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Create a Google Document for Real-Time Collaboration With Your Class

A major benefit to using Google Drive is having the ability to do real-time collaboration when using the Google Docs file formats, which is Google’s built-in productivity suite of apps, similar to Microsoft Office, but on the web. With Google Docs, you’ll have the capability to collaborate in real-time with others allowing your entire class to simultaneously update a single Google Document file, while maintaining the ability to track all of the changes, view the history to see who made what change, and restore previous versions.

Here, we will show you how to create a Google Document, share it with your class to simultaneously edit, and provide additional information on collaboration options.

For an overview about Google Docs and for more complete information on using Google Docs (external link) , visit Google’s support site.

  • Create a Google Document
  • Share a Google Document
  • Collaborate on a Google Document

Please follow the instructions below:

1. In your class folder in Google Drive, or simply from your My Drive, create Google Document by clicking the New > Google Docs.

Create a new Google Doc menu

2. This opens up a web based document that can be edited just like using Microsoft Word. All changes made are saved automatically.

3. Be sure to give your document a title by clicking the Untitled Document text in the upper left hand corner of your new document.

Title of a new Google Doc
  1. The sharing interface in Google Drive is the same whether you are sharing a folder or single file in Google Drive. To share the Google document with your students, select the blue Share button Share button in the upper right hand corner of the document.

    If you are creating this document in an existing shared class folder, the document will already be shared with your students as the file permissions are inherited from the folder sharing.

  2. In the Add people and groups field, you have a few options for sharing with your class to add all of your students:

    Share with people and groups dialog

    If you have a list of your student’s email addresses, you can simply copy and paste them into this box as prompted, to add and share with everyone in the class

    You can request a course Google Group which would allow you to share the files and folders with the entire class using one email address (this will additionally give you mailing list functionality to reach your entire class with an email).  For more information on Google Groups, and how to request one, please visit TMU’s Google Groups guide page (opens in new window) .
  3. To allow your students to make edits (collaborate) on the Google Document you must give them “Editor” permissions.  Otherwise, you can give them read-only access to a file, or to all files in the folder by selecting “Viewer” or “Commentor”.

    Granting "Editor" access on a file

Note: When you share a file or folder with your students, and give them “Editor” permissions, they are considered collaborators or “editors” of this folder. By default, editors are also allowed to add new people to the file and to change the permissions on the folder:

  1. Select the Share with people settings icon at the top right of the window.
  2. In the Sharing settings window, under “Share with people settings” uncheck the box beside Editors can change permissions and share and select Save.

       Advanced sharing settings, "Editors can change permission and share".