Using Google Quizzes with Online Student Employee Training


Training student staff to work in a recreation facility is an important step to ensure that customer service, risk management, and job skills are all communicated effectively to the employees. Though much of the training we require is more effective when conducted in person, there are some parts that can be conducted just as effectively through an online venue. Sometimes, combining online information with in person training is even better! If students can receive the information first through an online venue, more time can be spent in person on the practical application of the information.

If we decide to provide training information online to our student staff, it is important that they understand the training before continuing on to the practical application. After students complete an online training session, we can test understanding using a Google quiz. The following provides step-by-step instructions for creating and using Google quizzes.

First, create a Google form using quiz questions you have written that are based on the training you provided. If you have never created a Google form before, you can find step-by-step instructions here. Most types of questions will work as long as there is an exact answer expected. For example, multiple choice questions work well, but an essay answer using a paragraph box may not be appropriate, since correct answers may differ slightly from the answer key. It would also be a good idea to select “Required” for each question so that students don’t inadvertently skip a question.



Once you have created your Google form, you can convert it to a quiz. In the upper right-hand corner of the form you will see a “gear” icon, which will take you to the “Settings” menu. Select “QUIZZES” from the menu.


You will then have the option to make the form a quiz by sliding the first button to the right. If you want your students to have immediate feedback on their quiz results, select “Immediately after each submission” under the Release Grade option. You can also select which options you would like your students to see. If students will need to retake the training if they don’t meet the minimum score, you may want to show which answers they missed, but not the correct answers. These options are up to you to either check or uncheck.


Next, you will need to create an answer key so that student submissions will be automatically scored. Click on the first question in the quiz. You will now see a link at the bottom called “ANSWER KEY.” Click on that link.


You will then be able to choose the correct answer, and set the point value for that question.


Continue to select the correct answer and choose the point value for all subsequent questions. Once you complete this step, you will want to set up a confirmation message so that students can see their score after they submit their answers. Click the “Settings” icon at the top of the page, and select “PRESENTATION.” Then type in a “confirmation message” that directs students on how to find their score, and instructs them on what to do if they did not earn the minimum score to pass the quiz. Once you have typed the confirmation message, select “SAVE.”


When students complete the quiz and submit their answers, they will receive a confirmation screen containing a link they can select to view their score. Below is an example based upon the confirmation message that was set in the above image.


You will now want to choose how to collect quiz responses. Select the “RESPONSES” menu item at the top of your quiz.


A screen will appear that contains a spreadsheet icon. Click on the icon.


You will be prompted to select a response destination. I would recommend selecting the “Create a new spreadsheet” option.


The new spreadsheet that will collect all of your quiz responses will open on the screen. The spreadsheet will show the name of the student who submitted the response, the day and time the response was submitted, their score, and the answers they selected for each question.


If you have determined the minimum score necessary for students to pass the quiz, you can easily see if a student has failed by using “conditional formatting.” Conditional formatting allows you to create a rule where if a certain condition exists, then the formatting in that cell will be different from all the other cells. On the top menu, select “Format,” then “Conditional formatting…”.


A box will pop up on the right side of the spreadsheet that you will use to create rules for formatting your spreadsheet. First, select the range of cells for the formatting. In this case, you want to format the column that contains the quiz scores.


Next, choose the condition for formatting the cells. The default selection is “Cell is not empty.” You can change this condition by clicking on the arrows beside this option.


A drop down list appears with choices for formatting. Since you want to be alerted if a student fails the quiz, select “Less than.”


Once “Less than” is selected, you can insert the minimum value needed for a passing grade. In this case, students must score at least 80% in order to pass the quiz. After you determine the formatting condition, you can choose the style you want to use. The default formatting style is to make the cell green. If you would rather use a different color, then select the arrow beside “Default” to bring up other formatting choices.


I would like failed scores to show up as red, so I have selected “Custom format.” I then have the ability to fill the cell with a red color if the score is below 80%. Select “Done” when finished.


Now let’s say that Joe Schmoe and Famous Amos have both taken the quiz. They submit their quiz answers and receive a confirmation message with the link they can choose to view their results. Below are samples of what each will see. Joe has scored 100/100, or 100% and Famous Amos has scored 60/100, or 60%. Famous Amos will need to retake the training and quiz.




The spreadsheet contains both students’ results, including when they took the quiz, their score, and which answers they missed. As you can see, since Famous Amos scored less than 80%, the cell containing his score is red.


Using Google quizzes and spreadsheets with conditional formatting can help you to complete training processes, especially when you have a large student employee staff, limited time for in person training, or when you need to hire new students in the middle of a semester. You can then follow up the training with practical applications.

Disclaimer: As of October 28, 2016, the steps listed above are, to the best of my knowledge, the ones needed to create and use a quiz in Google forms and to set conditional formatting in the responses spreadsheet. Google occasionally updates their Google Drive, Sheets, Forms, etc., and sometimes when this happens, old documents don’t work the same way with the new updates.





Use “Add Reminder” to Track Certification Expiration Dates


Campus Recreation Departments must do their best to maintain a safe environment for their facility users. One step in this process is to monitor required staff safety certifications and keep them up-to-date. Employees may be required to have CPR/AED and First Aid certifications (good for 2 years), bloodborne pathogens certs (good for 1 year), personal training and group fitness certs (expirations vary), and possibly other certifications with random expiration dates. Keeping up with certifications can be a daunting task, depending on the size of your staff, and the types of certifications required. Fortunately, Google sheets has a free add-on, called “Add Reminders,” that will email you a reminder when a certification is getting ready to expire.

Add Reminders can track dates in a spreadsheet column, and send you an email days, months, or even years before a certification will expire. You can set up multiple reminders for the same spreadsheet so you can keep track of different certifications. Here’s how to use the Add Reminders add-on:

  1. Set up a Google spreadsheet that contains the certifications you need to track. Make sure that you have separate columns containing each expiration date that you want to track. All column headers must be in the first row of the spreadsheet. Below is a sample of how your spreadsheet could look.


  1. On the top menu bar, click “Add-ons”, and select “Get Add-ons.”


  1. A pop-up screen will appear with a search box in the upper right-hand corner. Type “Add Reminders” in the box and hit the “return” key on your keyboard.


  1. Add Reminders should appear at the top of the search return list. Select “Free” to access the add-on.


  1. A box will pop up asking for you to allow the app to access your Google account. You will need to grant access in order to use the add-on.


  1. You will now see the Add Reminders add-on when you select the “Add-ons” menu item. Go ahead and select “Add Reminders,” then “Set up/ edit reminders.”


  1. A window will open on the right side of your spreadsheet. Select “Add Reminders.” If your spreadsheet contains more than one sheet, select the sheet where the reminder should be added.


  1. You can only add one reminder at a time. Select one column that contains the expiration dates that you would like to track. In this case, I am tracking CPR/AED expiration dates. I want to be notified one month before expiration, and I also want the student to be notified that their certification is getting ready to expire.

*Note: when setting up column headers, be more descriptive than just naming a column “expires.” Include the certification name as well, so you will be able to select the correct column when you get to this step.


Once you set up one Add Reminder, select “Done.” You can then add additional reminders for every certification you want to track by selecting “Add reminders” again.

  1. I have added three reminders to this spreadsheet: one for CPR/AED, one for First Aid, and one for Bloodborne Pathogens. You can see them all listed in the “Add Reminders” box.


  1. The “Add Reminders” add-on will track each date in the column(s) specified, and when the date is one month before the certification expires, an email is sent to the email associated with the Google account, as well as to the email associated with the date in the specified row. Once the reminder email is generated, a note is placed on the date indicating that a reminder was sent. The note is indicted by a black triangle in the corner of the cell.


  1. The Google sheet owner, and the employee associated with the expiration date, will both receive an email indicating which certification is one month away from expiring.
  2. NOTE: Once you update the certification that was getting ready to expire, you will need to delete the comment, noted by the black triangle in the cell (see number 10. above). This resets the cell so that Add Reminder can continue to track it.

Add Reminders will track and send emails, regardless of whether you have your Google sheets account open.

Disclaimer: As of March 10, 2016, the steps listed above are, to the best of my knowledge, the ones needed to set the reminders on your spreadsheet. Google occasionally updates their Google Drive, Sheets, Forms, etc., and sometimes when this happens, old add-ons don’t work the same way with the new products. Hopefully, if that happens, the Add-ons will also be updated.

I would be interested in hearing about how other Google Add-ons, or additional free technology tools, are being used in day-to-day campus recreation operations. Just make a comment below!

Surprise! Now Save My Life

During the summer of 2005, six of us drove from Lexington, KY to the tiny town of Mexican Hat, Utah (pop. 88) to begin a self-supported, multi-day river trip down the San Juan River. We drove through the night and arrived at our outfitter’s store at 4pm the following day. The thermometer on the store’s front porch read 110 degrees.

We walked into the store, passing an elderly couple who had just finished eating a late lunch at the small diner inside. As the couple drove away in their van, we secured our river permit and discussed driving to see the rock formations that are common in the area. As we stepped outside, the same van that had just left pulled back in front of the store. The man hopped out and told us that he needed help, that his wife had passed out.

We carried the woman inside and laid her on the floor. She was not breathing and had no pulse. An ambulance was called and I began CPR. About 20 minutes later, the ambulance arrived with an AED. They shocked her a few times and then loaded her into the ambulance for the 20 minute drive to the hospital. I knew that her survival was unlikely, and later found out from the outfitter that she had died. Though the ending wasn’t what we wanted, I was glad that we were able to provide the best care possible under the circumstances, especially for her husband’s sake.

At the time of this incident I had been a CPR instructor for almost 20 years. During part of this time I managed a city pool where I was responsible for lifeguard training. I made my lifeguards practice their CPR skills every day. Additionally, we ran “surprise” drills five times per week where the guards had to activate the emergency action plan, clear the pool, and perform a backboarding or near drowning scenario. I critiqued CPR skills hundreds of times each summer, and could recite the steps and perform the skills myself perfectly, every time.

That is why I was so surprised when I missed the most important step with the lady at Mexican Hat. I forgot to check for signs of life. I had assumed that she had passed out from the heat, and went to ask the outfitter for some damp towels. Luckily, one of my companions (who had taken one of my CPR classes) thought to check for breathing, and found there were no signs of life. There was really no break in appropriate care for the woman, but I should have known better. 

With all of my perfect CPR practice, I had never actually participated in a “surprise” drill where my brain had to go from “What rock formations should we see?” to “You have an unconscious victim. Go!” All of my practice was planned. That is why, to this day, I continue to have my student recreation center staff participate in surprise drills. Nothing prepares you for the real thing like the next best thing to the real thing. There is no warning, no pre-practice, no hint that something is going to happen. The surprise scenario begins and the staff members involved have to rely on their previous training to respond correctly.

Overall, staff members react very well to surprise drills. Sometimes we discover large-scale training deficiencies that we are able to correct. For example, when we practice skills during our monthly skills checks, the employee is in a controlled environment where they have the manikin, CPR mask, and AED readily available. When employees are stationed out in the facility, they carry first aid supplies, including their CPR mask, in a shoulder pouch. The CPR mask fits better in the pouch if the mask is compressed. During one of our surprise drills, a number of our staff did not realize that they needed to pop the mask out before using it. Now, when we do our monthly skills checks, we always give the employees a compressed mask so they can practice popping it out before performing CPR.

Here are the things we’ve found that help to make surprise drills more effective for our staff:

  • Always have the staff practice their skills in a controlled environment before running any surprise drills. It’s better to correct basic errors before expecting the staff to perform well in an unexpected setting. Staff should be able to perform CPR/AED skills flawlessly in a controlled setting. Be sure that you maintain high expectations and don’t be satisfied with “only a few mistakes.” Mistakes will be magnified many times over during a real emergency.
  • Recreate as many steps as possible during controlled practice. If employees are expected to communicate emergencies using a radio, have them practice using a radio during skills practice. Make sure they speak clearly and provide all important details, such as location of the emergency, condition of the victim, and as much additional information as possible that would help staff and paramedics better deal with the situation. Have them locate the needed equipment in their shoulder pouch or fanny pack if that is where their equipment is usually stored when they’re on duty. Have them put on protective gloves before practicing their skills. Set the stage as best you can to recreate a real situation.
  • We use manikins for our surprise drills, placing them in various areas around the facility. You can put an old lost-and-found t-shirt on the manikin so that employees can practice cutting away clothing in order to place the AED pads on the chest correctly.
  • Try your best to surprise the employees, but make sure they know it’s a drill BEFORE they actually call EMS. On the initial radio call, the person who is caring for the victim will preface their emergency communication by repeating: “This is a drill. This is a drill.”
  • We formed a Risk Management Team, composed of student supervisors who were interested in helping to train our staff. The team helps during surprise drills by watching different areas of the facility and reporting how employees perform during the drills.
  • Always provide immediate feedback, and take the time to correct any significant errors after the drill concludes. Record the results of the drill, including who participated, effectiveness of communication and skills, and any other pertinent information. We created a Google Doc to capture this information. This way you won’t always be “surprising” the same employees over and over.

Giving employees the opportunity to react in situations that closely resemble the “real thing” gives them confidence and increases the chance that they will act appropriately in a true emergency.

How do you prepare your staff to handle emergencies?