Google Classroom is a powerful tool to help you and your students collaborate and communicate, but when used year after year, it can start to become a bit of a mess and a management challenge. To help with this, there are several suggestions to consider for Classroom when wrapping up the school year.
See below for six steps that may help you clean up your Classroom as you transition from one school year to the next. However, keep in mind these are all just suggestions and each is optional. While some may not apply to your situation, hopefully several will assist you in keeping your Classroom organized, clutter-free, and efficient for a new year.
Tip #1 - Return all student work
One of the great features of Google Classroom is how it streamlines the process for turning in work. When a student turns in an assignment, Google automatically changes the sharing permissions on the file (or files), making you the owner and reducing the student's rights to view-only. This is helpful for grading, but you don't want to leave it this way.
When done grading an assignment you want to make sure to return the files to your students, so the ownership of the files will revert back to the students. This is especially critical if later you decide to clean up your Drive and delete old files. If you are still the owner of the students' work, when you delete it, you are really deleting the file. However, if you have returned the files, you are no longer the owner, so if you delete them, all it does is remove them from your Drive.
So, one of the first tips to consider is to make sure you have properly returned all the Classroom assignments to your students. One way to do this would be:
Tip #2 - Un-enroll students from old classes
Another possible clean-up step is to remove students from the old classes. This may be an option for you if you prefer not to have students accessing content from your class in the future.
For example, this could be for academic integrity issues if you do not want students showing certain course content to new classes in future years. Of course, no cheating-prevention solution is guaranteed, as students can always find many ways around preventative measures. Still though, it is an option that may help.
If you decide you would like to unenroll students from old courses, you can do the following:
Tip #3 - Archive old classes
When you are done with a class, a good way to clean up Classroom is to archive the old classes. Archiving is a process that:
Tip #4 - Remove old class calendars
When you create a class in Google Classroom, and then make assignments with due dates, this automatically creates a Google Calendar for the class. This is a convenient way for your and your students to go to Google Calendar and see upcoming due dates for classwork and projects throughout the course of the school year.
However, when the year is over and the class is done, you don't really need that calendar showing up anymore. If you have a number of classes, they can quickly clutter up your calendar list. Thankfully there are a couple of easy options for removing the calendars for old classes.
Tip #5 - Move old class folders in Drive
Because Google Classroom automates the sharing and collaborating process, it is easy to forget what is actually going on behind the scenes in Google Drive. For each class you create in Google Classroom, a folder gets created in your Google Drive where all of the assignment documents and other files are stored.
Now you may never open that Classroom folder in Drive, so this tip may not apply to you at all. However, you may choose to browse that folder as another option for easy access to all your students' submitted work. If that is the case, the "Classroom" folder in your Drive can get pretty crowded over the years.
If it helps, you are allowed to move class folders to a new location in your Drive, so only the current class folders are easily visible. Here's how:
Moving class folders does not interfere with their use in Google Classroom in any way. It simply cleans up your "Classroom" folder to make it easier for you to find current classes, if so desired.
Tip #6 - Remove old class files from "Shared with me" in Drive
When files get shared as part of a Classroom assignment, sometimes the files will also show up in the "Shared with me" area of your Google Drive. If you have a lots of students and lot of assignments, this can cause quite a mess in "Shared with me".
Now I am of the philosophy that it is not really worth the fight to try to keep "Shared with me" clean or organized in any way. I tend to think of it as Grand Central Station and just accept the fact that it will always be a mess.
However, if you really want to clean up "Shared with me" you are allowed to remove files from there. So you may want to consider getting rid of old files from this year's classes.
First though, two quick but important notes:
To remove a file from "Shared with me" do the following:
Google Classroom is a wonderful tool to help you and your students share documents, have discussions, access resources, and more. However, even something as useful as Classroom can become cluttered and less efficient if we fail to manage it well. Hopefully some of the tips shared above will be useful for you, and will help keep your Classroom running smoothly.
If you have other suggestions for end-of-year clean-up and management of Classroom, please share them in the comments below.