Google Classroom: Understanding the Classroom Folder

Google Classroom Folder

Google Classroom automatically creates a “Classroom” folder in Google Drive for the teacher and the student. This is awesome but may lead to some confusion. Here are some tips about the Google Classroom folder.
Google Classroom Folder structure

Same Name

The class folder in Google Drive for the teacher and the student has the same name but is NOT the same folder. If a teacher adds files to the class folder in Google Drive, these files are NOT visible to the students. If a student adds files to their class folder in Google Drive, the files are NOT visible to the teacher or classmates.

This is good because teachers and students can put files that are associated with the class into the class folder to keep organized. Since the Google Classroom class folder is a regular folder in Google Drive, you can organize it however it makes sense to you.

Sharing Files

A common misconception is that files shared via Google Drive are shared with others in the class. The files placed in the folders in Google Drive are only visible to those who are shared on the folder.

Teachers wanting to share files with their students can create a folder within the class folder and share that folder with the students.

A great use for Google Classroom is professional development or collaboration groups. PD leaders wanting to share resources can do this through Google Classroom. Files shared by the “teacher” of the collaboration group will be visible to “students” (other teachers enrolled as students) in the class. These are NOT shared through the Google Drive folder, but rather through Google Classroom.

Share the Folder

To allow 2-way sharing of files, go to the class folder in Google Drive. This is a subset of the Classroom folder. Share the folder explicitly with the collaborators in the Google Classroom class.
Share Folder

Note that if you share the class folder, this has the SAME NAME as the class folder the “students” have. This may cause confusion. Rename your class folder and append “collaboration folder” to the folder name.

Files that are turned into Google Classroom are saved in the teachers Google Classroom folder. These files are private between the teacher and student unless the teacher shares the class folder with the entire class.

Set the sharing settings so that the “students” in class have edit access to the teachers class folder. This is where they will contribute resources and documents intended for the group. Suggestion to have a naming convention that everyone follows so that the folder of resources is organized.

Link to the Folder

Suggestion to link to the collaboration folder in the “About” tab of Google Classroom. If you share a folder with everyone in the class, the folder will be visible in “Shared with Me.” The students can move and organize the folder into their Google Classroom class folder, but this would not be automatically done for them. Providing a link in the About tab makes it easier for students in the class to access the collaborative folder.

Shift Z

Files and folders can be organized in multiple places. In Google Drive, single click on a folder or file that needs to be shared with the group. Hold down the shift key and press Z. This will allow you to “Add” instead of move the files to the class collaboration folder.

Turn In

If you are using Google Classroom for teacher collaboration or professional development, the easiest way to organize files from the group is to have the teachers “Turn In” documents to share. For each subfolder you want in the collaborative class folder, create an assignment.  Teachers can then click on the OPEN button in the assignment and use the “Add” button or the “Create” button to add files to that folder. If the Class folder is shared with all of the teachers participating in the professional development or collaboration group, then the documents in the assignment folders will also be available to everyone.

Turning in documents ensures that the files are placed in the correct folder and is easier than trying to add files directly to Google Drive.

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