Google Docs is a great tool for effective online collaboration and communication. I was first introduced to Google Docs two years ago when I was working with my fellow doctoral students on writing a paper for publication. We had an informal group of 6 non-native speaking doctoral students in Foreign and Second Language Education at OSU and were all interested in writing a paper on Non-native English speaking doctoral students’ enculturation into U.S. Academia. It was also part of dissertation research of one of the group members. We had a meeting on a regular basis offline and shared our experiences and thoughts as doctoral students. However, we realized that we should be collaborating more online. We started using Google Doc to write a paper together. It enabled us to upload relevant readings and our drafts so that everyone in the group could see and share. Editing our drafts was quite easy. There was a Share tap where we could invite each other by entering our email addresses. And then it enabled us to read our shared drafts and comment on each other’s papers with the function of Comment.
I have used Google docs for several purposes since then, and overall have had very positive experience with this tool so far. One of the things I like about it is that I can access my documents from any computer that has Internet connection, without carrying my flash drives or emailing documents to myself and downloading them. In addition, now it has some better features such as Folders so I can store and organize my documents. Moreover, printing stuff is easy, and it allows users to download documents in different formats (e.g., rtf, doc, etc.) Again, I think it can be used as a good online collaboration research tool!