Google Drive: The Ins And Outs

December 3, 2015 Todd DeSchuiteneer

If you are using our Learning Management System, onCampus, you’re probably familiar with our drop box feature that provides teachers with a means to collect student assignment files online.  A few months ago we introduced a new option on this feature that allows your students to submit files from their online storage in Google Drive.  With the addition of Google Drive, students can submit their documents as files or links for the teacher.  This allows the teachers to see all their student’s submissions and keep them organized by assignment to view them easily later.  
 

Setting up this feature is relatively easy and we provide a full set of instructions on the set up screen which can be found within Core > Settings >Google Drive.
 

A few things clarified, if you currently use our integration for Google Apps for Education, the Google Drive portion is completely separate and neither have anything to do with the other.  Separate Google Projects need to be created in order to provide the intended functionality.  When creating the project, we recommend doing this as a generic Admin user within your Google Domain.  

Read more to see tips to keep your teachers happy!

As a Product Support Lead for onCampus I see a lot of questions come across my desk regarding this topic.  As a former employee of a school I know the importance of keeping those teachers happy! Below I have listed a few tips to pass on to teachers using this feature actively to reduce frustration in the future.
 

  • Sharing.  This question comes up a lot.  “Do students have to share their document with Teachers even if they submit the assignment through the software?” and the answer is, absolutely.  There are many great features in within Drive that Teachers and Students can utilize, such as collaborating on documents and using the revision history and comments features but Google Drive allows users to keep documents private and regardless of if they have submitted it through our software, the system cannot override the permissions set in Google Drive.  If it is not shared with the teacher and the document is private, they will not be able to see the submission.  You may ask “What’s the point of the feature then?”, to which I would reply “Organization”.  If you were a teacher getting 10-20 documents shared with you for assignments in 4 different sections of a class, things could get out of hand in that drive folder quickly!  The software allows the teacher to easily click into an assignment and see all the submissions for all the students in that section in one place.   Sharing or having the students create the documents as public is the only way Teachers can see the document.  In order to gently remind students they need to share the document, there is a “Share” button that students can click (seen in the screenshot above) that will open the students selected file when clicked so they can adjust the settings.
     

  • Have the students submit as a file type instead of a link if one of the below onCampus features will be used.  

    • Annotation: If you plan on using the Annotate feature, have the students submit as files after selecting the the document they wish to submit.   When the student goes through the submission process, they are asked how they want to submit the item for the assignment.      Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 12.41.34 PM.png
      Choosing to submit as a file type has two advantages in this case.  The first being the Teacher can easily annotate the assignment when viewing it in the app.  The other is the student cannot continue editing the document after it’s been submitted.  

    • Download all: Another advantage to having the students submit as a file type is the Teachers can easily download all the assignments to a .zip file if they wish.  If the students submit as a link, the teachers would need to click each link and save the documents to their machine.

    • Accessibility: Having the student submit as a file type doesn’t require the student to set permissions on the document to share with the teacher.  

      That’s it for this edition of onCampus Tips!  Please see our knowledge base articles on the subject for more helpful information

About the Author

Todd DeSchuiteneer

Todd is the Product Support Lead for onCampus within Blackbaud’s K–12 Private Schools Group.

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