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Google Apps for collaboration


Google Apps

All students and staff accounts at the University of York include access to Google Apps for Education. The University uses Google Mail for email, and Google Drive for online storage. Use the links below to find out more about the range of Google Apps available.

Introduction to Google Apps

A look at the wide range of Google apps available through Google Workspace For Education and how to make the most of them. We look at the cloud model and the collaborative sharing features in Google through the use of Gmail, Calendar, Groups, Drive, and much more, and demonstrate practical examples that can be adapted for your own work.

Google Groups

Google Groups make it easy to communicate and collaborate with groups of people, such as project teams and departments.

A group is like a mailing list: it contains the email addresses of its members, but it also has its own address.

Using the email address for the group, you can:

  • Email group members
  • Invite group members to meetings via Calendar
  • Share content and access with group members, including Google Drive files and folders, Shared Drives and calendars

Google: Hangouts Meet

Google Hangouts Meet is a video communication service available as part of our Google suite of apps. It allows multiple users to communicate via video, audio, or live-chat, and to screen-share.


We've scribbled all over this jam and drawn a picture of some jam. We've also added some post-its and a photo.


Google Jamboard is a collaborative whiteboard tool that's part of Google Apps. You can create and share 'Jams' in Google Drive in the same way that you would create and share any other Google document ("Google Jamboard" is one of the options under the "More" menu when you press the New button in Drive).


Jamboard is very much a whiteboard: the tools available are limited to pens, post-it notes and images, so if you need to do anything more sophisticated than that you may find Google Slides a better collaborative option.

As well as the Jamboard web app, there's a mobile / tablet app with a few more features, and there's also a dedicated Google Jamboard screen in the Fairhurst that you can use with the software.

You can collaborate on a Jam in real time using the share options and you can download your Jams in PDF or PNG formats.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is (as you might be able to deduce) Google's calendar tool. It lets you easily manage appointments and invite people to meetings and events.

Collaborating in Docs, Sheets or Slides

There's loads of collaborative features in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

The most obvious is that you can simultaneously edit (none of that Read Only Copy stuff you get with Office when someone else is in a file).

You can also comment on sections of a document, or suggest changes.

Furthermore, if more than one person is in a document, a chat icon appears to the right of their icons in the top right of the screen, letting you chat with anyone else who's currently there.

Collaborating in a Google Doc. Chat; Comment; Suggest.

Collaboration case study (select to expand)

Example scenarios

Example scenarios

I create a document and want to share it for editing with one or two other people

  • Create a new document on your Drive with default visibility (Specific people)
  • Add the people to the list, giving them Edit permissions
  • Encourage them to use Comments, Suggestions and Chat to discuss updates
  • Use History to revert changes if you change your mind

A new project I am leading is starting and we will be working as a project team with several shared documents

  • First create a Google Group for the team
  • Create a project folder on your Drive and share it with the Group
  • Create sub-folders within this project folder as necessary - they automatically inherit the share permissions
  • Get each team member to add the project folder to their Drive (essential for easy management)
  • Make sure the team get the habit of creating new documents inside the project folder (or move inside) - they will automatically inherit share permissions

Some of the documents in the project need to be shared more widely for view/comment

  • Share documents (or a sub-folder) with View or Comment permissions with other specified users or groups

All the documents in one sub-folder need to be shared with another team for editing

  • Add the second team's Google Group to the share permissions, but just for the sub-folder
  • In this scenario full Edit permissions would allow them to move documents out of the folder - make sure they know what they're doing

An existing Word document needs to be collaboratively updated by the project team; the finished document needs to be in Word format

  • Upload the Word document into the shared folder structure, choosing to convert to a Google document
  • The team can now edit as normal, use comments, suggestions and chat
  • When editing is complete, download it as a Word document. You will need to do a final tidy up and reformatting of the Word document

Your Google identity

Your University Google account is tied to your University email address: sign into Google with your full email address and your usual password.

Once you're signed in, you'll be able to access all of the Google Apps we talk about on this page.

If you've got your own personal Google account, or a second University account, you'll need to watch for conflicts between those accounts. You can manage the account(s) you're signed into from your avatar/initials in the top right-hand corner of a Google application.

If you're juggling multiple accounts, it may be best to use one account in one browser (or browser instance) and another account in another. For instance, you might use your work account in Chrome and your personal account in Firefox. Or you could use two separate instances of Chrome: each synched to a different account.

Let's get IT together: digital tools for collaboration

The Google Workspace applications enable you to work collaborative on documents, slides and sheets. This introduction provides an overview of some of the Google applications on offer that you can use for group work, such as writing your final report or presentation, organising meetings and sharing your findings. Make your group projects more efficient by tapping into the functionally offered using Google apps for collaboration.

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