Sharing to many users (students) at once, the mass-email trick

If you have been using Google Apps for Education in your classes, at some point you may have wondered if it were possible to share a document with a whole bunch of people without having to type in each email address each time.  There are a few solutions to this problem:

For a one-time use: In Gmail, or any other email program for that matter, create an outgoing message, inserting addresses from your address book and/or pasting from other sources.  Copy this entire list and paste into the field of the document where you “share” with other users.

For repeated use of mass lists:  This method take a little time to set up, but can be used over and over.

a.  If all of the student email address are already loaded into the system*, start by setting up a mass email list in Gmail.  Go to Contacts on the main page.  Click the button that looks like two little people in a box with a +, and label it for the group you are creating (Freshmen, 4th hour, Student Council, e.g.).

b. Then select the students from the contact list whom you wish to add to the list.  If they are not in the contacts space, you may need to use the method described above (to send out an email) to get the list.  In my experience, once I sent one email out to the kids, even a test, the addresses all became contacts for me.  From there just select and move to your contacts folder.  This procedure works similarly to the way other email services work.

c.  Once you have created your contact lists in Gmail, you may now use them as share lists in docs.  Open your document and click on the share (share settings) button in the top right.

d.  Click in the field intended to add email addresses of sharers, so it changes to show a blue link labeled “Choose From Contacts” which opens a different box with a bunch of addresses**.  You want to click on the pull-down menu just below the search field to reveal your list.

e.  Finally, if you click ALL in blue right above all of the addresses from your list, you should see them all apear in the share field, and it is done.  BE SURE TO SET THE EDIT/VIEW setting appropriately before hitting submit, or you will need to undo it individually pers tudent later.

*If they are not already loaded into the system, you would need to type them in, or paste them into an outgoing email field to get them into your contacts.  I have had kids just add their email to a document or a word document in some way, and then just pasted that in to an outgoing message (Re: Test- No reply necessary), which will add these as contacts.

** Shortcut:  If you have done this once, but have multiple documents to share with the same list of people, copy the list you see in the share box before submitting, and then just paste the list into the next doc you open.


One thought on “Sharing to many users (students) at once, the mass-email trick

  1. This is one way to do it, but if you are using Google Apps for Education at your school. The easiest way to share with large groups is to use Groups in Google Apps. It easy to set up. Your Admin can set up a Google Apps Administrator Group in the Admin Panel or if they turn on the feature Teachers can set up a Google Apps User-managed Group for their class. Here is link to a the training center for help.

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