Google Sites is a website builder that works well for presenting simple information. The learning curve is very quick and it’s extremely easy to use once you know how it works.
Google Sites ad-free and is included with your Champlain Google account – and it’s also included with your students’ Google accounts, too. That means you not only can use Sites yourself, but ask your students to build Sites as part of assignments – in some cases, a simple website is a great alternative to a paper or Slides presentation.
Google Sites integrates extremely well with other G-Suite applications like Docs, Slides, YouTube, etc., which makes it a great choice for many academic uses.
Sites also has many of the same sharing settings that other G-Suite applications have, which is handy because it allows you to make a basic website that is public, limited to the Champlain community only, or limited to just a few select users in the community. This increases its potential as an academic tool because it can serve as a private digital gallery or portfolio that is shared only with the student(s) whose work is in the portfolio and you as the instructor.
Google Sites’ feature list is still short – it covers the basics but doesn’t offer many advanced features (although more are being added over time). However, for many people and many purposes, Google Sites’ simplicity and user-friendliness are just the right thing.
Some ways you might use Google Sites in your flex-hybrid courses include:
- As an online gallery showing the work of a group of students or a class section – for example, some instructors use it as a way to showcase students’ final projects
- As a digital portfolio in which individuals or small groups of students collect and curate their written or artistic work over the course of a semester
- As a way to collect documentation showing progress in project-based learning
- As a way for students (or groups) to present research findings. This can be a nice alternative to the conventional research paper format because it allows direct linking to sources and the posting of multimedia content related to the research topic.
- As a way for students to collaborate on a project (even if the final presentation format is not a Site)
- As a “knowledge base” or “wiki” on the topic of study for the course, to which every student is expected to contribute.