Create and collect assignments: Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly.
To "create assignments", I make a pdf in my favorite pdf-maker, then post it on the course website (a plain HTML page with links), then tell the students about it. To "collect assignments", I tell the students to email them to the course submission email -- shared between the lead instructor and the grader, if there is one.
They can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students.
I don't have the time to play policeman ("I see little Susie hasn't even started coding yet and the homework's due tomorrow"); if Susie wants my help she has my email.
 Improve class communications: Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class.
I can best "improve class communications" by talking to the damn students. If they want to talk to me and I'm around, there's email or coming by my office; if I don't respond to either, then chances are I won't be reachable by google widget, either.
 Stay organized: Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what's due on their Assignments page.'
They can easily see what's due by visiting the course website and seeing "Homework 4 (link) -- due Monday, April 14". Sorting things by assignment and by student is as simple as asking them to include their name and the assignment number in their submission, and running a perl script. For less technically inclined teachers, use whatever file-sifting features your OS of choice has.
I've seen highly-technologized courses run way off the rails, because there's a delusion that fancy computerization can take the place of talking to the students. It can't. The only instructional technology I really have a need for is:
1) The computers that we actually use (I teach computational physics) 2) A projector, so I can show them examples 3) A website, where they can download shit (pdf's of assignments and notes) and see what's due 4) Email
I so agree and you have my mod points. The only, and I mean only feature I actually like about these products is that I can see the grade distribution (as a student). For some reason I always like to see what the highest and lowest scores are, also, how much I beat the average by. The only blackboard one needs is an actual blackboard.
"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken