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Friday, December 9, 2011

Google Doc Revision History to Catch a Cheater


The Snowflake Unified School District has been using Google Apps for Education now whole heartedly (at least I hope so).  With Google Apps comes a new challenge though.  Now that our students are sharing documents they have learned to share a document and then use it as a forum or chat feature where they type whatever they want and because the way Google has set things up, they see what their friend types in near real time.  After they are done with their conversation they then delete everything so that there is no longer a record of what was said.  

So here is what you do if you feel that students that students are using Google Apps as a method of cheating or bullying or you just want to have some fun reading what they are writing.

1.  You must be logged in as the student.
2.  Find the document in their document list that tends to be shared with a whole bunch of other students.  That document is likely to be the one they are using.
3.  Open up that document.
4.  Click on File from the menu













5.  Off to the right now you will see a column that says Revision history.






6.  You will also notice that your text changed color.  The color matches the color of the name in your revision history, so that you know who is saying what.  If you had 16 students participate in the conversation you will have 16 different colors represented.










8.  Now click the Show more detailed revisions button in the Revision history column.





9.  Now you can see dates and times that things were written.


















10.  Just start clicking on those and you will see the document change right before your eyes.  It will show you what the document looked like on that exact date at that exact time and include the colors of all those who participated.


Besides using it as a discipline technique, let your students know that they can also go back and see how their document took shape over time.