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Do Not Update Google Docs Each Semester

August 7th, 2013 by Brandon Davis-Shannon

If you use a Google Doc for your course syllabus, it might seem easy to copy the course and simply edit the old Google Doc with new dates and details for the new semester.  However, doing this causes big problems for the audit of courses.  The link to that Google Doc still exists in the old courses, so when you update the doc to reflect the new semester, that new syllabus now appears in your old course.

Example: PHI240-I1 ran in the Spring of 2013.  That semester, I gave my syllabus to my students by linking to a Google Doc.  I am running the course again in the Fall of 2013, so I do a quick course copy, which keeps my link to the Google Doc.  I then go to the document and start editing.  This updates the syllabus for the Fall semester . . . but it also changes the syllabus linked from my Spring course!

Online Learning recommends the following:

  1. Make a copy of the old Google Doc.
  2. Edit the copy for the new semester.
  3. Do a Course Copy in Blackboard from the old course to the new course.
  4. Edit the old link in the new course to link to the edited copy of the syllabus.

Note: If you need to do a course copy to multiple versions of the same course, you may not want to edit the link in each of those courses.  Online Learning recommends doing the course copy to a single course shell for the semester, making the necessary edits (liking putting in the link to the new syllabus), and then doing a course copy to the remaining course shells.


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