Google Classroom has updated since this post. Many elements of this are similar but there is no longer an About Tab for students to locate the class folder. They can still locate the class folder on the home page tile and also on the Classwork page.
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Google Classroom: Students, Easily Find Your Work
When a student joins Google Classroom a folder is created in Google Drive named “Classroom.” Within this folder is a folder for each class. All of the students work for that class is in the class folder in Google Drive.
Easily Find Work
Instead of clicking on the title of the course, students instead click on the folder icon. All of their work for that class is right there.
Assign Students to Open Folder
Students occasionally tell me they can not find their work. Try assigning students to locate the folder icon in Google Classroom.
While in the folder with no documents selected, students can press the letter i to open the info pane in Google Drive. There is also an i icon in the toolbar students can press to view the info pane. The student should see an activity record of documents created, edited and commented on for that folder. You may want students to take a screenshot of their activity pane and submit it.
Sort by Last Modified
Next to the date modified is the name of the person who last modified it. If the teacher made comments on the document, the student should be able to tell from Google Drive. The teacher’s name will be next to the date stamp.
One thing that drives me bonkers about Google Classroom is ownership switching. When a student turns in an assignment the teacher becomes the owner of the document and the student is switched to viewer. This means the student is UNABLE TO SEE ANY COMMENTS ON THE DOCUMENT while the teacher is the owner. This means it is really important that the teacher “RETURNS” the documents to the students promptly.
Switching ownership also causes issues when the work is long term. Students should be “persevering in problem-solving” meaning, returning back to the same work and adding to it with new information over a period of time. Students lose editing access when they turn in work and they lose access to feedback conversations left in the document which are essential for learning.
It is important to understand that documents in Google Classroom are NOT attached, they are linked. Removing a document from Google Classroom does NOT remove the document (or the sharing permissions) from Google Drive. On the assignment submission page, students simply click on the X of the linked document to unlink it from Google Classroom. This allows them to “Mark as Done” so the assignment is not late and allows the student to keep working on, for example, their journal.
Find it In Google Drive
Both the teacher and the student can find the unlinked student document in the Classroom folder in Google Drive. Even though the student unlinked, for example, their journal, they can easily return to the journal to add to it by clicking on the folder icon on the class tile or on the About tab.
The teacher can easily find the students journal by clicking on the assignment title in the Stream and clicking on the folder icon for that assignment. All student “journals” will be in that folder whether or not they are linked in Google Classroom. Using the Info pane (press i) or sorting by “Last Modified” the teacher can easily see which students have been working on their “journal” and provide feedback.