Part 8: Fall 2018 Labs

131 Google Drive in Canvas – 10.04.2018

Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets have advanced the ways students can participate in group work, both in and out of class. In the October 4, 2018 Active Teaching Lab, participants discussed effective practices for ensuring campus Google tools encourage rather than discourage cooperative thinking. Integrated in Canvas or used outside of it, attendees explored how Google Drive can facilitate productive, balanced group work. 


  • Google Forms allow for data collection on feedback that is easily shareable with other instructors.
  • Another use of Google Forms is for student signup. Let students sign themselves up for groups/partners on the Google Form and embed the generated results Sheet in a Canvas Page so that students can see who is matched with whom. Tip: Make the Sheet “View Only” so that students can’t remove others’ names.
  • Embedding Google Folders in Canvas helps keep Canvas updated because last-minute changes made on the file itself in Google automatically translate into Canvas.
  • The Redirect Tool can create direct links to a Google Doc or folder in the Canvas navigation menu.
  • The Groups tool in Canvas sets up assignments so that a collaborative group document submitted by one student appears as the submission for all students in the group, and all students receive instructor feedback. Make sure to check “This is a Group Assignment” in the Assignment editing pane.
  • By default, entering one grade for a Group auto populates that grade to all group members. Check “Assign Grades to Each Student Individually” to modify students’ grades one by one.
  • Navigation instructions and/or links back to Canvas home reduce complications when students access outside resources in Google.
  • Google Course Kit is coming soon and will make Google integration with Canvas more streamlined. For instance, when students submit a Google Doc for an assignment, ownership will transfer to the instructor to make comments. When feedback goes back to the student, an archive copy of the submission with feedback will be kept for the instructor.

For details on using Google Drive in Canvas, visit the session’s activity sheet.


The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm (room 302) and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am (room 120) in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.) during fall 2018. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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