Google Classroom Higher Ed

Google Classroom Meet Blackboard by Mary Bennett

10 Reasons to Introduce
Google Classroom to Blackboard

1. MOBILE! On a tablet students are able to submit Assignments from their Google Drive, which is something you are not able to do in Blackboard.
2. LINK: You are able to add a link to Google Classroom from the Blackboard Course Menu so students are able to navigate easily between the two.
3. COPY: In Google Classroom you are able to copy Assignments from one class to the next, which is something you are not able to do in Blackboard.
4. TURN IN: When students upload files into Blackboard there is the possibility that they upload the wrong file, not in Google Classroom. Assignments for each student have a “Turn In” button so students do not have to browse for the file.
5. ANNOUNCE: Class Announcements may be shared easily in Google Classroom from one course to another. This is not something you can do in Blackboard.
6. FOLDER: In Blackboard files are stored in the Content Collection as they are uploaded in a rather haphazard way. Google Classroom automatically creates a folder structure by interpreting the creation and organization of both class folders and individual folders in Drive.
7. ACCESS: All of the Folders for each Classroom may be accessed from the Class icon when initially logging into Google Classroom.
8. NOTIFICATION: Students are notified of new Assignments and  changes in Grades via email and Assignments appear when they login to Google Classroom from the class icon. These features enhance the visibility and access of Assignments and Grades in a way not available in Blackboard.
9. IMPORT: If you use the Blackboard Grade Center, you are in luck as you are able to Import grades from Google Classroom to Blackboard.
10. PREVIEW: When adding files from Google Drive in Classroom students are able to preview the document. This is not possible in Blackboard which often results in the wrong file being submitted forcing the instructor to clear the attempt.

Thoughts From Mary Bennett

Several things happened in the summer of 2014 that have proved to be transformational in my role as an Instructional Designer.  1)  I was lucky enough to attend the Google Teacher Academy at the Google Headquarters in Mt. View, California where I was introduced to Google Classroom.  2) Fresno State launched the DISCOVERe Tablet Program which in turn amped up the use of mobile devices on campus.

As an Instructional Designer at Fresno State one of my roles  is to support and train faculty as they redesign their courses to be more interactive and collaborative with the use of tablets. We are a Blackboard campus and while this LMS has many advantages, such as the integration with our student data system and the many features for enriching learning, I have found that it lacks the communication, collaboration and organizational tools that are needed to prepare students with real world skills. Additionally, using Blackboard on a Tablet has proved frustrating for both instructors and students. When Google Classroom meets Blackboard these issues are resolved in some very exciting ways.

First of all, remember Google Classroom is not a LMS and not a replacement for Blackboard. Google Classroom is an amazing productivity/organizational tool available to anyone using Google Apps for Education. Google Classroom seamlessly integrates with Google Drive and is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly. The time-saving features alone have made believers from the faculty who have discovered Google Classroom. The ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student and the creation of Drive folders for each assignment within each classroom is an invaluable organizational feature.  In Google Classroom you are able to see instantly who has turned in work, in real time, and provide grades and feedback. The Stream in Classroom can be used for discussion, commenting, to send out assignments or even as a backchannel during live lecture.

These are just some of the reasons that Google Classroom and Blackboard need to become friends. Not to mention that while students are engaged with Google tools they have the opportunity to communicate and collaborate in many of the same ways they will in their careers. Introducing these two will not only help prepare students with real world skills but also play a valuable role in helping instructors save time, freeing them up to spend more time guiding and teaching.

Mary Bennett