Hanging out in CI Docs

On 2/22, Michelle Pacansky-Brock shared 2 worthwhile tips about CI Docs. In today’s post, I want to further her discussion about CI Docs. I’ve been using it this year to foster students’ abilities to reflect on the reading and writing in my composition courses. Here’s what I’ve done and what I’ve learned so far.


Shared folder/shared documents

I create a shared folder for each of my sections and within that folder set up Project folders. Students create documents in these project folders that everyone in the class can access and comment on, but no one outside of class can access without being signed in and given the link. Most often, students create and submit work on docs, but on occasion class activities will call for the use of Google slides and forms, which are also available through CI Docs.


Student logs

One of the things students keep is a doc of homework and class activities. I call it a log. They use the log for an entire project, typically 4 to 5 weeks, after which I grade it. Students write in their logs about home work readings, mostly responding to prompts. Then, those responses are often jumping off points for class activities. I can easily show student work to the entire class, if there’s a point of clarification needed, but most likely, I’ll have students reviewing each other’s work and leaving comments. At the same time, students collect data from the documents to determine what the class is most confused about or frustrated with in the readings. They share the results of their content analysis, and what we work on in class that day is determined by the collected data.



The log is worth 10-15% of the students’ final grade. I grade the project after the class has moved on to the next project. Most weeks, I quick review each student’s log and make a note if the work is submitted on-time and complete. When I grade the log, I use a rubric that focuses on the log’s completeness, the student’s ability to meet weekly deadlines, and evidence of the student’s engagement with the readings. Students keep 2 to 3 logs for the semester.



  • Higher rate of homework submission: Because we work with the logs in every class, students understand quickly that they must do the homework.
  • Increased student questions about readings: With a significant portion of class based on their questions about the readings, students are more specific about what they do or do not want to hear from me about.
  • Consistent types of questions arise: Most questions are related to vocabulary or theoretical concepts. Students are encountering certain vocabulary and theory for the first time. I find I spend more time previewing vocabulary prior to assigning readings.
  • Continued challenges in transferring reading into writing: Most students have little experience transferring new knowledge to their own writing. Much class time is spent in assisting them in this endeavor. All semester-long reading has to be recursive; otherwise, students struggle to comprehend readings and use them in their writings.
  • Ease of grading logs: I find it takes minimum time to grade logs, and I sometimes check students’ weekly work in class while they are reviewing peers’ documents.


I’m learning much about students’ abilities to comprehend homework readings and intend to keep refining how I use CI Docs.

How do you use CIDocs? What are you finding out about your students by using it?

Thanks for reading!