I was once sitting in an meeting of the Gaming Special Interest Group at a CALICO Conference (I mention these details because this is a great group within a great organization — check them out) when we got to the point in the agenda where we needed to collect the names and email addresses of everyone in the group.
Rather than passing around a pen and a pad of paper, I whipped up a Google Form on my iPad and passed that around instead. Not only was it so quick and easy that I had the form created and the information collected before the end of the 30-minute meeting, but I didn’t have to try to decipher anyone’s handwriting in order to get their email address.
The simplest Google Forms look like online surveys. As the form is completed, the answers are uploaded to a Google Spreadsheet. And, like all of the different types of Google documents in Google Drive, the form and the spreadsheet can be made public, private, or unlisted and multiple collaborators can be given various levels of access from owning to editing to viewing. Of course, private information entered into the form is still archived by Google. If your institution, like mine, has protocols involving what information can and can’t be stored in the cloud, you may want to investigate those before using these tools.
If you’ve never created a Google Form, take a look at the above video for a 5-minute walkthough. Then open Google Drive, sign up for a free Google account (or sign in if you already have one) and create your form. It’s easier than you think.