Why Google Drive’s new suggesting mode is the best things since… Google Drive

I was having a meeting of the minds with my editors this summer, and the topic of our editing system came up as an area for potential revision. In the past, we used a pretty complicated solution to work around a pretty simple problem: Google documents were built to collaboratively edit documents, but we needed to make suggestions — that all editors could see — and have one person (the writer) change them. We summarized the system a while ago on the site.

So you can imagine how surprised and delighted I was when one of my editors suggested that we scrap all of that for Google Drive’s new “suggesting mode,” one of the changes made in the latest update. For those familiar with Microsoft Word’s track changes function, it’s basically the same thing. If a collaborator deletes a line of text in suggesting mode, Google strikes through the text then gives the owner the option to approve the edit, disapprove the edit, or comment on it.

Take a look at the images below to see what that looks like.

Deleting text in suggesting mode
Deleting text in suggesting mode
A green underline indicates text that has been added.
A green underline indicates text that has been added.
The comment function, which isn't new, still allows editors to give more general feedback.
The comment function, which isn’t new, still allows editors to give more general feedback.

When sharing a document with a collaborator, students have the option to allow the collaborator to edit or comment on the document. If the other collaborator has editing privileges, they will have to switch to collaborating mode. Users with commenting privileges are in suggesting mode by default.

I’m loving the new suggesting mode because it supports my goals as a teacher. Kids who fix their own mistakes are less likely to make the same mistakes next time. Journalism classrooms provide the opportunity for students to teach each other, but that doesn’t happen when veterans simply make changes for younger staffers. This change supports teaching others rather than doing for others — a welcome change.

For more information on this and other recent updates, take a look at this post on the Google Drive blog.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind, a reemerging news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. For 11 years prior to relocating to Oregon, she advised a media staff in the Silicon Valley. In her career, she has been selected as CA Journalism Teacher of the Year, a JEA Rising Star, and a DJNF Distinguished Adviser. She was formerly the JEA Web Curriculum Leader.

mlbalmeo has 40 posts and counting.See all posts by mlbalmeo

2 thoughts on “Why Google Drive’s new suggesting mode is the best things since… Google Drive

  • August 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm
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    Michelle, this is so cool! I used to use the strikeout key and change color font, and also add a comment. My way of using Google Docs is already old-school!

    Michelle H

  • May 20, 2016 at 11:08 am
    Permalink

    There are many “free fax” services. It would be great if I could send a few faxes using gmail or other google products.
    Thanks

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