Using Google forms for CPD and more

Have you used Google Forms yet? Are you like I was a couple of months ago: hearing about them everywhere and intending to take a closer look?

Google Forms are a quick and easy way to create a very basic survey or collect information for any number of purposes. After hearing a few people talking about how simple they were, yet very useful as they feed into a Google Docs based spreadsheet, I finally looked at setting up a dummy form last month. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so impressed – but they really are ridiculously easy to create, and by using a template or playing around a little, they look quite nice and professional too.

Around this time I was also looking for information on Summon, and how other institutions were introducing it to their users, as it was just being launched in Maynooth University Library. I came across this article about teaching Summon. The authors noted that they had instruction librarians fill out a Google Form after each teaching session to document and reflect on what went well with the interaction, and what they could improve.

It occurred to me that I could make a similar form for myself but use it to reflect on my experience more broadly, documenting anything particularly challenging or rewarding and my thoughts on what I had learnt. It’s true that this sort of reflection doesn’t necessarily need to be done on a form, but it is an opportunity to use a new tool, and it is nice to see the connected spreadsheet build up. This will hopefully provide me with lots of examples of “difficulties I overcame” or “times where I improvised” for future job applications and interviews.

I recently created a Google Form to gather information from the subject librarians I work with about what they would like included in their LibGuide pages. This was useful for creating a spreadsheet that could then be used as a checklist and to compare content. It wasn’t 100% perfect, as some of the check-box answers ended up being confusingly listed in the spreadsheet, but it did save paper and quite a few emails!

I’m sure there are the usual concerns over security and privacy as there are with any free tools, but for certain tasks and personal use, I think Google Forms do the job nicely.

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Posted in Professional Development

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