One way to let students turn in paper work via e-learning

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Amidst all the e-learning, remote learning and distance learning that’s going on, one challenge is how to have learners hand in work that requires writing or drawing on paper.

This can happen when learners need to, for example, solve math problems on paper (and you want to see their work), create drawings or other art projects or if they are working on other work that’s just easier to do on paper, such as a worksheet.

One way to do this is using a device that’s set up to use Google Docs or Google Slides and that has a camera to let students snap a photo of the paper, holding it up to the camera.

We’ve created this free downloadable and printable guide to help your students share paper classwork.

This guide shows the desktop version of Google Docs, but these steps work similar on most devices as well as Google Slides. There are notes on the PDF when the mobile or tablet process differs.

If you’re using an Apple, Android or other smartphone or tablet, you may have better results using the app Google provides for your device, if available. In most cases, however, if there isn’t an app or you cannot download it, you can still access docs.google.com or slides.google.com and follow these same steps.

If you use Google Classroom or another LMS that’s compatible with Google Docs or Slides, you can create an assignment with a blank Doc or Slide file and use the “make a copy of each student” option so students can each add their own image of their work and turn it in as normal.

Other possibilities include using a shared document or slide deck and have students each insert their images on a separate page or slide. Keep in mind this could allow a student to insert objectionable content that the whole class could see or delete someone else’s image so the “make a copy for each student” option is typically better.

In general, due to privacy concerns, it’s a good idea to advise against having students’ faces in the images unless you need it to verify they are the ones turning in the work. You may also want to advise students against putting their names on the paper they take a photo of (or put it somewhere you can easily edit out) if you think you will want to share the work with others.

Once you’ve gathered work, you can also create and share a separate Doc or Slide presentation with everyone’s work, subject to privacy regulations regarding student work.

If you need to, you can black out or blur student names or other identifiable information before sharing.

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