A Note about Permissions and Google Drive

September 2019

Did you know Westside staff and students have created almost 60,000 documents using Google? On top of the documents created in Google, another 300,000 have been shared via Google Drive. That’s a lot! With this level of usage, I think it’s important to talk a bit about the role that document permissions play. The power of Google Docs comes from the ability to share and collaborate, but as Uncle Ben would say, with that power also comes great responsibility. As a staff we need to be conscious of who has access to see the documents that we create. For instance, we wouldn’t want to accidentally share a student’s IEP with other students, nor do we want to make the contents of students’ projects editable by other students.

Uncle Ben

Fortunately, editing permissions in Google is pretty easy!

When you create a document in Google Docs, Sheets or Slides, the default level of privacy is that only you can view it. If you would like to share the document, click the blue ‘Share’ button located in the top right hand corner. On the iPad, click the ‘i’ next to a documents name, then the ‘Share’ button.

You’re then presented with a screen where you can type in the names of people or groups that you want to share with.

One quick note: Be careful when sharing to groups. While it is possible to share with the building groups (i.e., whs-staff, hillside) it is not advisable. The building conferences contain more than just certified staff – anyone from custodial staff to food services and EA’s are part of the groups. For example, it would be inappropriate to share IEP notes to the entire building. It would be better to type in only those staff who require access.

Once you typed in and selected who you want to share your document or folder with, you need to select the level of access.  Google gives you three options:

Share With Others

Can Edit: This gives those listed FULL access to your document. They can change anything and even delete the document completely. This should be used when you are actively collaborating on a document.

Can Comment: This is a good halfway setting. Others can’t edit your document or delete it, but they can create comments that make suggestions that provide feedback etc.

Can View: The most restrictive of the publicly viewable settings. With this others can simply view the contents of your document. They can’t modify or delete them.

But what if you want to share with others outside of Westside? For example if you wanted to create a classroom newsletter to share with parents or collaborate on a document with teachers from other districts?Get Shareable Link

To do this you will want to click the ‘Get Shareable Link’ button on the top right of the share box.

Share Settings

If you click the ‘More…” button the traditional share screen will appear. Here you can select more detailed permissions.

If you need to share with people outside of the district, select “On-Anyone with the link”. Under ‘Access’ you get the familiar options of Can View, Can Edit and Can Comment.

Link Options

In summary, don’t be an over-sharer! Always set the document permissions to only those that need them. Remember, ‘people at Westside Community Schools’ includes ALL people – staff AND students.

As always, if you have any questions about how to share your documents or folders, please contact Bridget or myself. We are happy to walk you through the process!

-Matt Lee