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Understanding the Google Classroom Folder in Drive

Google Classroom Folder

Google Classroom helps you to manage files in Google Drive. It keeps student work from floating freely around Google Drive by creating folders for Google Classroom, each class, and each assignment in Drive. Let me help you understand the Google Classroom Folder in Drive.

Classroom Folder

The very first time you log into Google Classroom a folder is created for you in Google Drive. DO NOT delete this folder, it is named “Classroom.” You can rename it, but do not delete it! It will be a nightmare to fix.

Class Folder

Within the Classroom folder a folder will be created for each class that you teach. If you are a student, a folder will be created in Google Drive for each class you are enrolled in.


Google Classroom Folder structure

Same Name

On the Classwork page in Google Classroom is a link that says “Class folder.” However, the teacher has this and the students have this. This however, opens up different folders. 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 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.

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Sharing Files

Because the link on Classwork is named “Class folder” it gives the impression that this is a folder for the students in the class as opposed to a folder for the class. It is a common misconception 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.

In other words, you must share files by adding them to a Google Classroom announcement, assignment, or material.

Teachers wanting to share files with their students can create a folder within the class folder and share that folder with the students. Note that there is not an easy way to do this. Google Classroom announcements, assignments, and materials do not allow you to select a folder, only individual files. You would first need to change the sharing permissions on a folder in Drive. Get the link to the folder, from Drive. And post the link to the folder into Google Classroom.

Student Work

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

Turn In

Students do not need to click “Turn in” to give the teacher access to the files they submit. As soon as a file is added by a student to an assignment Google Classroom sets the sharing permissions to give the teacher edit access. This file that is submitted to Google Classroom is organized into the assignment folder. Again, this assignment folder is only visible by the teacher. Students can not see each others work.

Clicking Turn in changes the sharing permissions. Students were the owners on the file. As soon as they click “Turn in” Google Classroom changes the sharing permissions to make the teacher the owner of the document and the student is a viewer of the document.

Returning Work

Just like when we had paper assignments we would give back the papers to the students after we graded them, we need to do this with digital work. Clicking “Return” in Google Classroom releases the score in Classroom and returns ownership of the documents to the students. If you left in document comments, the comments are invisible to viewers. Students need to be restored as owners of the document in order to see the comments their teacher left them.

If You Deleted the Google Classroom Folder

First, do not do this! If you accidentally (or purposefully) deleted the folder it will be permanently deleted in 30 days. This deletes all the class folders, all the assignment folders, and student work. You also will delete any files that you uploaded to anything in Google Classroom. You basically need to start from scratch if you want to create a new Google Classroom “Classroom” folder so files are not floating around in your Google Drive.

Embrace Cheating Tools

Students cheat with Google Translate or Photomath or a variety of tools. Do not fight it, embrace it!

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