Google Classroom: The Missing Features

Missing Features Graphics

Google Apps for EducationGAFE for short – is a superb, free digital platform for anyone working in education and Classroom is the latest and greatest entry into the GAFE kingdom. Classroom empowers the teachers and students to use Google Drive to its full potential in tackling the assignments workflow and perhaps the best part is that there is no need for anyone to know all the details about Drive use. Drive still does all the heavy lifting behind the scenes but the extremely easy-to-use Classroom interface makes it a breeze to get the assignments just right.

The Classroom team has been updating the service at a ferocious pace according to the feedback from thousands of educators worldwide but, of course, there are still things that might get just a little bit better. In fact, I’d guess Classroom will never be ‘fully baked’; simply because there are always students and teachers asking for additional features and the team keeps listening – and iterating!

So, the ‘missing features’ I’m referring to here just might be the latest new features rolled out a couple of days (or hours) ago when you are reading this post – but hey, that would be just fine with me! These features I’d like to see implemented soon are connected to the notion of control; yes, I know there are those who think I’m a control freak.. Hello Tiina, my friend! Anyway, here goes.

Missing feature #1: Real Life Deadlines

Why are deadlines called deadlines? Probably because if you miss them, you might find yourself in a very tough situation. So, I think there should be an option for the teacher to enforce ‘hard’ deadlines, Doctopus style (shoot, Classroom owes so much to Doctopus and gClassFolders so why not go all the way while you’re at it?). Most often it’s fine with me that the students can turn in their assignments even after the deadline but there are occasions when I sure would like the deadline to be – kinda deadly!

Missing feature #2: Restricted Unsubmit

The way it’s now, the students can unsubmit their assignments any time – and I mean any time, even while the teacher is working with the assignments way after the (so called) deadline. Just imagine the situation: you have this one evening to get the job done, the huge coffee mug is filled to the brim and conveniently within reach, you fire up Classroom and notice that those very assignments you needed to go through have been snatched back by the students! I don’t know about you but I sure would be very unhappy.

Missing feature #3? Nope but interesting anyway

Using Classroom, the students do fully own their documents which is, of course, logical and possibly something that just couldn’t be in any other way especially in higher education. However, this means also that there are countless ownership changes of Docs / Sheets /Whatever when the assignments are assigned, submitted, returned and submitted again. Things can get slightly complicated and – here I go again! – this setup doesn’t seem to allow for the kind of control the teacher has when using the Doctopus add-on I mentioned earlier. Luckily, there is nothing that stops you from using Doctopus together with Classroom!

No additional missing features, then? Well, honestly, no major ones I can come to think of right now. In case that will happen later on, I sure will file a feature request – and I count on you doing the same thing. That’s the way we make things happen in the Classroom!

About niiloa

Language teacher, EdTech coach, GSuite superadmin, EU eTwinning Ambassador, advocate for international school collaboration
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7 Responses to Google Classroom: The Missing Features

  1. Aaron Hansen says:

    Rubric grading. That’s the biggest missing feature. I can cope with the soft vs. hard deadline issues. But I really want a better way to grade my students. There are several positive models of online rubrics out there. If google would just pay attention to them like it has by modeling many of it’s features from doctopus, it would then be a complete tool. Or at least in my humble opinion. =)

  2. niiloa says:

    Definitely a valid point. I kinda figured there just might be more than two missing features :) There is no way to do this using autoCrat Goobric or some other add-on? I do realise that it’s a hassle using external stuff, however. I take it, you have left feedback about this Aaron – good things come to those who do :)

  3. I have one more suggestion, to be able to make comments to all the submitted documents and once you are done show them to the students. Right now if everything’s not done the same time some students get the results while some don’t.

    • niiloa says:

      A really good one, also from my point of view – some kind of ‘draft’ comments that could be published in one sweep when the teacher is done with the whole Classroom group, right? Let’s give the team feedback!

  4. floo says:

    Classroom needs a gradebook. Badly. The other issue that I wish they would fix is that you can assign something to a bunch of classes by clicking the boxes in the drop down, but you cannot do that (click multiple boxes) and save a draft to each Classroom. You have to do it manually for each class. I have eight sections and it truly is a pain to have to keep copying and pasting the same thing over and over to all my classrooms in order to save it as a draft.

  5. Kim Nilsson says:

    You can actually use Goobric with Classroom. Stillman released a guide a long time ago. It of course involves using Doctupus also.

    Another thing, I don’g think you can assign individual assignments? Or assignments to groups within the class.

    • niiloa says:

      Right Kim, Goobric + Doctopus + Classroom is apparently a powerful combo – even though it takes some doing since it’s not bulit-in :) No group assignments yet in Classroom, that’s correct.

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