Getting Started with Google Assignments

This article is intended for Stanford instructors who have signed up for the Google Assignments pilot and assumes Google Assignments has already been added to your course.

Two ways to use the Google integration with Canvas Assignments:

A. File Upload Assignment

A File Upload Assignment is the simplest way to use the integration. It provides a significant convenience to students who utilize Google Drive, without any workflow change from instructors. To setup a File Upload Assignment, follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to Assignments and create a new assignment.
  2. Name the Assignment and set the point value; other parameters are optional*
  3. For Submission Type, select Online.
  4. Select File Upload and proceed normally.
  5. Let students know you are participating in this pilot and send them the “How students can use their Google Drive for File Upload Assignments” guide for some tips. 
  6. Grade students’ work in SpeedGrader. You will not know the source of student documents, since Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations are converted to docx, xlsx, or pptx files in SpeedGrader. 

B. Google Assignments as an External Tool

To set up Google Assignments as an External Tool and unlock additional features, follow the instructions outlined below:

  1. Go to Assignments and create a new assignment.
  2. Name the Assignment and set the point value; other parameters are optional*
  3. For Submission Type, select External Tool.
  4. Click the Find button to see a list of tools.externaltool.png
  5. Select Google Assignments (LTI 1.3).
  6. You will be prompted to select your Google account. Instructors must choose the one ending with and click Continue.
  7. A “Create a Google assignment” window will pop-up with the following options:
    • Check plagiarism: compare student work to web pages and books on the internet. This option will not compare student work with journal databases or other papers submitted at the university. Note: Students are warned when this option is enabled and will have the opportunity to run three originality checks before submitting.
    • Attach template files: You may attach a Google Document as a template that each student will receive an editable copy of. The Google Document can’t be removed or edited once it is attached.  
  8. Before you save, select where you want to grade this assignment. How instructors and students share files shows both the Google Assignments grading workflow and the SpeedGrader grading workflow:
    • *Google Assignments: Points and due date you add to Google Assignments need to match the parameters of the Canvas assignment containing it — otherwise the grades won’t properly synch with the Canvas Gradebook. Grading will occur in Google, and instructors can mark up student submitted Google Document, Presentation, etc in Google. When you return an assignment, ownership transfers back to the student, students are notified by email (rather than through Canvas) and instructors retain a copy of the graded Google Document. Scores are then sent to Canvas where they are subject to your grade posting policy (Stanford’s default is manual but you can set it to automatic).
    • SpeedGrader: Google Documents submitted by students will be converted into their equivalent docx file (or xlsx or pptx) and appear in SpeedGrader for grading. Students will view their grades and feedback in Canvas. However, there are some differences from a standard File Upload assignment:
      • A Google Assignments section in the Canvas assignment which includes a list of students’ live Google Documents and links to check plagiarism (if you opted for it).
      • Submissions are also in your Google Drive in a folder called Assignments>Name of Your Course>Name of Your Assignment.
      • There is no Download All link for offline viewing but you can see student work offline if you have set up offline access in Google Drive for desktop (Google Documents graded in SpeedGrader are still owned by students so could change after submission, but you can review the history of the Google Document and refer to the submitted version in SpeedGrader later). 
  9. To familiarize students with Google Assignments, please share this “Start, revise & submit assignments” article with students.
  10. *If you chose to grade in Google Assignments, view the Open and review assignments guide to get an overview and index of related help articles such as:

Other benefits of Google Assignments

Outside of its use in assignments, the following functionality is also available to instructors

Troubleshooting and known issues