Creating Forms in Google Drive – Sample for post #1

This is intended to be a sample post for the lynda.com tutorial posts.

Often we want to know what other people think or we need to gather information to inform planning and decision making or we simply need a headcount for a planned event.

Pile of paper

Hard way to keep track of returned responses

You have probably typed up one or more surveys, printed or emailed lots of copies, and hoped for the best in terms of getting responses.

Let’s face it – printed surveys get lost, misplaced, or ignored, and responses often don’t make it back to you or just as bad – you do get replies and can’t keep track of them.

An alternative is to post or email a link to an electronic survey that can be completed online. While there are several tools available for doing this, Google Forms is powerful and is built right into Google Drive that is part of your Google account. Google Forms allows you to create a form (survey), send it out electronically, and collect and analyze responses. You see the responses in real time – just as soon as someone completes the form, you can see their results along with those of other respondents in a Google spreadsheet.

You already saw how I used a Google Form to learn more about you before our class started and how on our class site in Moodle, I shared a document including summaries of some of your responses. In fact, the graph below was taken directly from the summary responses to that survey and shows that only a few of you are already confident users of Google Forms, so dive in and take advantage of the tutorials discussed below to learn more.

CIS 220 students' comfort level with Google Forms

CIS 220 students’ comfort level with Google Forms

In the lynda.com course named Google Drive Essential Training, chapter 7 covers Working with Forms. This course is brand new – just released on June 27th, and that is important because Google Forms was updated this past January, so you want to be sure to watch the videos in this recently released lynda.com course, not an older version of it.

In the Working with Forms chapter of this lynda.com course, there are five short videos totaling 16 minutes in all. The two-minute Introduction to Google Forms video provides a quick overview of creating a form and viewing responses. The remaining videos go into step-by-step detail.

The video named Creating a form and adding questions shows you how to create a form from scratch, how to choose a theme to dress it up, and how to add questions of different types. Google Forms allows you to create a wide variety of question types – multiple choice, scales, text (short or long), checkboxes, etc. As the video emphasizes, it is important to think ahead about what your questions will be and what form of response will work best for each one. This video concludes by showing you how to preview the form so you can see what others will see when you send it.

The video named Collecting form responses shows you how to select a destination for the responses and the pros and cons of different choices for that. It then shows you how to send the completed form to recipients and goes over various ways to do this – using a provided link that you can post or email or through social media.

Viewing and analyzing form results is the fourth video, and it shows you how to view a summary of the responses (how many and some quick graphs) as well as how to view the detailed responses in a spreadsheet that displays a single row for each person who responded and a column for each question you asked. It also discusses tips for interpreting the data by using basic spreadsheet features like sorting by columns to organize the responses or using formulas or functions to get totals or averages for numeric responses. You can even create charts (graphs) from the collected data in the spreasheet. For more information about how to work with spreadsheet features including formulas, functions, and charts, check out Chapter 6, Working with Spreadsheets in this same lynda.com course.

The final video in this chapter, Making edits to a form and preventing responses, reviews how to edit the form to alter, add, or delete questions. However, this should not be done while you are collecting responses because the data (questions, columns, responses) will be different from the earlier collected responses. So this video also shows how to stop accepting responses temporarily or permanently. Anyone who tries to complete the survey will see a message saying it is no longer accepting responses. If you edit the form and change questions, this video concludes by showing you how to choose a new destination – a different sheet to collect the new responses and how to then resume collecting responses.

So check out these tutorials in lynda.com and try your hand at creating a Google Form if you haven’t already. For more information on Google Forms, check out Google Drive Help – Forms for help straight from Google. These help articles are good ones and provide additional details not covered in the lynda.com tutorials – things like how to include headers, page breaks, and images in your form as well as how to control navigation by sending someone to a different page based on the response to a question.

Share your thoughts by commenting below – how have used Google Forms in the past, and/or what do you hope to do with them in the future? What are some ways you can think of to use Google Forms in your personal or school life now or in your future professional life as a teacher? How can forms help you collect, organize, and manage information? What about ways you might use Google Forms in teaching and learning with your students, and what learning outcomes might result – what are some “verbs”/skills supported by using a tool like this?

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