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Share audio and video using Google Drive

Did you know?

When you upload certain media files to Google Drive, it processes them in such a way that they can be played back right in the browser – sort of like YouTube. This is why we recommend uploading larger media files to Google Drive instead of D2L Brightspace.

Limit how your files are shared

It is possible to limit how students share, print, download, and copy within Google Drive, (external link) but you can't stop how students share the file content in other ways (e.g. screenshots, recording the screen). You can only limit individual files, not entire folders.

If you are sharing an audio-embedded PowerPoint presentation, you will need to allow students to download the file to view the slideshow properly. 

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

Supported file types include:

  • Audio: MP3, MPEG, WAV, .ogg, .opus
  • Video: WebM, .MPEG4, .3GPP, .MOV, .AVI, .MPEGPS, .WMV, .FLV, .ogg

 Steps from Google Drive to Brightspace

If you've decided to use Google Drive to share resources with your students, we recommend you start by creating a shared class folder on Google Drive. If you already have one, you can proceed to the next step.

This folder can be shared with your class Google Group - this is a group whose members are the students in your class. The students will automatically be added/dropped from the group as they add/drop your section. A Google Group is automatically created when you request your Course Shell.

Next, create a folder (or a series of folders) in Google Drive and set the sharing permissions so that your Google Group has either Viewer or Editor access.

  1. Go to your class shared folder in Google Drive.
  2. Click the "New" button in the top-left corner.
  3. Click "File upload".
  4. Locate the file you want to upload from the folders on your computer.
  5. Click "Open" to begin the upload process.

After the upload has completed, Google will process the audio/video file so that it can be played directly in Google Drive. This may take some time to complete.

If you have a caption file (.srt or .sub) or a transcript file (.vtt) for your video, you can apply it to the video after it has been uploaded to Google Drive (external link) .

Instructors often ask why we recommend uploading video content to Google Drive, then linking it to D2L Brightspace instead of simply uploading it directly to D2L Brightspace.

Below, we have outlined a number of criteria that guide our recommendations. Hopefully, they can help you to decide which solution is best for you!

Criteria Google Drive D2L Brightspace Content

Streaming video can provide a better experience for students who don't have a fast internet connection.

Larger/longer videos highlight this disadvantage more than smaller/shorter videos.

Yes Limited

Captioning of the audio is required for students who cannot hear the audio, but can be an important learning and study tool for all students in the class.

Note that Google Drive does not provide automatic captioning of audio or video. You can attach a caption file in either tool.

Can attach a formatted caption (external link)  (SRT or SUB) or transcript (VTT) file.

Limited auto-captioning (needs editing!).

Can attach a formatted caption (SRT) or transcript (WebVTT) file.

Preventing downloading is discouraged for most study resources, as this practice may be necessary for students who must review course materials without an internet connection.

Some instructors may find it necessary to prevent downloading for certain files.

Yes, you can prevent users from downloading shared files
I can allow people to view this content in multiple ways (i.e. share with individuals, share through multiple course shells, share with groups, embed on public websites). Yes No. Only those in the course shell can see the content.
The person uploading this content must have a role in my D2L Brightspace shell like Course Builder, TA, or Instructor. No, they only need access to the folder in Google Drive. Yes
When added to the Content tool of my Brightspace shell, the video can play in the Brightspace interface with the shell navigation intact. Yes, depending on the settings chosen. Yes
Students may receive an error accessing this content if they have more than one Google account. Yes, but there is a login workflow that will help.
Uploading here requires an extra step to make the content available in the Content tool of  my Brightspace shell. Yes, a link must be added to the Content tool. No, content is usually uploaded directly to the Brightspace Content tool.

 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: