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Collaborative writing

Even in an in-person class, there's something casual and simple about doing a group brainstorm, annotation, or note-taking that encourages a free exchange of ideas. Google Docs is a popular tool for collaborating and tends to work best with smaller groups. 

Some ideas:

  • Brainstorm in response to prompt. Give students a prompt or question and encourage them to write notes on it for ten minutes. After that, give them another ten minutes to read each other's ideas and comment. 
  • Shared annotation. Paste a short reading into the text and set the doc to "comment only." Give students fifteen minutes to read and comment. 
  • Zoom Breakout room notes. Put students into breakout groups, asking them to take notes in a Google Doc shared with you. While they're in breakout rooms, switch between their different notes to monitor the discussion. 
  • Group writing assignment. Have students work together by doing an editing and commenting exercise for homework.

Setting up a Google doc isn't hard from a technical standpoint. You can make a new doc from Google Drive, or the "Collaborations" tool in Canvas.