University of Cadiz, Faculty of Marine and Environmental Sciences (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 2107-2115
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
The University must be able to provide students with the instruments they will need to play an active role in the society, so the educative system has to promote the autonomous learning and work. Our future graduates will operate with new technologies. Students develop a positive attitude towards technologies and learn to apply them through their knowledge and practice.

The concept of Cloud Computing involves applications integrated into internet or to be executed in the desk, but in such a way that the user data are stored in the cloud. Cloud collaboration is a new method of cloud computing that fosters a sense of collaboration and team work, in which students do not have to be in the same place to work together towards a common goal. Google Docs is one of the most well-known of the cloud collaboration options that facilitate collaboration among students or colleagues in an organization.

In the frame of the Educative Innovation Project “Digital strategies to promote learning and collaborative work”, the teaching innovation group Innovatox made up of professors of Toxicology of the University of Cadiz, has developed during the academic year 2011/2012 an educative innovation action designed to promote the use by undergraduates of Google Docs, a Web 2.0 technology, and to follow and assess academically-directed activities (ADAs). The overall project objective is the development and implementation of ICT-based activities and collaborative learning, concept which refers to a technique or methodology of teamwork where all members cooperate in a coordinated manner to achieve a common objective.

This work describes the implementation and results of the experience in the framework of the course "Environmental Toxicology and Ecotoxicology" of the Environmental Sciences degree. The collaborative activity consisted mainly of developing the allotted topic in a text document and elaborating a slide presentation intended for an oral final exposition by the group. Documents were shared between team components and teachers. Consequently, each teacher was able to supervise at any moment the work being carried out by every group.

At the end of the assignment, students were asked to complete some surveys for their self-assessment and the assessment of their team-mates in the context of the activity, as well as for their perception and satisfaction regarding this one. To gather this information, Forms in Google Docs were created. The paper analyzes students' views about the use of Google Docs in collaborative assignments and a comparison is made with the opinions collected in previous years on the use of the wiki module of Moodle in a similar experience.

As for the teachers, the fact of being able to track the development of each activity made easier the interaction with students for the purposes of correction, suggestions, redirecting approaches, etc. It allowed also knowing the rhythm of works and the advance of the teams and of each student, finding out if the task was being performed in due course or delayed until the last moments.

Finally, we consider that this tool has contributed to improve the management of ADAs by the teachers.
GoogleDocs, cloud collaboration, educative innovation, collaborative work.