Creating a Google Group/Distribution List for Sharing with Google Groups

Overview

Goals

Requirements

Getting Started

Adding Members to Your Group

Additional Settings

Moderate Posting to the Online Forum

Group Privacy Settings

Contact the Owner of a Group

View Members

View Member Email Addresses

Prevent Posting to the Online Forum

Listing in the Global Directory

Advantages of Listing vs. Not Listing

Removing Members

Adding New/Additional Members

Sharing with Groups

Additional Resources

Overview

One of the challenges staff face with using Google Apps for Education is that the global distribution lists that we have access to when using the YRDSB Microsoft Outlook Exchange platform do not exist in Google Apps for Education for the YRDSB.  

The global distribution lists in YRDSB Microsoft Outlook Exchange are managed centrally by Information Technology Services for the YRDSB, but Google Apps for Education can help you create and manage your own centralized distribution list that accessible to anyone in the YRDSB.  

The use of such a distribution list would extend beyond email functionality.  Documents, Sites, Calendars and more could be shared with one group email address giving everyone who is a member of that group access to the resource (with appropriate group permissions).  Individual rights could override group permissions if necessary.

The benefit of using a tool like this is that as there is turnover in staff/students, you can manage the group (and even transfer ownership if you are a principal leaving a school, etc.), to add and remove users at the group level, rather than going through and adding sharing permissions for users to individual files, folders and other resources.

This document will demonstrate how to go about setting up a Google Group to use for sharing resources.  You can also use Google Groups as a discussion forum, but that isn’t the purpose of the setup that will be shared here.

Note:  Once you create a group, it may take some time for it to be visible in the global directory (if enabled), but you can begin sharing using the email address for the group immediately.

Goals

Requirements

Getting Started

  1. From your Google Drive homepage (https://drive.google.com/a/gapps.yrdsb.ca/) click on the grid beside your username at the top left of the page and then choose Groups or go to https://groups.google.com/a/gapps.yrdsb.ca/.  
  2. Click on the Create Group button.

  3. Fill out the first three fields on the new group page.
    Important Considerations

    a)  
    Group Name:  Give your group a unique name so that it other users won’t think that is the group they should be sharing to.  (ex.  Use CEC North Math Network instead of Math as your group name).

    b)  
    Group Email Address:  This will be generated based on your group name, but cannot include special characters like apostrophes, percent signs, etc.  The only punctuation permitted is periods and dashes.  The example above would become cec-north-math-network@gapps.yrdsb.ca.

    c)  
    Group Description:  If you are setting up and managing the group, you do not actually need to complete the  group description, but you can feel free to write a short description here.


  4. Scroll down the page and use the drop down menus to choose the following options.
    Note:  the settings indicated here are specifically designed for setting up a private group that can be managed and used to share resources.  These are not ideal settings for a discussion group.  You can add additional owners if necessary to help manage the  group membership.

    a)  Select a group type:  Web forum

    b)  Basic Permissions
            i) View topics:  Owners of the group
            ii)  Post:  Owners of the group
            iii)  Join the group:  Only invited users


  5. When you are finished, click the Create button.

  6. You will get a pop-up message indicating you’ve been successful at creating your Google Group.  A message will also be generated and sent to your YRDSB Google Apps Email address.  Click Okay.

  7. You will be brought to the home page for your group.  Click on the Manage link in the top right of the page.

Adding Members to Your Group

  1. Click on the link to Direct Add Members.

  2. Enter the YRDSB Google Apps email addresses of the people you would like to add to your group.  You can do this in several ways.
    a) You can begin to type the name of the user you would like to add and use the autocomplete feature to select the user you would like to add (be careful with this feature in cases where there are multiple users in the board with the same name - consult the student number or ask the user if necessary).
    b)  You can copy and paste a list of users that are separated by commas
    c)  You can copy and paste a list of users that are on different lines or from a spreadsheet.

  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and change the Email subscription option to All Email: send each email message as it arrives.
    AMBkFY
  4. Optional:  Add a welcome message.
  5. Once you’ve added all of your members, click the Add button.
  6. You will get a notification that the members have been added.  You can add more or click Done.

Additional Settings

Moderate Posting to the Online Forum

If members of the group try and post to the online forum space and you will need to approve it before it appears. Please note that the steps to totally prevent posting are described below.

  1. Click on Settings.
  2. Click on Moderation.
  3. Click on Moderate all messages to the group.
  4. Click on Save.

Group Privacy Settings

Adjusting these settings helps protect the identity of the membership of a group.  This may or may not be necessary depending on the membership of the group and its purpose.

  1. Click on permissions.
  2. Click on access permissions

Contact the Owner of a Group

Contacting the owner of a group will generate an email to the owner’s YRDSB Google Apps email account (username@gapps.yrdsb.ca).  Privacy settings here are up to you.  You can use the drop down list to determine what settings you’d like.  If you don’t use your @gapps.yrdsb.ca account, set it to Owners so that no one can try and contact you using that account address.

View Members

Determines who can view the membership of a group.  In most cases, having members of the group be able to see who else belongs to the group is practical.

View Member Email Addresses

Change this to All members of the group to protect members privacy.

Click save when you are done.

Prevent Posting to the Online Forum

This will prevent users from posting to the online forum that is generated when you create the Google Group.

  1. Click on Information.
  2. Click on General information.
  3. Untick the box beside Allow users to post to the group on the web.
  4. Click Save when finished.


Listing in the Global Directory

This option allows you to choose whether or not you would like your group listed in the Global Directory.  

Advantages of Listing vs. Not Listing

The advantage of listing your group in the directory is that it makes it easier for others to find and use your group address.  They simply need to begin typing the name of your group and it will come up as a suggested user.

The advantage of not listing your group in the directory is that your group will be more private.  This might be best when using Google Groups to create a group for a group of students.  Users will need to know the email address of your group (ie. cec-north-math-network@gapps.yrdsb.ca from the example at the top of the tutorial), however, users can add that account to their own contact list and then it will pop up as a suggested contact when they begin typing the name of the group.

  1. Click on Information.
  2. Click on Directory.
  3. Choose whether or not to list the group.


Removing Members

As members move to different schools, classes, or join different teams, etc. you may want to remove them from the group.

  1. Click on Members, then All members.
  2. Select the user(s) you’d like to remove.
  3. Click the Actions drop down list.
  4. Select Remove from group.
  5. You will be asked to confirm that you want to remove the members.  Click Remove to confirm.

Adding New/Additional Members

If you need to add members, follow the same steps as you did above.  Click here to return to that section of the tutorial.

Sharing with Groups

You can now begin sharing Google Apps for Education resources (Documents, sites, folders, calendars, etc.) with everyone in your group by adding the group to the sharing of the document.  Make sure you set the appropriate editing settings when adding a group.

Additional Resources

Learn Google Apps - Google Groups:  Overview, How-tos, and an FAQ

Google Apps for Education Certification Training - Google Apps Administration, Groups for email lists and sharing:  This discusses groups from the admin panel perspective, but the principles are the same as for the groups created using the Groups functionality.