Make Team Communication Easy: Set Up a Google Group

(Note: I’ve updated this post as of January 2012 to reflect the new process for adding members to a Google group. The group owner can no longer add members directly; you have to invite people and they have to accept the invitation. It’s still quite easy.)

The spring 2011 term begins! At orientation on Saturday, I saw many familiar faces and some new ones. The holiday break was nice, but it’ll be good to be back in the classroom in a building that now feels very much like home.

At orientation, my team (3A weekday evening) decided to set up a Google Group for easy exchange of our class logs. With a listserv, instead of typing in eight or ten names each time, you just send the log to the group address and it goes out to everyone on the team. This has worked well in the past, and it’s simple to set up.

Keelyn Henderson, Alyssa Campagnoni, and Ana Ortiz share a moment at the weeknight end-of-term party last fall. LETC’s team-teaching model depends on easy communication among teachers. And on food. We work for food!

The group owner, who sets up and manages the group, needs a Google account, but anyone who has a Gmail address already has one. Group members who can receive and post messages don’t need an account or a Gmail address—any e-mail address will do.

Set up a Google Group like this:

  1. Sign in to your Google account. From the drop-down menu select More > Groups.
  2. On the Google Groups homepage, click “Create.”
  3. Name the group. It’s best to choose something simple, like “Team-3A-PM.” Naming the group automatically creates an e-mail address for the group.
  4. Write a group description, such as: “This group is for the teachers of Level 3A on weekday evenings at Language ETC, Spring 2011.”
  5. For access level, choose “Restricted.” This creates a members-only group.
  6. Click “Create my group.”
  7. Under “Invite Members,” type in the e-mail addresses for all the members of your team, separated by commas. Also add program director Ashley Lipps (alipps@languageetc.org) and your team’s volunteer coordinator, either Steve White (swhite@languageetc.org) or Lee Griffith (lgriffith@languageetc.org).
  8. Write a welcome message.
  9. Click “Invite members.” Google will send them invitations by e-mail.
  10. Each invited member must accept the invitation in order to be added to the listserv.

To post a message to the list, simply use the group’s e-mail address. The message automatically goes out to the whole team, as do any replies.

During the term, the group owner can add more members as needed (for example, tutors who begin working with students in your class). Go to the group page and choose Management Tasks > Invite Members, and proceed as above.

At the end of the term, the Google Group has served its purpose, so delete it. Go to the group page and choose Group Settings > Advanced > Delete Group.

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This entry was posted in Teaching Tips & Resources, Washington English Center, WEC News. Bookmark the permalink.

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