Wednesday, October 24, 2012

gClass Folders - Automated Sharing

Google Docs are great, but one of the biggest headaches is the mess that can easily be created when students start sharing files with you.  Quickly your Drive folder can become so disorganized you can only find items by searching for them with keywords.  One method many of us use to remedy this problem is to create folders for groups or individual students where students can drop their work.  However, setting up these folder can be very tedious.

Last night I had the opportunity to check out an EducationOnAir session from Bjorn Behrendt, an education technology coordinator in Vermont.  Bjorn has developed a quick and easy process to create folders in Google Drive for all of his students from one spreadsheet in just a few minutes.  His method, which he calls gClassFolders results in three types of folders being created:
  • Class View - Files that are view able by everyone in the class, but students cannot edit (ex: syllabus, project descriptions, rubrics).
  • Class Edit - Files that are editable by everyone in the class (ex: group projects, collective notes, brainstorming pages).
  • Student Dropbox - A folder that is shared only between you and an individual student.  This can be used as a place for students to turn in assignments.   
I tested it out this morning and the process works brilliantly! Creating your own collection of gClassFolders is simple.  Bjorn has directions on his site, but here is a more detailed set.
  1. Create a new spreadsheet using this template.
  2. Add all of you student and class information (or copy and paste it from a PowerSchool report).  You can ignore the Teacher column.
  3. Click on gClassFolders in the menu bar just to the right of Help
  4. Choose Step3-Create Folder and Shares.  (You can ignore Step1 and Step2 is only necessary if your students are not in alphabetical order by last name.)
  5. The gClassFolders script will run and during the process a red box will appear on your screen.  Click Ok.
  6. Once the box has disappeared run the script again, your folders will be created, and you will see a collection similar to the ones in the picture above in your Google Drive.
Now you might be wondering, what about new students?  After you run gClassFolders you will need to add new students manually.  However, periodically creating folders for or two new students and adding them to the Class Edit and View folders just takes a minutes.  

This link will take you to Bjorn's EducationOnAir session if you would like to check it out yourself.  Let me know if you have any questions.