Setting Up Communication with Students in Distance Learning

In November 2019, my husband Tim King and I started working at the same school. Now that we’re all in Co-Vid19 remote teaching circumstances, we’re working together…..really closely. Here it is warts and all.

So we’re constantly talking about school and collaboration is almost continuous. Last week Tim sent out a collaborative spreadsheet to staff saying that his senior Computer Engineering students could do some remote technical support for credit, if we would just ask. Why wouldn’t you leverage the expertise of senior students who need work experience? Here it is:

If you look closely, you can see my request. But if you’re over 37 like me, here is what it says:

I would like a secure Google Doc/Form way to communicate mark updates with students. I’m wondering if we can use something like DocAppender on a spreadsheet to mail merge a column to users with a specific email address e.g. 72 goes to and then to have the recipient create a read receipt/digital signature to confirm that they have read it.

Ontario secondary teachers have been asked to prepare midterm marks for graduating students which seems really unfair, but because I am a trusted professional, I will persevere! Still I am lacking in digital flow of communication between my students and I. I wished up a way to continually answer the interminable question “What’s my mark?”

Luckily student Shane MacDonald picked up my ticket and through about 10 exchanges, he asked for clarification, worked through my ideas, had me try it out, helped me troubleshoot the details, and voila! I now have a Google Doc that self delivers to individual students each time I update it through a Google Form with the add-on Doc Appender.

When students receive it, it looks like this (although you can make different layout choices):

My next way to thank Shane for his dedication to the task was to ask him to put this all in a handout so I could pass on his brilliance to you, my PLN. Here are Shane’s complete instructions so you too, can try out this distribution doc.

Setting Up Mark Distribution with Doc Appender

Superstar Shane MacDonald leads you through the process step-by-step


Leave a Comment

  1. What a cool class project! It’s a real-life application of their skills.

    Love the messy desk! My sewing/craft room-office needs to be organized and I just can’t bring myself to do it!


    1. It really is! I have another project that we’re collaborating on too which I hope to post soon. It’s also building a digital portfolio of what they’re capable with. These are definitely students ready to go to work and/or give back to their communities.


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