How it Works


For this submission/grading process we will be using Google Docs will act as the primary word processing software, revision mark up, tracking papers and grade notification. For students: writing the paper using Google docs will ease the revision/submission process.

Converting other word processing formats to a Google doc

1. The paper can be typed in:
  • MS Word
  • OpenOffice
  • RTF
  • Google Docs

2. The assignment is uploaded and converted into a Google doc.


Once the file has been converted to a Google doc, the student “shares” the document with the instructor. The instructor will receive an email notification of the paper’s  “submission”.

Sharing a document with instructor/classmate(s)

1. Open the Google document you wish to share.
2. Select the button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

3. A “Share settings” window will open. Type in the person’s first name and last name in the “Add people:” section

4.  You can add as many people as you like. Here, there is also the option to notify the person via email, manage their editing/viewing permissions and more.

Any item shared with another person will show up in their documents. From here they have access to your document. By default, collaborators of a document are notified via email when a document is shared with them.



Comments let you have a conversation about a document without disrupting its contents. Comment threads, called discussions, help you keep track of comments, target your comments at specific people, and respond to and follow comments and document updates from your email inbox.

Inserting Comments

Comments are a handy way of adding notes to your regular document text and are visible to viewers and collaborators. These can be invaluable for communicating with collaborators about specific parts of the document, as well as making notes about changes you've made or would like to make.
To add a comment to your document, follow these instructions:
  1. Place your cursor or highlight the text where you'd like your comment to appear.
  2. From the Insert menu, select Comment.
  3. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+ M (Cmd+Option+M for Mac) to insert a comment.
  4. Type your comment in the box that appears to the right of the document.

Working with Comments

After inserting a comment, there are two main places you can work with it inside the document: within the comment or in the discussions thread, accessible from the Discussions drop-down menu in the top right of your document.

You can reply to a comment with a new post, edit or delete a previous comment you’ve inserted, andresolve the discussion when you’re ready to remove it from the document. Resolving a discussion removes the discussion from the document, but resolved threads will always be available under theDiscussions drop-down menu.

Your profile photo (the picture you use in Gmail or on your Google profile) will be displayed with your comments.

Notifications and engaging with others

Comments are most useful when you leave them for others to review or make changes. You can easily target your comments at particular people, respond to comments from within email, and easily keep track of the comments people leave in your document without having to continuously return to the document.

Adding others to a comment

You can easily add others to a comment by typing '@' followed by a contact’s name or email address into a comment. For example, I would type @johndoe if my contact was Your contacts will auto-populate when you start typing.
Adding someone to a comment will email them a notification containing the comment thread. If that collaborator doesn’t want email notifications, they can always mute or change their notification settings by selecting Mute updates from this comment at the bottom of the email or by selecting Discussion notification settings... from the Discussions drop-down. If you have been added to a comment and aren't receiving email notifications, you may want to check your email spam folder.

Adding someone to a comment will not add them to the sharing settings of the document. If you add someone to a comment who doesn’t have viewing or editing rights to the document, they will not receive a comment notification in their email inbox.

Changing comments notification settings

You can control your discussion notifications. From the Comments drop-down menu, select notification settings... A dialog will open, and you can select if you’d like to receive email notifications. If you opt to receive email notifications, you can also select what type of notifications you’d like to receive.


It is up to the individual instructor as to where and how students are notified of their grade for the paper.  Some suggestions are listed below:
  • Post the grade in the “Comments” area, this way students have the option of being notified via email when posted.
  • Add the grade directly to the paper in Google docs.  When all papers have been graded, send out an email to the entire class notifying them that the grades are now posted on their paper.
  • Create a new “collection” for each class or assignment.  As students share their docs with you add it to the collection.  
  • When grading or revising you can star each document that you have completed.  This allows personal tracking of what you have completed in the grading process.

What is revision history?

Google Docs has a revision history pane that allows you to view at a glance all changes made to a document by each collaborator. While it may not work exactly like a track changes tool, Google Docs revision history lets you view and revert to earlier versions of your doc, and see which collaborators made edits to each of these versions.

To access revision history in Google documents, presentations, drawings, and spreadsheets, follow these steps:

1. Select File > See revision history.
2. Click a time stamp in the right pane to see a previous version of the document, edited by the collaborators listed below the time stamp. Any changes made by a particular collaborator will be shown in the body of the document in the color assigned to that individual in the revision history pane. For example, James, whose edits show in orange text, deleted and added text while bmichael, whose show in green text, removed a paragraph and added a comment.

3.  If you'd like to revert to the version you're currently viewing, click Restore this revision.
Note: Restoring your document to a previous version does not eliminate any versions of your document.  Rather this version moves to the top of your revision history, maintaining all previous versions of your document, including the current version.
4. If you'd like to return to the the current version of your document to continue editing, click the X in the upper right of the 'Document History' pane.

For all Google Docs types, revisions are grouped into short time periods to make it easier for the user to identify the slight differences between previous document versions. If you want to see more fine-grained revisions, click the Show more detailed revisions button in the lower right of your document.