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In this article

  • What happens when a Google Classroom is deleted?
  • What happens when a student is deleted from the Classroom?
  • Google Classroom data retention management

A Complete Guide to Google Classroom Data Retention

7 Dec 2021
10 min read

Google created Google Classroom – a free learning platform – to simplify the process of creating, distributing, and grading assignments. It allows teachers to create an online classroom where they can manage all the documents that their students need. As of 2021, around 150 million students, educators, and school leaders around the world rely on Google Classroom. Widespread use of Google Classroom also means there is an increase in risk of data loss due to a wide variety of reasons. The absence of recycle bin in Google Classroom makes it tricky for IT administrators to retain Classroom data.  

This article explains the different ways in which admins can retain Google Classroom data.  

1. What happens when a Google Classroom is deleted?

Google Classroom does not have a trash folder. Once a classroom is deleted, it gets permanently deleted. Files and folders shared within the classroom can still be accessed through the relevant Drive folders. All the other data associated with the classroom – assignments, questions, announcements, calendar, people, and grades - gets deleted permanently.
Here is what a user (a teacher) had to say about accidental deletions in Google Classroom:

google classroom retention-user error

2. What happens when a student is deleted from the Classroom?

Removing a student from a classroom removes their grades(Marks) from the gradebook. The student will no longer be able to see the assignments in the classroom. The student’s work remains in the class folder in Google Drive, and their posts remain in the class stream.

Quiz Time!
How do you choose to backup your Google Classroom data?

3. Google Classroom data retention management

3.1 Archiving

Google Classroom allows the teacher to archive a class once the teaching is completed. When a class is archived, it goes under the ‘Archived Classes’ section and no student or teacher will be able to see the class on their ‘Classes’ page. The teacher (primary teacher and co-teachers) and students can view the archived class in their ‘Archived Classes’ section.

Teachers and co-teachers can archive a class, but only the primary teacher can delete it.

3.1.1 What happens to an archived class?

  • The archived classroom disappears from your active classroom list.

  • The archived classroom will be placed under the ‘Archived Classes’ section.

  • The teachers and students will be able to view the archived class from the ‘Archived Classes’ section.

  • Archived classes cannot be modified by teachers or students unless they are restored.

  • If you want to use an archived classroom, you will have to restore it.

  • Teachers and students will be able to access any class materials in their respective Google Drive.

  • Students will not be able to unenroll from an archived class.

  • The class calendar will remain in the teacher’s and student’s Google Calendar. You will have to delete the calendar separately if you don’t need it anymore.

3.1.2 How can you archive a Google Classroom?

To archive a Google Classroom:

  • Step 2: On the respective class card, click on the three dotted lines and select ‘Archive’

google classroom retention- archive

3.1.3 How can you view an archived Classroom?

To view an archived classroom:

google classroom retention - archived classes
  • Step 4: Select the class you want to view.

3.1.4 How can you restore an archived Classroom?

To restore an archived classroom:

  • Step 2: Click on Menu at the top left corner.

  • Step 3: Click on ‘Archived Classes.’

  • Step 4: Click ‘More’ on the class card that you want to restore.

  • Step 5: Click 'Restore.'

google classroom retention-restore

3.2 Transfer ownership

If a teacher is leaving the school or changing the class, the teacher or the administrator can transfer the ownership of the class to someone else.

3.2.1 For teachers

The primary teacher can transfer the ownership of a class to a co-teacher to make them the primary teacher. The co-teacher becomes the primary teacher only if they accept the transfer request. After the transfer, the initial primary teacher becomes the co-teacher of the class.

If your primary teacher account is deleted before you transfer ownership of your classes, some of the class features won't work.

3.2.1.1 Who can you transfer ownership to?

If you use Classroom with a Google Workspace or Google Workspace for Education account: You can only transfer ownership to a co-teacher in your domain.  

If you use Classroom with a personal Google account: You can only transfer ownership to a co-teacher who uses Classroom with a personal Google Account. 

3.2.1.2. Who owns class materials after the transfer?

After you transfer class ownership, the new primary teacher owns:

  • The class Google Drive folder

  • Materials in the class templates folder

  • Turned-in student work

3.2.1.3 How to transfer class ownership?

  • Step 2: Click the respective class and click on ‘People.’

  • Step 3: Next to the teacher's name, click ‘More ‘and click on ‘Make class owner.’

  • Step 4: Click 'Invite'.

You get a confirmation email when the transfer finishes.

3.2.2 For Google Workspace administrators

Here, the new teacher doesn’t have to accept the transfer request for the transfer to occur. 

3.2.2.1 Who can you transfer ownership to? 

As an administrator, you can transfer the ownership of a class to any teacher in your domain using the Classroom API

Once the transfer is done, the new teacher becomes the primary teacher of the class, and the original teacher becomes the co-teacher of the class.  

3.2.2.2 Who owns class materials after the transfer? 

After you transfer class ownership, the new primary teacher owns: 

  • The class Google Drive folder

  • Materials in the class templates folder

  • Turned-in student work

Before you delete a teacher's account, confirm that the teacher's classes are no longer in use by students or co-teachers. If not, all the classes associated with the teacher’s account gets deleted permanently.

Because of the absence of a recycle bin, Google Classroom data gets deleted permanently. Google Classroom does not provide any native features to recover Google Classroom data and hence, recovering deleted Google Classroom data can get tricky. Click here to check our in-depth article to recover permanently deleted Google Classroom data using Google Workspace native features and third-party tools.

3.3 Third-party Google Classroom backup tools

While the native features offered by Google are helpful in retaining your Google data to a large extent, they do not serve as a backup solution. Google is not responsible for backing up your data. Here is what Google says in their Terms of Service

"When permitted by law, Google, & Google’s suppliers and distributors, will not be responsible for lost profits, revenues, or data, financial losses or indirect, special, consequential, exemplary, or punitive damages." 

3.3.1 Why should you have a third-party backup solution?

  • Limitations of native retention settings: The limited native data native retention capability offered by Google Classroom is a serious risk for educators and schools. Having a third-party backup solution for Google Classroom is critical.

  • Easy restoration: Third - party tools such as SysCloud, can restore Google Classroom data easily so students and teachers can continue without interruption.

  • Fast backups: Take faster backup even for large classrooms

  • Protection against ransomware And phishing: Third-party applications like SysCloud secures your data during ransomware and phishing attacks by automatically identifying a safe backup snapshot to restore the affected file(s).

3.3.2 How SysCloud offers advanced data retention and recovery options for Google Classroom

SysCloud’s advanced data retention and recovery options lets you:

  • Restore assignments, questions, materials, announcements, calendar, people, and grades back to the user account in just a few clicks.

  • Directly restore data back to its previous location with all sharing permissions and folder structure still intact.

  • Restore data to another user’s account.

  • Permit teachers/staff to restore their own files to facilitate faster recovery.

  • Receive regular reports on the status of your backup, restore, and usage reports.

  • Define retention rules for an unlimited period of time.

  • Locate and recover Google Classroom data within the backup archives using advanced search options.

3.3.3 What does SysCloud restore?

FeaturesSysCloudGoogle Classroom
Assignments

Questions

Materials

Show More

 

3.3.4 SysCloud vs native Google Classroom retention

FeaturesSysCloudNative features
Unlimited data restore

Restore any file with folder structure

Restore past version automatically

Show More

 

In this article

  • What happens when a Google Classroom is deleted?
  • What happens when a student is deleted from the Classroom?
  • Google Classroom data retention management
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