Google Announces New Classroom API Feature for Better Coursework and...

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Google Announces New Classroom API Feature for Better Coursework and Gradebook Integration

By Mary Jo Madda (Columnist)     May 18, 2016

Google Announces New Classroom API Feature for Better Coursework and Gradebook Integration

It’s the Google I/O conference this week (May 18-20), so get ready for a slew of Google announcements for the EDU community—both for edtech entrepreneurs and developers, and for the education practitioner community.

Today’s news speaks to fans of Classroom, Google’s Drive-integrated learning management system. After Classroom first launched in summer of 2014, the Google team launched the Classroom API so that developers could integrate their applications directly with Classroom—something that 50 partners have taken advantage of, thus far. With that announcement also came the “Share” button, which lets teachers and students directly “assign or turn-in links, videos and images from another webpage or product” in Classroom.

But users wanted more, specifically relating to coursework and grading. So Google announced today that it's added a “coursework” element to the API, meaning that developers can now have their tools be a part of the assignment workflow in Classroom. “Classroom will now be taking assignments from a third-party learning content tool. Likewise, if you've got an edtech tool, assignments can now be pushed over to Classroom,” reports Jonathan Rochelle, director of product management at Google.

GeoGebra demonstrates new coursework API above.

Additionally, the Google for Education blog shares that gradebooks and reporting systems will now sync grades with Classroom—meaning that teachers no longer have to manually transfer grades.

Rochelle reports that a coursework API was the most requested feature from both Classroom users and developers. On the user side, Classroom fans would tell Rochelle, “‘I just want to get myself and the kids over to the learning platform as fast as possible.'" Hence, he and his team endeavored to deliver on that feature, satisfying users and giving developers flexibility to focus more on making great content. “Let Classroom handle the workflow and communication part,” Rochelle says.

Today’s announcement also comes with new functionality in Classroom’s existing course and roster APIs, specifically course Drive folders, groups and materials, and more broadly, new APIs for Google Sheets and Google Slides—including a function that will allow users to generate slides decks from collections of data. Read more on all education-related API updates or the more general API developer news on the Google blog.


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