Tacoma Community College. She was looking for some way for her students to record what kind of errors they make in their writing and how often. She also wants them to record what they are doing right. Monica is pretty fearless when it comes to technology, so I suggested that we try the forms in Google Docs. We logged into Google Docs and created a form that asks for the student's name, assignment, and then asks the frequency of certain kinds of errors that she wishes to track (e.g., how many errors, adjective clauses, adverb clauses, etc.). When you create a form in Google Docs, it automatically builds a spreadsheet based on the form. Monica will be able to sort this data by student or assignment and track the success (or weakness) of an assignment over time. I think there are a lot of untapped possibilities here and I am thinking that we can't be the only ones who have thought of using this tool in this way. I would love to find others who are doing this. Google Docs is secure - no one will be able to see the data except for Monica or those she chooses to share it with. The spreadsheet creates charts and graphs and is exportable into Excel. Getting an IT dept. anywhere to build a tool like this for the school would take years and cost a lot of money, and forget about trying to get institutional data on individual assignments or even an individual class.
As the economy weakens, more projects like this will surface as people seek solutions to assessment problems. Projects that use free or open source tools in creative ways, If you are doing something similar, know of someone who is, would like to do this, leave us a comment here.