10 Jun 2010

Google Docs for Summer Research

Lab Experiment

Submitted by Hilary Eppley, DePauw University

I am using Google Docs in my research lab for a variety of purposes, and I thought it might be helpful to share how I am using them. Google docs allows simulataneous editing by multiple people, and everyone needs a Google ID to do that.   My research group and I are using one document to write up research results in paper format, one document to keep track of weekly goals, one document for general instrumentation and experimental technique trouble-shooting, and one to keep track of any work that occurs after hours when I am not around.   

Learning Goals: 

In the process of using Google docs for research, students learn to

  • engage in collaborative writing
  • be accountable for their day to day work
  • set and re-evaluate goals
  • keep good records for future students
Equipment needs: 

Google IDs and computers

Time Required: 
about 30 minutes to train and explain the process
Evaluation Methods: 

I meet with students weekly to discuss what they've accomplished and to set new goals for the coming week, but give feedback day to day on what they are writing.

Evaluation Results: 

Students (without prompting) came up with their own ways of working in this system. One student coded her work by day so it was clear which day she did which tasks. Another coded accomplishments and questions for me in different colors, so the questions stood out. I found I had more productive research conversations using this method because I always knew better what was going on from day to day.

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence



this is a great idea and the templates are very helpful.  I may put some of our instrument instructions in the cloud as I have to relearn from the old and retrain the new every year.  



     For my summer research students, we have been using Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) for storage of spectra.  Each student creates their own account (it's free!!) and their own folders.  This allows me to view spectra even if I'm not on campus.....it has worked well for us this summer. 

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