Give feedback via Google Forms + Mail Merge.

This following post is for the slightly advanced Google Docs users. We will be installing a script in your Google Doc that will automatically email students feedback using a Google Form. This post presupposes you know how to make an assessment grid in using Google Forms. The advantages of this is that a teacher can email students personalized feedback using a simple Google Form without having to share the entire document with everybody. This way the attained scores and feedback remain private. The initial installation will take a few minutes to set up.

 

You will need.

– Something to assess and give feedback on.

– A Google Form in which you fill in the scores and feedback (see image for example)

– The MailMerge script called “FormEmailer” – Email addresses of the students.

For this assignment students had to write a review of the play 39 Steps which they saw in London during the school trip. These reviews had to be posted on their ePortfolio’s. To grade them, I visit each individual ePortfolio and fill in a Google Form for each. The results would gather in a spreadsheet which I then use to calculate their final grade.
Previously I would share this spreadsheet with all of the students so that they could find their score next to their names. However, not all of the students appreciated this as they weren’t comfortable with everybody seeing their scores.

 

MailMerge solves this problem. 
MailMerge is the technology of using a template to send automated personalized emails to a high number of people. FormEmailer is the MailMerge script that we will use. 

 

Before you install the FormEmailer script, you need to make sure that your feedback form has got the option to fill in the students email adresses. This way the script will know who to send it to. If you are making a grid that will be used by different teachers you can also add a checklist option with the names of the different teachers. That way, the student will get an email that is signed by their own teacher instead of the teacher who made the form.

 

Once you have got the Google Form go to the Spreadsheet view and install FormEmailer. To do this go to: Tools -> Script Gallery -> search for FormEmailer -> click install.

 

 

Authorize the script and “FormEmailer” will show up in your Toolbar next to the “Help” button.  Click on it and click on “Install”.

 

The script will then work it’s magic and add a new sheet. You can Toggle between these sheets at the bottom. Normally your results will all gather in the sheet simply called, “sheet 1″.
Go back to, “sheet 1″. You won’t need to do anything with the FormEmailer sheet.

 

You will now need to think about what text is going to be in your email to your students. You can change this by going to -> FormEmailer -> Settings.

 

Mine looked like this.

 

As you can see you can edit the text in plain text or in HTML. The phrases between the hashtags are replaced by your input for that question in your Google Form. They will need to have the same name as the columns in the corresponding spreadsheet in order to work. You can easily make these using the “Answer placeholder” and “insert placeholder” options.

 

Once you have got that saved and closed you can start filling in the feedback forms and send the forms.

 

To send a form click on -> FormEmailer -> Process Manually add the lines from which you want to start processing and add * if you want the rest to be processed as well.

 

My personalised email ended up looking like this.

 

 

There are quite a few scripts that do the same thing differently such as ValMerge and Rich Mail Merge.
Try all of them out. FormEmailer is by no means much superior to the other scripts, it just fitted my needs best for this assignment and is quite easy to use.

 

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2 comments on “Give feedback via Google Forms + Mail Merge.
  1. Should have seen this one day earlier:-)
    Yesterday I did something like this handmade:
    http://www.trendmatcher.nl/2012/08/bevestigingsmailtje-ontvangen-na.html

  2. Nath says:

    Thank you ! You have saved me an hour at the photocopier trying to copy and edit feedback forms for my students (and another good half hour trying to work this out with the tec guy at school !!) You’re a genius ! Gold star :-)

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