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Leverage your course Google Group

When you request a "Course Shell", both a Brightspace shell and Google Group are created. Anyone you add to the shell using Self Service - including sections of students, TAs and co-Instructors - are added as members to both the Brightspace shell and the Google Group.

Uses for Google Groups in a course:

  • Simplify email communication (using a single email address for the group)
  • Facilitate the sharing of resources (using a host of Google Workspace tools in Google Drive)
  • Create collaborative activities with your students

Google Groups can be found in, under "Apps".

 Course-based Google Group Basics

Start by requesting your Course Shell, if you haven't already done so. Whether the students will be added right away will depend on the timing - and whether the course section appears in your list on MyServiceHub.

If the course section does appear in your list on MyServiceHub

When completing the shell request, you will be able to specify the course-section and any enrolled students will be added right away.

If the course section doesn't appear in your list on MyServiceHub yet

When completing the shell request, you will only be able to identify the course code for the purpose of properly naming the Course Shell. You won't be able to identify the student section(s) yet - and so the students won't be added.

You will have to use the Self Service tools to connect the student section to the shell once it appears in your MyServiceHub list.

If your "Course Shell" has already been requested, you should have received a confirmation email with the "shell code". 

If the shell code is abc123_w22_01, the Google Group address is Use this address to email your Google Group members and share resources in Google Drive.

You can also go to Google Groups directly and find your group.

Google Groups created as a part of a shell request will expire at the same time as the shell.

Course-based Google Groups are active for the terms the course is running. If you indicated that your course ran across twp terms, when requesting your shell, it will be active for both terms.

You can confirm the End Date for your shell by going to the Manage Shell Self Service tool in

 Tips for sharing Google resources with your students 

We've heard from many instructors who would like to share content, but prevent it from being downloaded by the students. 

This isn't something that can be set on an entire folder - you need to enable it on each item.

This will not prevent students from recording their screens, taking photos/screenshots or copying and pasting sections of text.

This setting does not disable downloading for those with edit access to the item.

Find the "share" settings in Google Drive
  • Create or upload an item into your shared Google drive folder.
  • Right-click the item, then select "Share".
Google doc sharing settings icon
  • In the "Share with people and groups" pop-up, look to the top-right and click the settings icon.
  • Some new options will appear - un-check the box "Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print and copy".
  • Click the arrow to go back to the sharing settings.
  • Click "Done".

Are your students emailing you to request access to a Google document that you know you have already shared with the class?

It may be that the student has another Google account that is conflicting with their Toronto Metropolitan University account, and is preventing them from accessing your shared resources.

Here is a workflow that should prevent this problem.

These instructions can also be found on the student guide to accessing content in D2L Brightspace - please feel free to share it with them.

Google drive warning "you need access"
Google settings "Add another account"

These steps will help to ensure you can access content that is shared with you from Google Drive.

  1. Go to (external link)  and click on the user icon in the top-right corner. Not only will this page tell you which account you are currently logged into, you will be able to logout or add your Toronto Metropolitan University account to this list.
  2. Once you get to this screen, you can either "sign out of all accounts" (the quick method) or click "add another account" and then proceed to login using your Toronto Metropolitan University email address and password. (In the example here, you will see that I have both my Toronto Metropolitan University account and my personal account listed)
  3. Go to and log out completely. You're going to start the login process from scratch.
  4. After logging out, log back in at Complete the remaining steps within 30 minutes.
  5. Click on Apps and open Google Drive, just to ensure you have a new session in your Toronto Metropolitan University Google account.
  6. Proceed to the page or application from which you are trying to access shared Google content (D2L Brightspace, email, or another application used in your course).

The "quick method" (logging out of Google) is useful for a one-time access of materials, but adding your Toronto Metropolitan University account will ensure your access isn't impeded long-term. If your course relies heavily on materials shared from Google Drive, adding your Toronto Metropolitan University account may be the better option.

Another tip: use a different web browser for your Toronto Metropolitan University work than for your personal communications. We recommend using Chrome if you use Google tools at Toronto Metropolitan University frequently, so consider using something like Mozilla Firefox or Safari for your personal accounts.

Additional resources for Google Groups: