Google Apps @ ECC

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Google Groups

Google Groups is all about helping your students connect, access information, and communicate effectively over email and on the web. As part of today's demonstration I would like to give an overview of ECC's transition to Google Apps (Google Groups is a part of this), with the intention of helping you better understand the process of getting you and your students more involved in the teaching and learning process.

Here's a video overview of Google Apps . . .



Here's a video related to ECC's transition to Google Apple . . .



Here's a video introduction to Google Groups, and this is the central part of today's presentation . . .



Now let's look at how I am using Google Groups in my MTH 122 (Calculus II) class. Basically it's a centralized clearing house for all information related to this class. It has members, but I also let non-members in; I post course related documents; I post institutional related documents; I post course related videos; I provide links to external sites related to the course; and I update students with one-click of a button about changes to the Groups' page. Basically the Groups acts as a knowledge base for this course---it captures the content and information for this course and becomes archived and available to all. Groups don't have to be massive repositories of information, and can be as simple as a class discussion about a particular topic. For example, you might want to start a group about a particular book or author, and then create discussion threads and encourage your students to participate (giving credit alsways helps).

Here's how to start using Google Groups.
  • Sign up for or log into your Google account.
  • Go to the Google Groups page and click on Create a Group. Your group can be on any topic/course.
  • Invite people to become members of the group. This can be a simple as using Web Services to email all your students the Groups' URL (http://groups.google.com/group/mth-122-fall-2009). Each member can decide whether to get group posts by email or strictly by reading the discussion online. Only people who are members of the group can join in the topic discussions. However other people may be able to read what is posted there, although they cannot participate in the discussion. When you set up the group, you decide whether anyone can read it, or only members can read it. Options galore, but don't fret the details at first.