Google Classroom is a free collaboration tool for teachers and students. Teachers can create an online classroom, invite students to the class then create and distribute assignments. Within the Google Classroom students and teachers can have conversations about the assignments and teachers can track the student’s progress. As COVID-19 swept through the nation, more and more of our schools took to remote learning. Currently, there are no integration features for many Student Information Systems (SIS) & Learning Management Systems (LMS) that teachers across the nation use. This case study is ongoing, and will be updated as it develops.
Step One: The Problem
- Many K-12 schools are now operating solely online.
- Google Classroom is used by many districts.
- 80 million users utilize G Suite for Education (Pre-COVID)
- 30 million use Google Classroom
- A potential solution will:
- Improve productivity
- Increase ease of use
- Decrease stress
Risks & Uncertainties
- Will people leave Google Classroom for our competitors?
- What if districts won’t buy a Google Classroom/PowerSchool integration?
- How do we navigate our budget?
- Who is our market? Who are our users? Who are the decision makers? Who are the buyers?
- Will PowerSchool exist in a few years? If Google Classroom changes the API, will the integration continue?
Step Two: Target Market
Using TrustRadius, we’ve developed a competitive analysis between Google Classroom & it’s major competitors (PowerSchool Unified Classroom, Canvas, & Blackboard Learn). Looking into some of the key features of Google Classroom, we can see how it compares to the other education platforms. It ranks average among the UI, lower with the support rating, and on the lower end of likelihood to recommend. As far as SIS Integration goes, you can see that there is a significant lack of integration among many of the education platforms.
|Google Classroom||PowerSchool Unified Classroom||Canvas||Blackboard Learn|
|User Friendly UI||9||7||9||10|
|SIS Integration||Infinite Campus||PowerSchool||PowerSchool, Infinite Campus, & Others||PowerSchool|
|Application Integration||Google Drive||Office 365, Google Drive||Google Drive, Office 365||Office 365, Google Drive|
|Likelihood to Recommend||8.7||8.5||9.3||7.5|
Upon sending out a user survey, we received 22 responses from teachers across the US. From these surveys, we were made aware of 3 main pain points:
- Feedback – The current feedback feature allows generalized feedback for the document/assignment as a whole, but does not allow for feedback on specific parts.
- Grading UI – Slow, does not allow for filtering, and there is no way to transfer one student (& their grades) to another teacher or class.
- SIS Integration – There is no way to integrate with many of the SIS platforms that districts & school systems require for grade reporting.
“….importing grades from Google Classroom to PowerSchool SUCKS! It’s usually easier to type them by hand!”-US Teacher
“Grades don’t transfer between classes when students transfer so I enter them manually. In the past, I have never received scores from other teachers, so when they transfer from another teacher they start with a grading blank state. So all scores would be exempt from anything previous to their move which could help or hurt the student.”-US Teacher
Step Three: Product Strategy
Using the DHM Framework, my team & I worked together to brainstorm some ideas for each of the questions that the DHM Framework asks.
High-Level Road Map
Using the DHM Framework answers, we developed a list of potential strategies to implement as the Google Classroom PMs. We also chose a few proxy metrics to measure each of the strategies, and mapped these to a high-level road map.
|Now (0-3 mo)||Next (next qtr)||Later (6+ mo)|
|Deliver Exceptional UX||Improve the UI||Reduce Churn|
|Improve the UI||Parent/Guardian Portal||Increase Market Share|
|Centralize Grading||Label Options (e.g.,”late assignment”)||Integrate with PowerSchool|
Step Four: Solution
Following some deeper competitive analysis & using the Kano model, we came up with a value proposition for our ideas to improve Google Classroom.
Google Classroom teachers want a simple grading solution. Providing integration with PowerSchool & easy transfer of grades between teachers meets this desire. Google Classroom currently beats the competition except in this area. This solution will keep Google Classroom as a market leader.
Using our value proposition, I sketched out some simple wireframes displaying our potential solutions & feature additions. These include:
- Way to transfer students between classes
- Way to transfer student information to SIS
- UI improvements to filter & toggle views of students
- Option to exempt student from assignment
- Option to mark assignment as late
- Ability to grade with student names hidden
- Ability to send reminders about missing grades
- Ability to email guardians of student
After talking it over with my group & discussing what we wanted for our solution, we came up with this idea:
I worked on Figma to prototype out what this solution might look like:
Use Cases & User Stories
Using the prototype and user testing feedback, we came up with a few use cases & user stories that our improvement to Google Classroom would require.
Use Case #1: Transfer from Google Classroom to PowerSchool
|User Story||Acceptance Criteria|
|As a teacher I want to transfer all student grades from Google Classroom to PowerSchool.||
|As a teacher I want to transfer one student or assignment from Google Classroom to PowerSchool.||
|As a teacher I want to transfer specific aggregate data from Google Classroom to PowerSchool.||
Use Case #2: Transfer from Teacher to Teacher
|User Story||Acceptance Criteria|
|As a teacher I want to transfer a student to another teacher so the student can continue their school year without losing their prior work.||
|As a teacher I want to receive a student transferred into my class, so I can incorporate their previous grades into the rest of their school year.||
|As a teacher I want to move a student from one of my class periods to a different class period in order to meet requirements & maintain their assignments.||
We took the above user stories and evaluated them based on impact, required effort, and our confidence to determine the prioritization.
|User Story||Teacher Impact||Student Impact||Effort||Confidence||Rank|
|As a teacher I want to transfer a student to another teacher so the student can continue their school year without losing their prior work.||5||8||6||80%||3|
|As a teacher I want to receive a student transferred into my class, so I can incorporate their previous grades into the rest of their school year.||8||8||6||80%||2|
|As a teacher I want to move a student from one of my class periods to a different class period in order to meet requirements & maintain their assignments.||9||8||4||100%||1|
|As a teacher I want to transfer all student grades from Google Classroom to PowerSchool.||9||4||7||50%||4|
|As a teacher I want to transfer one student or assignment from Google Classroom to PowerSchool.||5||4||5||50%||5|
|As a teacher I want to transfer specific aggregate data from Google Classroom to PowerSchool.||6||3||6||50%||6|
User Story Mapping
We mapped each of the user stories to their overarching use case, as well as developed tasks for each of our “teams” to get done. Check out our user story mapping below!
To see the user story mapping as a whole, download the pdf below!
Using our story mapping, we determined a release plan working in sprints to get our product out as early as possible. We broke it down into three different release plans:
Dev Release Plan: We started by breaking down our user stories into different sprints in order to give our “team” enough time to work on each user story & meet the acceptance criteria. This also included some administrative planning like securing beta testing schools, marketing, and working with the pricing to determine how these new features would affect the pricing of the Google Classroom Suite.
Beta Testing Plan: This was to verify that our beta testing would go for a certain length of time, specifically the first 9 weeks of the Spring semester in order to ensure our beta testers would be utilizing every aspect of our new features. This plan also includes the start of user research based off of those interactions with our beta testers.
Overall Release Plan: In order to tie all of our planning together, we decided to make an overall release plan that doesn’t go into as much detail as the other two plans. This one includes everything post-beta testing that we believe we need in order to get our product to market.
Last Updated: October 14, 2020
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