1. Create class study groups.
Whether or not you use a learning management system, Google+ has great implications for education. Google+ communities provide a great way for students to participate in online discussion groups can interact with one another. Students can also use the +1 button to indicate which student responses were the most helpful. Making Communities private helps students feel more comfortable about communicating using social media.
2. Get feedback from students.
In my classes, students have to write a post and respond to other students' posts. This is a great way for students to get feedback on their work and writing from their peers. This is also a great way for instructors to get feedback from students.
3. Visual links increase student engagement in discussion groups.
When you add a URL in a post, Google+ searches for pictures to create a visual display in the post. I think this makes students more interesting in reading the resources other students contribute to the Community. Also, pictures help engage visual learners.
4. Tags/Hashtags allow students and instructors to sort posts by topic or unit.
Using tags allows the class to use the same community feed for all posts throughout a course. Google+ also incorporates hashtags for finding relevant posts as well.
5. It integrates with Google tools.
Google+ Communities can be integrated with Google+ hangouts, Google Docs, Google Forms, YouTube, Google Calendar, Gmail, Blogger, etc. Students only have to know usernames and passwords for one account to access all of these resources.
6. It's mobile.
Google+ Communities can be accessed using the free Google+ app for smartphone and tablet users. Students can keep up with class without having to sit in front of a computer.
6.99. It's not Facebook.
Students with Facebook accounts may view Facebook as their personal space and may not want to interact with instructors or classmates in this environment, even through a Facebook group or page. Likewise, some instructors may not want to interact with students using Facebook either. Google+ can provide many of the advantages of social technology without the privacy concerns of Facebook.
For more information about online classes and programs, please visit the Tarleton E-Campus website.