Tech Tidbits – New Changes to Google Classroom January 2019

You may have noticed that Google Classroom has changed again as of the start of the 2019 year. Google has heard the feedback from it’s Classroom users and has incorporated that into some of the changes that they have implemented. They have also added some extra additions to allow you to customize Classroom more. Back in December, you may recall that I announced that we were apart of the Locked Quizzes Beta. You will also notice that as part of that Beta, they have added a Gradebook. The Google Classroom Gradebook does not integrate with eSchool unfortunately so you will still need to use TAC as your official grade application. Below you will find more details about each of the new changes in Google Classroom.

Drag and drop on the Classwork page

Now you can drag and drop entire topics and individual Classwork items to rearrange them easily on the page. You can drag an entire topic to a specific location on the Classwork page, or drag individual items within—and in between—topics. This was a very popular request from the users including many staff members here at WV.

A fresh new look for Classroom

You’ll also see that Classroom has a fresh new look and feel. Back in 2014, Google’s introduced a new “material theme” to have more consistency across their products and platforms. Among the changes, you’ll see a more intuitive design flow—plus a new approach to shape, color, iconography and typography. They have also made the class code easier to access and project so students can easily find and join. And finally, Google has introduced 78 new themes with custom illustrations, ranging from history to math to hair dressing to photography. Now, you can customize your Classroom more than ever before.

Better grading in Classroom

Google is continuing to strengthen the grading process in Classroom with a beta for a new Gradebook to better enable teachers to keep their assignments and grades in one place, and keep this important task more organized. Here are a few things you can do with the new Gradebook:

  • View grades in one place: A new Grades page lets you can view a grid of submissions across assignments to easily enter grades, saving time and providing a holistic picture of a student’s progress.
  • Average grades: In the gradebook grid, you can view average grades per assignment and per student, and see the overall performance in your class. You can share progress with students, so they can track their grades and know where they need to improve.
  • Grade categories & settings: You can select how to calculate grades (weighted average or total points-based), add grade categories to classwork, and choose whether you’d like students to see their average grades. Access these from the Settings page.

The About link is gone

The about link was changed in the last major update, but now Google has removed it completely. You can still add a description to your course by clicking on the Settings cog but links will not be clickable. The description will now show up as drop down arrow at the top of the header of your class. To add a link to your web page or other links, such as to Google Drive folders and files, use the Materials option in the Classwork section. On the Classwork page, click Create and choose the Material option. Give it a title such as My Website, Class Folder, etc and then at the bottom choose the appropriate option such as URL, Google Drive File, etc.

For those into video overviews, here is a Classroom 101 overview video from Google.



  • I am reusing a classroom this semester and would love a button to change things back to draft or hide mode. Is there a way I can do that now?

    • Rather than reuse the Classroom, you would be better served to archive the class, create a new class and then Reuse the assignments from the archived class. When you reuse the assignment, you can schedule the assignment or create a draft.

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