Melissa Burley | Google Drive

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This faculty success story features a course taught by Senior Lecturer Melissa Burley.  It’s emphasis is centered on the creation and discussion of new writing.  Using various pedagogical techniques students were given the ability to emerge themselves within activities which stimulated their creative minds, provided an opportunity to collaborate on individual projects in and out of class, as well as illicit immediate peer review feedback within their writing circle communities. The course titled: “Introduction to Creative Writing: Themes, Threads and Obsessions,” was broken down into three specific units featuring: Poetry, Flash Fiction/Prose Poetry and Short Fiction.

Case Study in Brief

Course: ENG 209 – Introduction to Creative Writing: Themes, Threads, and Obsessions

Instructor: Melissa Burley

Number of Students: 19

Semester: Spring 2015


The implementation of Google Documents will enable students to possess a greater creative, critical, and aesthetic understanding of the discipline. Using google documents and a web2.0 publishing tool, students were given the ability to create a collaborative publication of their semester artifacts from specific assignments.


  • Google Drive (Google Docs)
  • – Self publishing book website

Student Benefits

  • Hardcopy artifact that can be cherished for a lifetime
  • Produce and Publish a collaborative book
  • Access and critique other’s work through peer review
  • Construct real time documents into structural components
  • Acceptance to accept oneself through poetry

Skills Utilized

  • Higher Order Thinking
  • Creation
  • Evaluation
  • Build community to achieve student’s full potential
  • Synthesize ideas and information
  • Technology integration

Target skills

  • Student responsibility
  • Organization
  • Reflection
  • Learning Ownership

Instructor’s Perspective

“My intro to creative writing class ENG209 used Google Docs to create a book of their writings.  Google docs allows the entire class to easily collaborate.

I had only dabbled with google docs and my students range from first semester freshmen to last semester seniors and they come from various schools and colleges. Because I didn’t have much experience with google docs, I appointed a student to create the doc and to link us all.

Once we were all on the doc, students uploaded their work and other students went over the entire doc to establish consistent formatting and check for last-minute typos. These works had already been read and reviewed in class, so they were familiar to everyone.

The greatest outcome is the book itself, of course. What could be better or more natural than a writing class producing a book? This keepsake represents the students’ work and their lives for a semester. I love to read the work they’ve chosen. I enjoy the pictures, and the memories they evoke of the class. Having taught here for over ten years, it becomes more difficult to remember all my students, but with this keepsake, I will always have a part of them. And the students will remember who was in their class at a specific time.

The second greatest outcome was the collaborative spirit of the book. Students determined and followed their own guidelines. The ones who had used google docs previously, happily helped the students who were not familiar with it.  Collaborating with Google docs is as simple as editing any document.

One setback was the timing. I will have to impose earlier deadlines so I can give the students the books before class is over. That’s difficult because, in this class, students revise their portfolios until the last day. Also, when I do this again, I will incorporate the creation of the book into the curriculum. So as opposed to an “extra” class project, this will be the capstone project for the class.

Now that I’ve learned about google docs, certainly I’ll use it again.”

Student Artifacts

Read and explore the entire all of the student/course artifacts here!