free accounts. You could set one up, create two (or however many) pages, one for Kim, one for Jeff and you're off to the races. Not sure how easy/hard it is to add other authors but collaborative writing is what wikis were made for.
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 8:10 AM on September 30, 2011

MoodEdit might work for you.

It's also possible that you need to dig deeper into the Google Docs collaborative functionality, according to this article from last year it appears to do what you need it to do. Google recently changed how sharing works, so maybe that's the issue you're encountering.
posted by Kimberly at 8:11 AM on September 30, 2011

Sounds like an opportunity for Google Wave...

Seriously, though, how about Simplenote. It's not a fancy text editor or anything, but you could have each student create an account. Once their account is created, they create a note for their writing practice. They tag the note with your email address and you've got read/write access to it. Free.
posted by jeffch at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2011

This should totally work with Google Docs - I think it would be more exciting than a Wiki because you could see the changes as they are happening. Make it "Public on the Web" and then for access, say Anyone Can Edit. I think the second part might be what you're missing.
posted by beyond_pink at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

So the actual Google problem is that I was hooping to set up a public collection with all these piblic documents sitting in them. Students would access the link to the collection, click the document for them, and get to work.

But if students attempt to access the documents through the collection they can't edit. If they access the document directly (through the public link) everything works as expected.

So I just went ahead and collected the link for each document, and I'll share that, and access their work through the collection when I'm logged in.

I was hoping I was missing something in the more intuitive version of this, but I guess not...

Anyway thanks for the help! The actual Google doc does have the functionality I'm looking for.
posted by jander03 at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2011

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