Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Feedback Workflow with Google Classroom, Gmail and Google Tasks

Whether we are teaching face to face, hybrid or at a distance, feedback is an essential part of the teaching and learning process. In my experience as an edtech coach, I have heard many complaints about Google Classroom notifications blowing up Gmail inboxes. While it is easy to turn those notifications off, doing so limits your ability to provide prompt feedback to students. 

A phrase that is a regular on my computer clipboard is "Please resubmit for a better grade". Most of my assignments, I provide feedback for them to improve upon their initial submission. Students who revise work and improve it, can achieve full credit on their second or third iteration. Each time I provide feedback, I paste that phrase at the end. I want students to begin to understand that learning is a process.

If you are not accepting late work, I encourage you to accept resubmissions based on teacher feedback. You can turn off the late work notifications, but keep the Google Classroom resubmission and comments email notifications. Doing so will prevent you from always having to dig through the Classwork tab of Google Classroom to find resubmissions and student comments. Each email alert from Google Classroom provides you with a direct link right to the student's resubmission or comment. The easier it is to find and review student resubmissions and work iterations, the better. 

Below, you will find a series of screenshots that show you how to check the Google Classroom email alerts for resubmissions, late work and comments in addition to set reminders for yourself to check them at a later date. All student names were blocked out of respect to student privacy.

In Gmail, when you open an email alert from Google Classroom, it will show you who left the comment, resubmitted work or turned it in late. You will be given in a direct link right back to the assignment in Google Classroom. The example below is that of a student comment.

These days, we are extremely busy. When you are too busy to check student comments or resubmissions right way, use the "Add to tasks" button on the top toolbar of Gmail. If you have multiple things to review, check mark the email notifications you want to check later, on the right side of the message, then click the "Add to tasks" button. This will add each email to Google Tasks as its own task.

When you add one or more resubmission or comments email alerts to Google Tasks, they will appear on a right side panel within Gmail. If you click the Edit button on each task, you are able to set a time reminder for yourself that will also appear on your Google Calendar. When you are ready to review the comment or resubmission, you can click the button on the Task that is a direct link to that email. There is no need to fish through Gmail looking for it.

When you are alerted to check the task, click the email link on the task and you'll be transported back to that email where you will see another link that takes you back to that submission in Google Classroom. After you've addressed the resubmission or comments, click the circle button on the left side of each task to "cross it off". There is something oddly satisfying about crossing off your Tasks. 

Like anything in education, the ideas presented in this blog post are not a magic bullet. They're simply a few ideas that I have seen teachers use and use myself daily. They help me stay on top of the never ending list of things I have to do. 

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