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What are Orphaned Google Classrooms?

Orphaned Google Classrooms are very similar to orphaned Google Drive files; the owner account of the classroom (teacher’s account) is deleted, so the classroom becomes orphaned (i.e. student-owned).

And just like unattended physical classrooms, Orphaned Google Classrooms can get super messy and bring K-12 IT teams unexpected admin pains when left unfixed/ unattended.

For instance, students can post inappropriate content there, share fake news, or even have unchecked conversations, etc.

That’s why as a K-12 admin it’s very important to audit these classrooms regularly, especially when performing start and end of school year Google Classroom tasks.

How to find Orphaned Google Classrooms?

  1. First, when a Google Classroom becomes orphaned you’ll see these tell-tale signs:
    -‘Unknown User’ displayed for the Classroom owner on the Classroom homepage and in the Stream.
    – The teacher account is removed completely from the People page.
  2. You can then use GAT+ to filter in Classrooms and find out if the owner was deleted.

find orphaned google classroom

How to fix Orphaned Google Classrooms?

There are two ways to address these Classrooms:

I. Change Ownership of Orphaned Google Classrooms to another teacher:

(This is ideal for when you don’t want to lose these classrooms, but would only like to  fix their orphaned status)

  1. Reactivate the “deleted” owner account.
  2. Change ownership of these classrooms to any other teacher in your domain.
  3. Re-delete or suspend the now ‘previous owner’s account.

II. Delete or Archive Orphaned Google Classrooms:

  1. Reactivate the “deleted” owner account.
  2. Delete or archive any Google Classrooms under that account.
  3. Re-delete or suspend the now ‘previous owner’s account.

PRO TIP: While you’re there you may also want to identify and delete unused Google Classrooms on your domain, here’s how.


Closing thoughts:

  1. Co-teachers in Orphaned Google Classrooms:
    When a Google Classroom is orphaned, existing co-teachers will still be able to access the classroom. However, unless the deleted account of the primary teacher (owner) is reactivated you won’t be able to transfer ownership to co-teachers, or any other teachers in your domain.
  2. Transfer Classroom Ownership before offboarding:
    Make sure to transfer Classroom ownership before deleting the original owner’s account when offboarding teachers. Otherwise, classrooms belonging to deleted accounts will become orphaned.
  3. Suspend more, delete less:
    Suspending teacher accounts is always better than deleting them to protect your domain against Orphaned Google Classrooms, as well as improve the retention of important resources linked to teacher accounts.

 

Thanks for sharing and spreading the word!