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Diving into Doctopus


  • Doctopus is a script that gives teachers the ability to auto generate, pre-share, and manage grading and feedback on templated docs for group and individual projects

  • Teacher can share documents, spreadsheets, drawings, presentations and pdf files

  • Teacher remains owner of all docs, students are pre-shared as editors or viewers

  • Doctopus looks at students docs every 5 minutes and retrieves a timestamp of the last edit made

  • Teacher can email grades and personalized feedback to student or groups

  • Doctopus now has a "Individual - Differentiated" option which allows individual assignments to be distributed by student "level."

  • As of Doctopus 4.0 it now connects to a Chrome extension called "Goobric" which lets you associate a rubric with your Doctopus assignment and do rubric-based grading right in the top corner of your browser.  If you wish to try Goobric out, there is access to a walk through video at the end of this document

Let’s Dive Right In:

  1. Setting the script up

    1. Set-up a simple class roster in a google spreadsheet that includes student name and google email.  NOTE: Each time you want to run the doctopus script, create a copy of the spreadsheet.

      1. Let’s create a spreadsheet for our group: (If you do not have a class roster already, you could use a form like this with students and automatically collect their email address)

    2. After you create a copy of your class roster, click on tools and script gallery

    3. In the search bar, type in doctopus and hit search

    4. Install Doctopus V4.3.1 (11/19/13) - the last updated date will change over time

    5. At “authorization required” prompt, click continue

    6. At “this app would like to” prompt, click accept

    7. Close script gallery to go back to your spreadsheet/class roster

    8. A Doctopus tab now appears across the top tool bar.  Click Doctopus and then Launch Installation

  2. Step 1: Set-up Sharing Basics

    1. Choose type of sharing you want

      1. Project Groups - create a copy to distribute into smaller groups

      2. Individual - all the same - all students get a copy of the same template

      3. Individual - differentiated - students may get differentiated assignments based on level

      4. Whole class - create a copy for the whole class to share

    2. Can add another teacher if that fits your practice (interdisciplinary project, co-teaching, etc.)

    3. If students already have a folder that you want to put this assignment in, you can indicate it at this step

    4. Below is an example of what Step 1 looks like:

  3. Step 2: Choose which documents to copy and distribute

    1. Choose the folder that contains your template

    2. Select the actual template you want to copy and share out

    3. Click on Save Setting

  4. Step 3: Choose destination folder, set-up file naming and notifications

    1. This step refers to the teacher’s drive and how to keep all student work together in one place

    2. Choose a folder you have already created to store student work OR create a new one in this step

    3. Choose how you want the file to be named, using options provided

    4. Option is to click on “notify editors” and send an email notice to students about the share template

    5. Click on Save Settings

  5. Step 4: Copy and Share Docs

    1. Click Run copy and share

    2. At “apps script” confirmation, click ok

    3. New columns have been added to your spreadsheet

  6. Clicking on Doctopus in main toolbar will now offer more options

    1. Refresh last edit option - will see latest edit

    2. Attach Goobric - for a more detailed, teacher created rubric

    3. Embargo for grading - editors go to view only mode and will not be able to edit until teacher has clicked “unembargo for revision” (students will be notified via email that they are now editors again)

    4. Send personalized emails to students - will send (as a batch) individual student grades and written commentary

    5. Transfer document ownership to students

Author’s Screencast of Doctopus:
Doctopus 4.0 Walkthrough: or
Goobric Walkthrough: or
(Are you a rockstar at Doctopus and want to take your grading a step further?  Check out Goobric, teacher created-rubric script to work with Doctopus)
Screencast of Doctopus is courtesy of the creator Andrew Stillman (@astillman)
Doctopus and Goobric walkthroughs are screencasts courtesy of Jay Atwood (@jayatwood)

Author: Nicole Flores

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