Transitioning from Google Classroom to Microsoft Class Teams

by | Apr 16, 2019 | Teaching | 0 comments

Google Classroom and I have a wonderful relationship. I love the functionality of Classroom since I use active learning assignments in a flipped classroom. Even in online classes, this structure works well. Using our learning management system to grade the problem set assignments was very clunky. I could share one document, though, and all the students could edit their own document, which was my goal. But then I discovered Google Classroom, and I had the ability to share one document, have each student get their own copy, make due dates, and schedule when assignments post. Additionally, viewing documents after submission was smooth and quick, making grading easy. Then after grading, I could return ownership of the document back to the student, so they could continue to make edits as they studied. Win-win all around!

Recently, though, Microsoft Teams came into my life in a non-classroom capacity. I was using it for faculty groups I was a part of and was really liking it. I noticed there was an Assignments tab, which led me to discovering that you could create a Team for a class, and I was intrigued. This was the beginning of my straying from Classroom.

Not only can Class Teams with integration with OneNote Class Notebook, allow me to distribute handouts and assignments to my class, including scheduling when assignments display and setting a due date (so the same functions as Classroom), but Teams has a number of other collaborative tools available. A Conversations tab lets students chat about the content. Integrated apps bring in other software like Flipgrid. I’m excited to see how the students engage with the material and each other in this digital space. You can check out my plans for the class by visiting the NEU 300 Digital Syllabus

I think Classroom is easier to navigate and use if an instructor only needs a system to deliver document copies for students to edit and submit. Although OneNote Class Notebook can also be used solo to share assignments, instructors cannot control when assignments are made available nor schedule due dates for the assignments. Due dates are possible when Class Teams is integrated.

For faculty that teach fully online and want increased student engagement, though, I think (hope!) Class Teams is going to be the way to go. I will definitely update how this change works out!

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