Google Suite

Colorful G logo for Google

What is Google Suite?

  • Google Drive

  • Google Docs

  • Google Sheets

  • Google Slides

  • Google Forms

  • Google Sites

  • Google Jamboard

Why use Google Suite?

  • It’s free and available to all UCSC students, faculty and staff

  • Can be easily added to Canvas with direct access to google of faculty or student.

  • Easy to share between collaborators, add comments

  • Good web-based substitute for more traditional Microsoft Office softwares like Word or Excel, which students would have to download

  • Live updates / living document

  • Everything saved to cloud

  • Compatible with traditional Microsoft Office files, like .docx, .xslx, or .pptx

Google Drive in Canvas

There are several ways to make Google Drive files, documents, or sheets available in your Canvas course. You can add Google Drive as a course navigation item, directly embed or link to files, or use the Google Docs Cloud Assignment type in Canvas to easily provide document templates for students.

Enable Google Drive in course navigation

You can add Google Drive to your course by customizing your course navigation. The purpose of adding this is to make Google Drive files more readily accessible from within Canvas. A user that clicks on this item will access their own Google Drive. It is not a way for instructors to see their students' Drive files, or vice versa. Students will not be able to see your Google Drive documents and files they will see their own Google Drive files.

More information: How do I view my Google Drive files in Canvas?

Adding Google Drive files in the Rich Content Editor (RCE)

You can add files from your Google Drive into Canvas with the rich content editor allowing you to easily add files into Canvas announcements, pages, assignments and more.

How to add Google Drive files:

  1. Click on the Google Drive icon from the formatting menu bar at the top of the rich content editor

  2. Your Google Drive files will be shown — click the file(s) you want to add and select either Embed or Link.

    • Embedding will show the file inside Canvas

    • Linking will create a link to the file, the linked text will be populated from the name of the file.

Make sure that you have made the file accessible to

More information: How do I create a hyperlink or embed a file from Google Drive into the Rich Content Editor?

Google Docs Cloud Assignment

This assignment type is best used when you have a template or worksheet — type Google Doc or Sheet for students to work on and submit individually. Students will automatically get their own copy of the attached Google file, and they can submit these into Canvas. These assignments work with SpeedGrader, so teachers can easily access, annotate, and grade. Despite the name, this assignment type can be used with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This assignment type does not work with Group Assignments.

How to set up Google Docs Cloud Assignment:

  1. In Canvas, create a new Assignment. Under Submission Type, select External Tool. Click Find and locate and select 'Google Docs Cloud Assignment' from the alphabetical list.

  2. From the window, select the template/worksheet you want the students to complete. It is important that the file is viewable/public — if students have messaged you about Access Denied issues, this is probably why.

  3. Set other assignment options as desired and click Save. When students access, direct them to click on the title of the Google file so that a copy is added to their Google Drive account. When they click Submit, that same copy is submitted to Canvas in a static file type (.docx, .xlsx, .pdf — depends on the Google Drive file type).

What do students need to know about this assignment type?

More information: How do I create a cloud assignment with a Google Drive file?

Google Drive

What is it? Cloud-based file storage that allows you to save files online and access them anywhere from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Why use it? You can use Drive on your computer or mobile device to securely upload files and edit them online.

Examples of Activity: Organize files, unlimited storage, all file types supported, collaborating (shared folders or files)

Using UCSC Google Drive

How to Share Google Files (UCSC document)

Share Files from Google Drive (Google resource)

Google Docs

What is it? Word processor with formatting, styles and editing tools

Why use it? You can use Google Docs for collaborative note-taking, sharing of changing resources, group work (easy to suggest, comment, and assign tasks)

Examples of Activity:

Instructors — use for worksheets, homework, syllabus

Students — use for taking course notes, writing papers

How to use Google Docs

Google Sheets

What is it? Spreadsheet program

Why use it? Use Google sheets to keep track of data, data visualization, office hour sign up sheet

How to Use Google Sheets

Google Slides

What is it? Online presentation tool

Why use it?You can use Google Slides as a virtual background in Zoom or YuJa and for synchronous lectures

Examples of Activity:

Instructors — lectures, recorded lectures, lecture notes for students

Students — presentations

How to use Google Slides

Google Forms

What is it? Survey-creation tool

Why use it? All entries are automatically fed into a spreadsheet + visualizations of answers

Examples of Activity:

Surveys and questionnaires

How to use Google Forms

Google Sites

What is it? Web site/page creation tool

Why use it? Use Google Sites for easy to build websites, interactive content, group collaboration, clean way of showcasing a project, research findings, portfolio, or for instructors: create self-paced activities for your students

Examples of Activity:

Students — Portfolios, Project presentations

Instructors — Lab Reports, Liquid Syllabus

How to use Google Sites

Google Jamboard

What is it? Whiteboard and sticky notes, up to 20 individual frames and 50 simultaneous users

Why use it? Use Google Jamboards for a livelier way to collect micro-contributions than Sheets or Docs

Examples of Activity:

Brainstorming activities, ice-breakers, concept mapping

How to use Google Jamboard

For help with the Google Suite in Canvas: