Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Workflow: Remind Yourself to Schedule Student Reminders


Reminders for both students and teachers are extremely important in distance learning. For teachers, any way we can automate our workflow is welcomed. A big part of that workflow is to remind students of due dates. As flustered as teachers are with the rigors of distance learning, students are in the same boat. A simple way to help students is to schedule reminders for assignments, due dates and more. Sending reminders to students is no easy task, but using Google Workspace tools, formerly GSuite, can automate this process for you.

Below is a series of screenshots that shows you how I use a combination of Google Tasks, Google Classroom and Gmail to automate my workflow for sending reminders to students.

As I assign activities in Google Classroom, I like to remind students of due dates the night before or the morning of. When the assignment due dates are a few days away, I go into Google Tasks (on the side panel of Gmail) and Add a task to remind me to schedule a reminder.  

For the reminder in Tasks, I copy the link from the Google Classroom assignment for which I want to remind students. When the schedule student reminder goes out, they will be able to click this link and be taken right to the assignment in Google Classroom.

In the task, I paste the link in the Task where it says Add details. This is accessed by clicking the "Pencil Edit Button" on the right of the Task. In addition, I click Add date/time to set a time and date to remind me to send the reminder to students. 

When setting date/time, there is a button to make the reminder repeat. The screenshot below shows you how to set it to be daily, weekly or monthly.

When you've set your reminder, repeating or not, what you see below is what it will look like in Google Tasks.

When you open Google Tasks in the side panel, you will see the task and the link to the assignment for which you want to remind students. When you get the alert, copy the link.

With the link copied to your clipboard, head over to the People Tab in Google Classroom. Scroll down to your Students list and click the top checkbox to select all students.

With all students selected, click Actions. In the dropdown menu that appears, select Email.

A new window will open where all students will be entered into the BCC line. This will make it appear to the students as if you sent a personal email to each. Type your subject, a short message and paste the link. If the due date is days away, instead of clicking Send, click the "little arrow" next to Send to Schedule the message/reminder to go out in the near future.

When you click Schedule send, you are able to choose from some preset dates and times or choose your own. 

Any scheduled email reminders in Gmail will appear in the Scheduled label on the left side of Gmail.

For me, these tools have been a lifesaver during distance learning. Now that I have a weekly routine set, I have repeating reminders in Google Tasks for sending or scheduling reminders to students. When I open Gmail in the morning, a fresh list of Tasks awaits me with the links I need to send reminders for my students. Once I send or schedule the reminder, I check it off my list in Tasks. If this is a repeating Task, it will appear the next week or day depending on how I set it to repeat.

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