I had hardly any experience with Google Docs until about a month ago when I was working on a project with a partner as part of a course. Aside from having convienient online storage, there isn’t much to be noted about cloud applications until you need to work collaboratively across a group.
Once you have that need, however, it is incredible the ease with which you can collaborate and produce a cohesive project among more than one person. Emailing a .doc file, tracking changes, and getting headaches are things that spawn a disjointed and often noticeably splintered project. Given the ability to look at the same document at the same time is something that greatly improves this process, but it doesn’t seem to be something that we are used to doing, and that makes it difficult to explain.
In my mind, it takes a good experience with a Google Doc project in order to add it to the list of things that actually increase your productivity, instead of staying on the other popular list: those things that seem like they might help but really just aren’t worth it in the end (cheap shot, sorry).
Can I foresee any issues between Google Docs and faculty on a campus? I guess I could, though once it was explained, I can’t come up with a valid reason against it. Obviously it increases the availability of student assignments on the web, though if the assignment was designed to be completed by a group, I don’t see any ethical issues with that at all. An individual who was misusing the online availability of the document by sharing it inappropriately with other peers may present a problem, but I don’t see this as a large enough issue to reduce adoption of Google Docs (or any online office suite) on campus.