Saturday, August 8, 2015

Can Google Classrooms replace a LMS like Moodle for some uses?

We use Moodle as a LMS for some of our remote learning work.  We don't love it. I'm looking for an alternative. Right now, Canvass by Instructure is the hot LMS but it seems to have gone from free open source to commercial and pricey. Their website is full of "Try it Free" and if you have questions, "Fill in this form" but there's not mention of pricing anywhere which makes me think it's pricey!

I've heard noise about Google Classrooms and I'm trying to ascertain what it is and what it isn't.

Google says:  Classroom is a new tool in Google Apps for Education that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes. More....It's a suite of productivity tools...

Classroom is only available for Google Apps for Education users at this time.

Here's my question. Can I use Google Classrooms instead of Moodle as a way to give out assignments, collect them, grade them, return them? 

I asked on a Google forum and was told:

"...  Google Classrooms does not offer a core comprehensive grade book or other traditional features found in other LMS solutions.

I asked whether Google Forms could be used with Classroom as a way to get assignments from students.

Answer: "there currently isn't an embedded Forms or Quizzing feature within Google Classroom but using Google forms is still a very useful way to collect data or quiz students."

When I checked on Google forms to see it could handle the technology enhanced features required for CCSS assessments, I see that Google Forms supports these data types:
Google Forms Supports These Inputs
The test sounds like a short answer input. Paragraph is longer. Multiple choice is what it sounds like.  However, I don't see any way to use this for automated grading.  I can't imagine why Google hasn't added a basic set of LMS features since it set up teachers and classrooms. I wonder if they would accept a third party to develop it..

Here's the Google forum discussion:

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