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over time. The openness of the writing space allows more flexibility compared to typical paper-oriented collaborative writing.


Familiar Interfaces Google documents offers a variety of document templates, including


presentations, spreadsheets, and word processing documents. Most faculty members have grown up with word processing documents. Depending on our disciplines, most of us use some combination of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel in our daily work. While some of the more advanced formatting features aren’t available in Google Documents, the tools we use most often, such as character formatting, footnotes, tabs, and numbered lists and bullets, are incorporated in the most recent version of Google Docs. The applications are under constant development and new features are being incorporated. Our students, too, are just as familiar with the interfaces offered within Google Documents. Students are able to start collaborating in Google Docs with minimal training. Not only that, but Google offers extensive training pages on each of the aspects of Google Docs: http://docs.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?topic=15114


Multiple Methods for Commenting and Revising Unlike the Microsoft Office applications, which were designed primarily to be


used by individual users on stand-alone machines, the Google Apps suite has collaboration ―baked in rather than bolted on.‖ Here, the ability to collaborate is integrated into the application versus merely an add-on tool that may have fewer optional features to support collaboration. Google Docs was designed from the ground up to be used ―in the cloud‖ and to take advantage of the interactive nature of the Internet. While editing or writing, collaborators can either make suggestions in the margins with the new comments feature, or they can edit or revise the text directly. Multiple methods offer different styles of collaboration for different styles of student learners and writers.


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