Course Kit FAQ

Instructors can use Course Kit to create and collect assignments, give feedback to students, and share course materials within the learning management system (LMS) they’re already using.

How Course Kit works with your LMS

Course Kit integrates with your LMS using Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) technology. An administrator installs Course Kit in the LMS for instructors and students to use.

Once installed, instructors can use Course Kit's assignment tool to create, collect, and grade assignments. Instructors can use Course Kit's file embed tool to seamlessly share course materials within the LMS. Grades assigned through Course Kit are synced to the LMS.

How Course Kit works with assignments

Instructors create an assignment in their LMS using the Course Kit assignment tool. After students turn in their assignments, instructors can review submissions, give feedback, and assign a grade. The grade is synced back to the LMS gradebook.

Students can 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, MPEGPS, WMV, FLV, OGG)

When students turn in their work, two things happen: Students no longer have edit or comment access to the original file sent to the instructor, and Course Kit makes a backup copy of the submitted file and stores it in the student's Google Drive.

Instructors use an interface powered by Google Docs and Google Drive to easily switch between students and their files. If a student submits a file that Google Docs or Google Drive doesn’t support, the instructor can download and view the file in the appropriate application. For more information, see Files you can store in Google Drive.

Instructors enter the assignment grade and overall feedback in Course Kit. The grade is then synced one way from Course Kit to the LMS and appears in the LMS gradebook. When the assignment is returned, ownership of the files is transferred back to the students and an archive copy of the graded file is stored in the instructor's Google Drive.

How Course Kit works with course materials

Instructors embed course materials (such as lecture slides and assignment information) stored in Google Drive into the LMS. Students can see the embedded files, and Course Kit automatically manages sharing and permission settings.

Overview

In what countries and languages is Course Kit available?

Course Kit is available in all countries where G Suite for Education is available. For a list of countries, see Qualifications for G Suite for Education.

Course Kit supports 44 languages: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese-Simplified, Chinese-Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English-UK, Estonian, Farsi, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese-Brazil, Portuguese-Portugal, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Spanish-Latin America, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

How much does Course Kit cost?

Course Kit, as a part of G Suite for Education, is free for educational institutions.

For more information, see Qualifications for G Suite for Education.

Does my organization need G Suite for Education to use Course Kit?

Yes. To use Course Kit, your organization needs G Suite for Education, which is free for educational institutions. To apply for a G Suite for Education account, see Get started with G Suite for Education.

How is Course Kit different from Google Classroom?

Google Classroom is a standalone tool that handles assignment workflows in Google Docs and Drive. It doesn’t integrate with learning management systems.

Course Kit can’t be used alone and only works with third-party learning management systems.

What browsers are supported?

Course Kit, a G Suite product, supports the latest version of Chrome, and the current and previous release of Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft browsers. For more information on G Suite browser support, see Supported browsers for G Suite.

Is Course Kit built for accessibility?

Yes, Course Kit is built to the same high accessibility standards all Google products are required to meet. Blind or low-vision users can use a screen reader to guide them through Course Kit.

How does Course Kit help instructors give feedback on assignments?

Instructors can use the rich collaboration features of Google Docs and Google Drive, such as in-line suggestions and margin comments, to give feedback on assignments. When grading assignments with Course Kit's assignment tool, instructors get access to a grading interface that makes it fast and easy to switch between students and their individual files all in one tab.

About Course Kit beta

How can I get my educational institution to participate in Course Kit beta?

To be eligible for Course Kit beta, your education institution must:

To participate, fill out the Course Kit beta interest form.

As a G Suite administrator, do I need to enable Course Kit in my domain's G Suite Admin Console?

No, once your domain is whitelisted for the Course Kit Beta, Course Kit doesn’t need to be separately enabled in the G Suite Admin Console.

Course Kit is enabled by installing the assignment tool and file embed tool into your LMS through the Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) standard. To generate LTI key and secret pairs to install Course Kit in your learning management system, see coursekit.google.com/admin.

Is Course Kit a core service of G Suite for Education?

Not yet. While in beta, Course Kit isn’t a core service of G Suite for Education.

Link your Google Account

Do instructors need G Suite for Education accounts to use Course Kit?

Yes. G Suite for Education accounts with Google Docs and Google Drive enabled are required to create, collect, and grade assignments and embed course materials using Course Kit. Teaching assistants and co-instructors also need G Suite for Education accounts to be able to assist with grading assignments and giving feedback.

Do students need G Suite for Education accounts to use Course Kit?

No. Students don’t need G Suite for Education accounts to submit their assignments. They can use either their G Suite for Education account (if one is provided) or a personal Google Account. Submitted assignments will always go to an instructor's FERPA-compliant G Suite for Education account.

Can instructors use different Google Accounts for different courses?

Yes. For example, if an instructor teaches in different departments, or in a graduate school that provides separate Google Accounts, they can associate the appropriate Google Account with the appropriate course.

Manage files and permissions

What happens to an assignment file when it gets submitted?

When a student submits an assignment, ownership of the file is transferred from the student to the instructor. The file remains in its original location in the student’s Google Drive (it isn’t moved), but the student’s permissions on the file are changed to View, which prevents the student from editing the file or seeing comments while the file is graded.

Also, a backup copy of every assignment file is automatically created in the student’s Drive, inside a course folder in the root-level Course Kit folder*. The student owns the backup copy, and it isn’t shared with the instructor.

*The Course Kit folder can be renamed by the student.

What happens to an assignment file when it gets returned?

After an instructor returns an assignment, ownership of the file is transferred from the instructor to the student. The file remains shared with the instructor who has comment access, so they can view and respond to margin comments, but the instructor can’t make direct edits.

Additionally, a backup copy of every assignment file is automatically made in an automatically created course folder inside a root-level Course Kit* folder in the instructor’s Drive. This copies the assignment in the state it was in when it was returned, complete with margin comments and suggestions. The instructor owns the backup copy, and it isn’t shared with the student. This is so the instructor has a permanent record of the assignment for later reference.

Note: The Course Kit folder can be renamed by the instructor.

What happens if an institution needs to refer to an assignment after it’s been returned?

An instructor can move the archived copies of returned assignments from their Drive into a Team Drive. Alternatively, if an institution needs to access a previous assignment file without the assistance of an instructor, have the G Suite for Education administrator use Google Vault, if the assignment files are covered by the document retention rules established in Vault.

Assign and return grades

When I return an assignment, is the grade synced back to the LMS?

Yes, the grade is synced one way from Course Kit to the learning management system (LMS) and appears in the LMS gradebook.

Is it possible to return an assignment without a grade?

Yes, if the grade field is left empty. However, if the assignment is ungraded, the open LTI standard can’t indicate that an assignment has been completed. The learning management system can’t distinguish between ungraded and unsubmitted assignments.

How does a student receive an assignment once it’s returned?

Course Kit sends an email to the student. The email contains a link to the assignment page in the learning management system, where students can see links to the submitted files, the overall assignment feedback, and the grade.

Can a returned assignment be resubmitted or regraded if necessary?

Yes. Regrading works the same way as submitting, grading, and returning the first time, with the following exceptions:

  • The previous grade is displayed next to the grade field, to provide context for giving a new grade. Only the most recent grade is synced to the learning management system.
  • Previous overall feedback is displayed, and new overall feedback is in a separate text box.

Add co-instructors

Can co-instructors grade assignments?

Yes. Each assignment can have multiple graders. To use multiple graders for an assignment:

  • The additional instructor(s) and TAs need to be an instructor or TA role in the LMS.
  • When the additional instructor or TA goes to the assignment in the LMS, Course Kit will prompt them to request access to be added as a grader for the assignment.
  • The primary instructor (instructor who first created an assignment using Course Kit) receives an email notifying them of the request. The primary instructor must approve this request.
  • Once the request is approved, the additional instructor or TA receives an email and can link their Google Account to the course and begin grading.
  • A G Suite for Education account is required for each additional instructor/TA.

Embed and share course materials

What files can be embedded and shared with the Course Kit file embed tool?

Instructors can embed and share all files that you can store in Google Drive, including:

  • Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides
  • Microsoft®️ Word®️, Excel®️, or PowerPoint®️
  • PDF
  • Image files
  • Text files
  • Video files (WEBM, MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, AVI, MPEGPS, WMV, FLV, OGG)
Do I need to adjust file sharing settings in advance before I embed files?

No, the Course Kit file embed tool automatically manages file sharing permissions so the course can access and view the files.

Can files be edited when embedded to share?

Embedded files in the learning management system can only be viewed. Editing and commenting isn’t supported for embedded files. If students have access to commenting or editing in the document, they must open the file in a new tab to complete these tasks.

Additional common questions

Does this tool integrate with any originality checking (plagiarism detection) services?

No, but we’re aware plagiarism detection analysis is often an important part of the assignment workflow.

If you want to run an originality check on an assignment, create two identical assignments in the LMS. In the first assignment, students submit their work with Course Kit. In the second assignment, students submit their files to the institution’s originality checking service. We're exploring ways to improve this workflow.

Does Course Kit support group assignments?

No, but we’re aware plagiarism detection analysis is often an important part of the assignment workflow.

Course Kit doesn’t have a specific learning management system integration or settings for group assignments. However, you can create a group project workflow:

  1. Tell each group to create a Google Doc and share it with group members for editing. 
  2. The owner of the files submits the assignment for grading.
  3. Grade the assignment. Leave overall feedback as a margin comment or suggestion. 
    Note: The overall feedback field is only visible to the owner of the file and not to the group.
  4. In your learning management system gradebook, record the grade for the other group members.
Does Course Kit support peer review of assignments?

Course Kit doesn’t have a feature for peer review. However, you can create a peer review workflow:

  1. Ask your students to start their assignments in Google Docs.
  2. Tell students to share their files with their peer reviewer.
  3. The peer reviewer leaves margin comments and suggestions in the Doc.
  4. Students then turn in their assignments, leaving in the peer’s comments and suggestions.
  5. Grade the assignments. Optionally, you can record a separate peer reviewer grade in a parallel gradebook column in your learning management system.
Does Course Kit support rubric grading?

No. However, if the assignment is set up with a rubric in the learning management system (LMS), that rubric can be filled out within the LMS for student submissions.

We’re aware that adding rubrics in the Course Kit grading interface is a desired feature.

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