Google templates in the Assignment tool


A popular feature of Google Classroom is the option to create a copy of and individualize Google documents for students. We have brought this functionality into our own assignment tool in itslearning. Teachers can select a document on their Google Drive so that each student or group  receive a copy when assignments are started.

Only for G Suite for Education
This functionality is only available for organizations that have G Suite for Education.

Setting up the G Suite integration

Before teachers can start using the templating functionality in assignments, the administrator needs to setup the G suite and itslearning integration. There are actions that need to be completed by a site administrator to modify both G Suite and itslearning administration settings.

For more information, please contact your site administrator and refer to Connecting your G Suite Domain to itslearning.

Using a Template File in Assignments

The following video provides a full overview on using templates:

Once the G Suite domain has been connected to itslearning, teachers can start using the templating functionality in the assignment tool.

 Changes happening on Google Drive during the whole templating process are displayed like this.

Setting a Google document as template

In order to use a Google document as template, "Google Drive" needs to be selected from the "Add Files" menu.

Once "Google Drive" is selected, a popup will open containing the Google Drive of the account connected to the user.

By default, students will be able to view the file as any other file attachment. However, the teacher can choose to create a copy of the Google document for each student:

Multiple Google documents can be attached to assignments, but only one of them can be set as template:

As long as there are no submissions for the assignment, the file being used as the template file can be modified.

Once 'Create Assignment' is clicked, students are able to start completing assignments.

 A folder for the assignment is created on the Google Drive of the service account. This folder has 2 sub-folders: 'Answers' and 'Template'. The file selected as template is copied from the teacher's drive into the 'Template' sub-folder. Folders and files are shared with the teacher and can be found under "Shared with me".

The teacher can still make changes to the template file in the Template folder. However, when deleting a folder or file, the teacher will only deleted the link to the shared file or folder. This way we can be sure that files used in itslearning are not accidentally removed.

Answering a template assignment

When opening assignments, students will see that there is an answer file for this assignment.

If the student has not connected their Google account to their itslearning account, the student will be prompted to connect their Google account.

Once connected, the "Answer assignment" button will become available. Clicking this button will open the document in a new tab.

 A copy of the template file is made on the fly. This copy is added into Answers sub-folder of the assignment folder. The title of the file will be the name of the student + the name of the assignment.

Both the student as well as the teacher will get Edit permissions on this file.

In itslearning, a draft answer is created. The assignment page is automatically refreshed to reflect the current status. This allows the teacher to follow progress as soon as the student has started, and provide feedback.

When finished writing the answer, the student can click the Submit button. 

 The permissions of the student on the document are changed from Edit to View. 

Assessing the answer

The answer will open in the All-in-one grader.

 For example: If a substitute teacher is added to the course, they will be granted edit permissions on the document on the fly when opening the answer in itslearning.

The teacher can view the submitted document while assessing it and/or giving overall feedback.

To comment on parts of the document, it can be opened in a new window by clicking 'Open in Google Docs'.

If the teacher decides the student needs to resubmit their answer, this student will be granted edit permissions on the document again when they open the file from itslearning.

 When asked to resubmit, the permissions of the student on the document are changed from View to Edit. 

Group assignments

Template files can also be used in combination with group assignments. This works quite similar to individual assignments, with the following differences:

  • A copy will be made per group. On this copied document, a group member will get edit permissions once they open the file from itslearning.
    • If a group member does not open the file via itslearning, they will not be given permissions.
  • When submitting the answer, all group members (that have already opened the file) will have their permissions changed from Edit to View.
  • When the teacher asks to group to resubmit, Edit permissions will be given when opening the file via itslearning.

For more details, watch the feature video on group assignments and the templating feature:


It is possible to enable plagiarism together with templating. A copy of the submitted file will be downloaded in the background and sent to the plagiarism service. 

Note that the plagiarism percentage will likely be higher when using a template, since any text used in the template is likely to reoccur in all submissions.

Peer assessment

It is possible to enable plagiarism together with peer assessment. A copy of the submitted file will be downloaded as PDF in the background. Peers can use our document viewer to view and annotated on the file.

Adding to the Library

Assignments can be added to the library. Depending on the share scope (e.g. school vs. site vs. community), the assignment can be found by somebody outside the G Suite domain of the site that might or might not have their own G Suite integration.
In this case it will not be possible for students to get a copy of the file

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