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"An octopus for Docs!"
Doctopus makes it easier for teachers to share, organize, and assess student work in Google Drive.

Its tentacles copy and "hand out" Drive files to a roster of students, giving teachers full control over starter template, sharing configuration, folder organization and file naming, as well as full visibility over all work in progress -- including the ability to bulk revoke and revert student editing rights.

Created by a veteran teacher, Doctopus is built with teacher workflow in mind -- taming complexity and unlocking the power of Google Apps for differentiation and collaborative projects.  

  • Install Doctopus in a few clicks on any Google Sheet from the Sheets Add-ons gallery.  Once installed, you can launch Doctopus from any other Google spreadsheet in your Drive -- allowing you to easily re-use your rosters and class folders in new assignments!

  1. Always start each Doctopus assignment with a fresh Google Sheet.
  2. Create a roster, re-use an existing roster, or auto-import your roster from gClassFolders or Hapara's Teacher Dashboard.
  3. If you don't have shared class folders with your students, let Doctopus produce them!  Docty will use these folders to deliver assignments.
  4. Decide how you want to share your assignment (individual, differentiated, project group, etc.)
  5. Select a starter template, blank doc, or drive folder that you want to distribute to students.
  6. Indicate how you want files named, and where you want them organized in Drive.
  7. Run the copy and share process.
  8. Attach a rubric to the assignment and grade student work right in your browser!
  9. Manage student editing rights, check last-edit time, and transfer ownership back to students once the assignment is completed.
  • Create a standardized folder structure for your classes --OR-- import your existing folder structure from gClassfolders or Hapara Teacher Dashboard.
  • Re-use and update your Doctopus class rosters in a single click, from any Google Sheet.
  • Monitor useful activity and collaboration metrics on student assignments, including last time edited by student, word count, number of teacher comments, student comments, and peer comments, as well as number of comments by any given student on their peer's work.
  • Use your class roster(s) to create and manage pre-shared student copies of a master Drive resource of any type (document, presentation, spreadsheet, PDF, text file, folder, etc.) in four handy sharing configurations:
    • Individual - all the same: Creates the same separate, individual Doc for each student in your class.
    • individual - differentiated: Creates one copy of a Doc for each student based on their level, as designated in a "Group" column on your roster.
    • project groups: Creates one shared copy of a Doc for each project group as designated in the "Group" column on your roster.
    • whole class: Creates a SINGLE shared copy of a Doc for your whole class.
  • Automatically grant view-only or comment-only privileges to the rest of the class to facilitate peer review protocols.
  • Pre-organize assignments into a folder of your choosing for easy grading, and also deliver assignments to student-level folders.
  • Copy and distribute whole folders full of Documents to students (with subfolders and files up to one level down)
  • Standardize file naming and organize links in your spreadsheet to improve your workflow when grading.
  • Omit individual students from an assignment by flagging them: "Excuse".
  • Monitor the time of last edit to help you intervene when students are off track.
  • Easily remove and restore student editing rights during grading and revision cycles. Great for timed essays!
  • Send optional notification emails upon sharing Docs with students.
  • Easily send grades and feedback via email.
  • Install the Goobric chrome extension and attach a rubrics to the Doctopus assignment spreadsheet to enable a rubric-based grading widget right in the browser.
  • Goobric extension automatically passes rubric scores back to Doctopus and (optionally) emails completed rubric to student editor(s).

Have questions about how Doctopus handles student data? Check out this terms of use document.


  • Find the code for the Doctopus Add-on on GitHub (coming soon)
USAGE PATTERNS (launched Spring 2014)



Unique Users


The Goobric Chrome extension works alongside Doctopus to enable rubric-based grading of Google Docs right in a browser popup window using the rubric of your design.  Once a rubric score is submitted, Goobric auto-records scores in your spreadsheet and automatically provides students instant rubric scores and comments via email.  Heck, if it's a Google Document, Goobric even pastes the filled out rubric into the bottom of the Doc.

for more info, see the Goobric FAQ doc.


Identify or create a starter resource you want to copy and distribute to students in Drive and use Doctopus to distribute and manage it!
  • Google Doc - blank placeholder, worksheet, lab report template, essay prompt...
  • Google Spreadsheet - data report, book report listing...
  • Google Presentation - project, group presentation...
  • Drive Folder - Folder containing multi-part project resources, readings, checklists...
  • Other file types - Google Drawings, HTML files, code files...


While Doctopus works really well as a standalone assignment management system, adopters of Google Classroom may simply want to use its assessment and feedback features by ingesting a Google Classroom assignment.  To ingest a Google Classroom assignment, you must have a top-level folder in your Drive called "Classroom" that is the folder automatically generated by Google Classroom.  If you have renamed this folder, name it back to "Classroom" and you should be OK.    You will then see "Ingest CR Assignment" option in step 1 of the setup process.  From there, things should be easy!

Listen to the fabulous Jennie Magiera walk through how Doctopus / Classroom ingestion works with Goobric!

Join the Doctopus users' community

If you have any questions about using Doctopus, or to share out successes you've had in using it, please join the Doctopus user's community on Google Plus!


A big thanks to  Jay Atwood, Google Certified Teacher and collaborator par excellence, for contributing these videos!

Steven Tetrault contributed the videos below - a bit longer format but quite excellently explained.


  Andrew Stillman worked in outdoor education in the Pacific Northwest prior to a ten year stint in the New York City Department of Education, where he worked as a science and math teacher, and later as founding assistant principal and engineering educator for the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering in Harlem, NYC.  Andrew joined New Visions for Public Schools in 2011, where he has focused his energies on innovating strategies and tools to bring better ways of working to everyone from the classroom teacher to the back office administrator.  When Andrew is not coding, he loves working on "maker" projects with his two young kids, cooking spicy food, or riding his bike.