Almost everyone uses Google as their main search engine to browse the internet. Also, most people have a Gmail account. As instructional designers, are you taking full advantage of your Gmail account? A long time ago it was used as just an email address to use as webmail. As you know, Google has come a long way since then, and your Gmail account has advanced to Google Suite (G-Suite) that has a wealth of free apps.
If your educational institution already adapted Google Suite across the university, that’s great. That way all of the workers can collaborate within this amazing platform. Even if your institution has not adapted G Suite for Education, you can still use their various apps to for course design process as long as you have a Gmail address. At eVersity, we use Google Suite for everything. Every employee has a Google work email address. We use this Gmail address as our primary work email address. Once we sign in with that email address, we have access to the entire G-Suite apps. We use Google Calendar to schedule meetings and reserve meeting spaces and even check out our shared resources, such as the digital camera.
We use a YouTube account as a free web space to upload and share videos. In addition to the YouTube videos that are used in course content areas, we have a course introduction video and weekly introduction videos for every course. Thus, we record and upload these videos to our YouTube account and embed them in our courses. That way we don’t have to purchase services like Kaltura.
We use Google Hangouts to communicate with our faculty members. Google Hangouts is a free app where you can make voice calls or video calls. Sometimes we even use it for conference calls where we discuss course developments that involve multiple faculty members. Google has taken Hangouts to the next level in their Google Meet app.
Besides Gmail and Google Calendar, our favorite Google app is Google Drive. We depend on Google Drive to collaborate with our faculty members and coworkers here at eVersity. When we start our course design process, the first thing we do is create a Google Drive folder for that particular course and share it with the faculty members. In this Google Drive folder, there are six folders for each week (we have six-week courses at eVersity). All the course materials for week one will be uploaded to the week one folder. These materials include, but are not limited to, articles, course content, assignments, graphics, video clips, audio clips, etc. That way the faculty member and the instructional designer can access all the course material whenever they need. This way all the course materials for all of our courses are properly labeled and stored in our shared Google Drive so that we can find any course material even after course development has been completed.
As most of you already know, Google Drive mainly consists of three apps. They are Google Docs (Word Processing App), Google Sheets (Spreadsheet App), and Google Slides (Presentation App). In addition to these apps, there are several more apps, such as Google Forms, Google Drawings, and Google Sites. Some institutions might have access to even more apps.
We use Google Drive and its apps to their full potential, especially Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Thus, it’s important to understand all the features of these apps so that you can use them to enhance your courses. In a future post, I will further discuss Google Drive and its apps in more detail.
These are only very few examples how G Suite helps our day-to-day activities at eVersity. Please share how you use Google apps at your institution.