Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying the prevalence of group assignments in higher education. As someone who always enjoyed the collaborative nature of group assignments back when I was in school, I actually find myself a little envious of all the free and web based tools that are available to students today.

Google documents is an online software suite similar to that old standby, Microsoft Office. There’s a document editor similar to Word, you can create and manipulate spreadsheets much like Excel, design and play slide shows like Powerpoint, and much more.

Google Docs is available for free to anyone with a Google account, and is compatible with any files from Microsoft Office. But the best thing about these applications, is that you can share these documents with classmates and colleagues allowing them to view and edit the work you’ve done. This allows for a more seamless collaborative experience and saves a lot of time and frustration. If someone in your group isn’t pulling their weight, you will know before your group gets together and meets, and you can address issues like that earlier.

This video provides a brief and fun look at all that Google Docs has to offer:

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of cloud computing, it’s simply a term used to describe documents that don’t live on your hard drive. This frees you from concerns of losing them do to system crashes, and makes it that much easier to share and collaborate.

Shawn Abraham is SPS’ Virtual Campus Manager, which means he gets to have a lot of fun building an online community for the school.  He also has a lot of fun reading books about zombies.  These two things rarely intersect.