Using Google Docs as Online Student

Your time as an online student.Among the things that online students point out as the most important to success are time management and staying motivated (see all the seven factors listed in this Educause article).

Clearly, it’s easy to get side-tracked if you don’t have to go to a class at a particular scheduled time – remember this was actually the best thing about asynchronous classes when you signed up? – or have a particular place to go to study.

If your time management strategy is using a few minutes here and there between meetings or work, or chores, or while the pasta is cooking for dinner, then it’s possible there may be some headwinds to the overall success in your chosen online program.

Define your strategy

You can create a more robust environment though, if you have a more or less defined strategy which doesn’t necessarily involve carrying all of your books and laptop around all the time. Here are some ideas for managing your studies through Google Apps.

Why you should use Google Drive>Google Docs to store all of your course papers:

  1. All your docs are searchable, so if you remember anything about a document, chances are you will find it in the stack. You can share them with appropriate people who will either provide comments, ideas or work together with you as collaborators on projects (such as group projects).
  2. Google Docs are easy to share, have tiered permissions, and have a revision history where you can see everyone’s contributions.
  3. You can access these from any device capable of web browsing (editing and sharing features will vary based on the device).
  4. Google Docs offers some very helpful tools. One of them is “RESEARCH” (to access, click on Tools>Research in an open Google Doc). You can view a quick demo to get a feel for what you can do with it, or read up on it on a help page.
  5. Finally, just like in a word processing application, you can write your drafts here, add comments, make suggestions for future reviews, and keep it going, so you can apply what you have been reading about – the “use it or lose it” method. Then, you might want to copy the final draft and paste it in your required discussion forum as a post, and you won’t fall behind!

And the best part, you can skip buying and installing proprietary software, such as MS Office and others, and instead use the set of apps from Google Apps for Education (see terms of use for more information and privacy policy).

Key to success

Having access to production tools on the go may help you improve your overall time management by simply allowing you to study and write any time – but don’t mistake this for a solid strategy. It will still take some planning, commitment and even adopting changes to your daily routine to schedule sound and dedicated study time.

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