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.
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.