Teaching with Technology

Computing & Information Services

Using Google Drive for Classes

Google Drive provides many options for sharing, collaborating, and collecting work from students. Questions? Contact us at its@reed.edu

Sharing material with students

Turning off editing

Google Drive files are meant for collaborative work. If you are sharing files you do not want students to edit, make sure you change access from “edit” to “view."

Secure sharing

Sharing documents or folders with specific individuals is more secure than link sharing and offers more options for limiting sharing. Students will need to use their Reed Google accounts to access or edit the document, rather than personal Google accounts.

Sharing with a Google Group

CIS staff can create a Google Group for your class, which also serves as a mailing list for your class. You can share a file or folder with that group rather than entering all student email addresses individually. If you have already requested a course mailing list, you can simply enter that email address when sharing. Email its@reed.edu to request a Google Group for your class.

Creating a shared folder

If you plan to share multiple files with your students via Google Drive, you may want to set up a class folder. If students will be adding content to the folder, you may want to prevent them from adding other users to the folder to protect student privacy. Access the sharing settings by clicking on the gear icon, and uncheck the box next to “editors can change permissions and share.”

Sharing a copy link

You can modify a file's sharing so that people with access to the link will be prompted to create a copy of the file, which they can then edit without affecting the original. This is useful if you are creating worksheets or templates in Google Drive. Note that students may have to share their copied file back with you for you to see their edits.

Collecting work from students

Student privacy is a concern when using Google Drive to collect work from students. We suggest using Moodle Assignments as a secure way to collect student work. Here are some tips if you do choose to use Google Drive.

Student privacy

Unless student work is meant to be seen by all students in the class, do not use a shared folder in Google Drive as a way to collect student work. If you have questions about sharing in Drive, student work, and privacy, please contact us at its@reed.edu.

Due dates

Unlike static files that you might collect via email attachment or the Assignment activity in Moodle, Google Docs and Google Sheets can be updated at any time. You can see the time of the last update at the top of the document. For more information when the file was updated and what edits were made, go to File>Version history>show version history. If you would like to save the version of an assignment at the time of submission, you can make your own copy by selecting File>Make a copy.

Commenting on work

You can add comments to student work by clicking on the comment icon in the Google Docs or Sheets toolbar. If you would like to make line edits, use the dropdown menu on the upper right side, under the share button, to change your mode to suggesting.

As you are commenting, keep in mind that student “owners” of documents may get real-time email notifications of new comments. If you prefer to return all student work at the same time, you can make a copy of the file to comment on and share back when you are done by selecting File>Make a copy.