Friday, October 7, 2016

Google Forms 101

Google Forms is a digital form and survey tool.  It allows you to gather, organize, analyze, and manipulate data.  Put very simply, you create questions, give people the web address to your form, and sit back while Google automatically compiles the data for you.  It is so versatile!  Not only is it handy for information gathering, but it can help with class discussions and also streamline and make paperless many of the processes and routines that occur daily in your classroom.  This is a pretty powerful app, and it has many unique features.  In this post, I'm just giving you the basics of what it can do.

To create a Google Form, you just navigate to your Google Drive and click on the blue "New" button, mouse over the "More" option at the bottom and then choose "Google Forms".

(You could also download an awesome extension that allows you to create a new form (slide, doc, spreadsheet or drawing, too) from anywhere on the web, just by clicking the button.  Read about this must have extension here.)

This will take you to a new untitled form.  The first thing I recommend is to give your form a title so that you can find it again later.  Take a look at the interface you'll see.

Settings Menu

Let's take a look at the settings menu you can access by clicking on the little gear icon in the upper right.  This menu has three tabs.  The first one that comes up is "General".

The top checkbox will collect the email address of those filling out your form by adding a question at the top of the form that asks for an email address.  If you have also chosen to restrict the form to just your organization, this question won't appear as the email address collection will happen automatically in the background.  

The second box, "Response receipts" is only usable if you have chosen to collect email addresses.  If you do collect email addresses and want people to get a copy of their responses, you can check this box.  It will give you the option to always send a copy of responses, or allow the respondent to choose if they want one or not. 

The third check box, "Restrict to...", allows you to lock down the form so that only those individuals in your organization can fill out the form.

The next check box does just what it says - only allows the respondent to submit once.  If you check this box, it will require users to log in with a Google Account - though it won't tell you who they are unless the "Collect email addresses" option is also checked. 

The bottom two links will decide what the respondent can do after they submit. 

The next tab in the menu is "Presentation".

The top option shows a progress bar for the respondent so that if it is a long form with many pages or "sections" they will see how close they are to finishing.  

The second box will shuffle the question order on each page or section.  It will not mix questions with questions from another page or "section" of the form. 

The last box allows you to show a link to return to the beginning and take the form again - this is nice if it is a form you are filling out repeatedly for different students.  

The last section is a place for you to put a confirmation message.  This is what your respondents see once they hit the submit button.

The last tab in the settings menu is "Quizzes".  You can use this to make your form into a self-grading quiz.  If you want to know more details about how to do this - you can check out this tutorial video

Question Types

There are many question types you can choose from.  The default first question is a multiple choice question, but if you click on "multiple choice" it will give you a list of other question types. 

Once you choose your question type, it will give you the options to enter your answer choices.  You have most anything you could want here, except true and false - but I just do a multiple choice question with only two answer choices - true and false.  

Question Options

You can make a question required  - meaning the respondent cannot submit the form without answering the question - by clicking on the "Required" slider to turn it on.

To get a few more options for your questions you can click the little three dots icon in the bottom right corner of the question.  It will give you different options depending on your question type.

The most common ones you might need are to show "Description" which allows you to give a little direction about how to answer or if you want to put in an example.  Another one might be to show "Data validation" for a paragraph or short answer question, which allows you to make the answer be something specific like it must have an @ symbol because they are supposed to type an email address or something like that.  You can also choose "Go to section based on answer" for multiple choice which can send them to a separate page depending on which answer they choose.  

Adding Images to a Specific Question or Answer

You can add an image as part of your question, or as part of a multiple choice answer option.  Click on a question to edit it.  If you put your mouse on the Question text, a little image icon will appear to the right and you can click on it.  Same for putting your mouse over an answer choice.


Answer choice 

Adding Other Items

You can add other items to your form using the vertical bar on the right.

You can click to add a new question or to import a question you have already used on a different Google Form.

Adding a title and description lets you put additional text into your form that isn't necessarily tied to a question.  It can be instructions or other information that your respondents need to know. 

Adding a section adds another "page" that your respondent will see.  For example, they might answer some questions and then click next to answer more questions.  It only shows them one "section" at a time and they will need to click to go to the next section or page. 

Customize the Look

You can customize the look of your form by clicking on the color palette in the upper right.  When you click on the palette, you are shown a variety of colors.  If you want something a little more decorative, click on the little image icon in the bottom right to be taken to a window where you can choose from many different themes or even upload your own image.


You can learn all about how to find and analyze the form responses in this "Where Are My Responses?" post. 

How to Send Out My Form

When you are all finished creating your form, you can click the "Send" button in the upper right and get some options on how to distribute your form.  

There you go!  That should give you everything you need to know to start creating your very own Google Forms.  Have fun!

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