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Create a shared class folder on Google Drive

Did you know that Google Drive can be used to share documents, spreadsheets, forms, as well as audio and video - which can be played directly in Google drive?

If you've decided to use Google Drive to share resources with your students, we recommend you start by creating a shared folder on Google Drive. 

Once you create a folder and ensure the students have access to view the contents of the folder, all you need to do is upload the content to be shared!

Below, we have outlined two different ways of sharing this folder, depending on the nature of the content.

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

Important: If you plan to use Google Drive to have your students upload or collaborate on work, we recommend making the folder completely private.

Create a folder in Google Drive

  1. Click the "New" button in the top-left corner of Google Drive.
  2. Click "Folder" in the menu.
  3. Enter a name for the new folder. We recommend using a combination of your course code, term and section number (if appropriate).
  4. Click the "Create" button at the bottom.

 you can create folders within this folder to further organize the content you wish to share with your students.

Share the folder with your class

Now that you have a folder created for the class, you need to ensure the students can access it. This is done through the sharing settings in Google Drive.

If your content is private, and you only want the members of your class to be able to access it, you may want to use a class Google Group. 

Share to a specific group
  1. Go to the top of the main Google Drive window, and click the arrow next to the name of the folder.
  2. Click "Share" in the menu.
  3. On the "Share with people and groups" screen, type in the email address of the Google Group you created for your class. Hit the "Enter" or "Return" key on your keyboard.
  4. The window will update with some additional details. Look to the right of the class email address - you should see a dropdown menu, possibly with the label "Editor". Click this to review the sharing permission options.
  5. We recommend setting the permission to "Viewer", which will only allow your students to view the contents of the folder and not edit them, nor make changes to the folder itself.
  6. You may want to write a message to let the students know about the new class folder. An email will be sent to them with a link to the folder. Alternatively, you can uncheck the "Notify people" checkbox if you would prefer not to notify the students about the shared folder.
  7. Click the "Send" or "Share" button to proceed with the changes.

Note: Users will be required to login with only their Toronto Metropolitan University Google account in order to access this content.

If the content you are sharing isn't private, but you don't want it to be totally visible to the public, you may choose to share the folder with anyone at Toronto Metropolitan University who has the link to the content.

Please note that this setting may not be appropriate if your students will be contributing to the folder, or the documents contained within.

Share to everyone at Ryerson
  1. Go to the top of the main Google Drive window, and click the arrow next to the name of the folder.
  2. Click "Share" in the menu.
  3. On the "Share with people and groups" screen, look to the "Get link" section displayed at the bottom, and click the "Change link to Toronto Metropolitan University" link.
  4. On the "Get link" screen, confirm that it is now set so that "Anyone at Toronto Metropolitan University with this link can view" and click the "Copy link" button. This will copy the address of this item so that it can be pasted into another document (an email, D2L Brightspace, etc.).
  5. Click the "Done" button at the bottom to save the changes.

Note: Users will be required to login with only their Toronto Metropolitan University Google account in order to access this content. 


 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 Workspace: