Doctopus: Automatically Create and Share Individualized Copies of a Google Doc or Template

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.31.15 PMOften, I want to provide my students with a template to guide them through an assignment.  Of course, I can share a document which they can then cut and paste into a new Doc and then share this new Doc with me.  Unfortunately, that means not only a cluttered and disorganized Google Drive and email inbox, but also many headaches when students forget to share the Doc properly.

Fortunately, there is a relatively simple app that allows you to create and share individualized copies of a Doc which each student can edit and then simply close out: you are already the owner so there is no need to mess with share settings.  What is more, each student’s individual Doc is collected in a spreadsheet for easy reference.

I have used the app, oddly named “Doctopus” to distribute quizzes, writing prompts, tests, and even waivers needed signing.  My students love it as the Doc appears both in their inbox and their Google Drive folders: they only need open it, edit it, and close it out – no sharing, no submitting, no emailing.  Doctopus was created by Digital Instructor Andrew Stillman in 2012.

The presentation below will walk you through the ten steps; this seems like a lot, but in fact, it only takes about 3-4 minutes and is very straightforward once you have done it a couple of times:

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