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Google Course Kit: Upgrade your Learning Management System

Effective online teaching and learning require seamless collaboration, that is where the Learning Management System (LMS) came into the picture in the 1990s. 

If you are hearing about LMS for the first time, let me tell you, that LMS is a web-based software application that is effective for online school learning and corporate training.

Nowadays, LMS is essentially used for the online administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs.

From the EKKO (first fully-featured LMS) to present-day TalentLMS, Schoology and Canvas LMS, you will find that LMS software is used across all the regions. Worldwide it has the market potential to reach $22.4 billion by 2023. 

However, with all the LMS (including Apple’s Schoology), there are some inherent challenges, the major one being the process of document exchange. You will be surprised to know that students complete their assignments in MS-word and Google Docs and then upload the same on LMS. 

The compatibility of different doc formats with LMS further escalated the problems and led to time inefficiencies. For teachers and students, the use of spreadsheets, slides and pdf files with LMS is still a learning curve. 

And that is where Google Course Kit came into the picture. 

Why use Google Course Kit

Because, Google Course Kit is a sort of plugin, a free tool that helps integrate G Suite into the LMS. And by doing so, as a teacher, you will be able to use tools like Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Google Drive from within the existing LMS without disrupting classroom management or workflows. 

Course Kit features a built-in grading tool that allows teachers to create assignments directly on google docs, collect assignments, mark comments on even on pdf and manage feedback in one central place.

As a student, you can now save time by accessing Google drive directly from LMS and submitting the same without the hassle to upload. With Google Course Kit students need not worry about the compatibility and can use time effectively to complete assignments using doc, sheets, slides, and even PDFs. 

How to Use Google Course Kit

Google Course Kit is built using the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard. Hence course kit can be integrated with all LMSs that support LTI.

To get started with Google course kit you or the company needs to have a G Suite for education or any other LMS. As a tool, the Google Course Kit cannot be used alone and only works with LMSs that supports LTI.

Presently, the beta version of the Google Course Kit includes only two tools – an assignment tool and a file embed tool. 

Both of the tools help in making it fast and secure to integrate G Suite’s powerful collaboration capabilities into teaching and learning workflows.

You can call upon an administrator to install Course Kit in the LMS for teachers and students to use.

Once installed, teachers can use Google Course Kit’s assignment tool to create, collect, and grade assignments. You can find details on the assignment tool and workflow can be found in the next section.

The other thing that teachers can do is to use the file embed tool to share course materials within the LMS. The details can be found in the later section.

On the other hand, students do not require G Suite for Education accounts to submit their assignments. They can use either their LMS account (G Suite for Education account, if one is provided) or a personal Google Account.

You can learn here about Google Course Kit.

Google Course Kit Assignments- Automate Your Assignments 

Automated Stepwise Assignment Process Flow using Course Kit

  • The instructor creates an assignment in LMS
  • Makes it available to students
  • Students log in and complete their work
  • Instructors review submissions, give feedback and assign a grade
  • Course Kit syncs back the grade to the LMS grade book.

As a teacher, you can create an assignment in LMS using the Course Kit assignment tool.

The students can submit an assignment after the assignment is set up by the instructor and the assignment page is made available to them in the LMS.

Typical student login and assignment access page with integrated G drive page looks like  below image

Students have the freedom to attach any file type to their assignments, including

  • Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides
  • Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint
  • PDF
  • Image files
  • Text files
  • Video files (WebM, MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, AVI, MPEG-PS, WMV, FLV, OGG)

Here is the catch – in case a student submits a file unsupported by Docs or Drive, then the instructor does not have any choice but to download and view the file in the corresponding application. 

Here are the details of supported file types and file sizes that you can store in your Google Drive.  

Once students return in their completed work, students no longer have an edit or comment access to the original file. The Course Kit automatically manages permissions and students no longer have edit access while assignments are being graded.

However, the Course Kit makes a copy of the submitted file and stores it in the student’s Google Drive.

Now the teachers can finish reviewing assignments, provide grades and feedback on the document itself. 

The comments and grades are automatically synced to the LMS and files are returned back to the students. This saves a lot of time for teachers who earlier used to manage grades manually. 

Further, the students get notified immediately when their assignment is returned and they can view the comments and feedback directly in their LMS.

Here, the Course Kit also creates a copy of every returned assignment so that teachers can have an easy-to-access record of submissions. This is especially helpful if the assignment needs to be accessed and improved several times. 

How the Course Kit is Embedded with Google Drive and its Benefits 

Embed course materials with Course Kit

Using Course Kit’s file embed tool, you can easily add course materials directly from your Google Drive directly into LMS pages, thus making it easy to share materials seamlessly. 

The embed tool simplifies the process of sharing related materials because embedded files are already present in the LMS and you keep them organized in Drive.

Teachers can embed anything from assignment information and syllabus to lecture presentations and videos. Automatically sharing saves you from the manual configuring of the sharing settings.

Benefits of Google Course Kit

  • Saves time from uploading and downloading of documents.
  • Relieves from the headache of different file formats
  • Any file that can be stored in a Google Drive works with Course Kit.
  • Course Kit is available in 44 languages including Spanish, Dutch, French, Italiano, Polinski, Urdu, and Chinese.
  • Flexibility to give grades and add comments in the margins.
  • The tool automatically handles the permissions issues 
  • Students can operate through a linked Google account.

Conclusion 

Google Course Kit has made life easier by providing access to G drive, thus saving time and giving an enhanced teaching and learning experience for both students and teachers.

The kit takes LMS to the next level making it a must-go tool for everyone in online education.

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