Google Classroom Sync Issues



At the moment, scores from Google Classroom are not reliably syncing to TeacherEase.  Many scores are coming through, but some are not.  This is a very serious issue, and has created significant frustration for our users.  We wanted to communicate with the hope that more information could improve the situation.


We have been actively working on this issue since early last week.  As it turns out, the problem is being caused by a bug in Google’s Classroom API. API’s are technical integrations used widely among technology companies that, when working properly, allow systems to communicate and share data. When you make a change in Google Classroom, the API alerts TeacherEase, which in turn requests the new data and populates the gradebook.  This worked well until Friday 1/15, when our inbound notification volume fell by more than half (see below).  For an unknown reason, Google stopped sending notifications for many changes in their system.  Without these notifications, we don't know to pull score updates from Classroom.



Through online discussions we’ve learned this has affected other systems in addition to TeacherEase.  Since the problem is outside our technical infrastructure, we don't have access to the code, and can’t fix it ourselves.  Since it affects our users, we wanted to discuss the steps we’re taking to improve the situation.


Our first step was to release a “Resync Now with Google” button.  This allows teachers to manually pull in the latest data from Google for an assignment.  While it’s not as good as automated imports, teachers can easily pull in scores (not type them in).  We put a menu item on “Scores / Comments” to activate the resync.



We also added a button to “Enter Scores / Comments by Assignment”



Our second action was to engage with Google on this issue.  We found this bug in their issue tracking system (reported by another user) and added useful technical information to help them solve the problem.  Currently we don’t have a projected resolution time or other useful information on this issue.


Finally we’re going to update our sync system.  In addition to pulling scores in response to push notifications, we’ll also more liberally query Google for scores.  We should be able to find scores that weren’t updated for recent assignments, and pull those in automatically.  Syncing will take more time than before (likely between 15min and a few hours), and the two systems should be consistent every morning.  We’ll provide an update when we have more information to share.


We’re sorry for the inconvenience this problem has caused.  Hopefully we can help Google fix the issue, or put in place a good workaround.  Thank you for your patience.



The Common Goal Team