Learning Technology Index

Google Drive*

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What is it?

Google Drive is a cloud-based storage service that allows you to access and share files across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, and allows its users to work simultaneously with others.



What is its purpose?

Google Drive allows users to access and share over 100 different file types, including Microsoft Office files, PDFs, CAD files, images, and more.

Google Drive offers a range of cloud-native collaboration apps, including Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and more. 

Google Drive has integrations available for other applications, including Adobe, Atlassian, Autodesk, DocuSign, Salesforce, and Slack. 

How do I use it?

Google Drive can be accessed through your browser or an application available to download on Windows or Apple devices. 

The Memorial University of Newfoundland provides integration with Google Drive through MUN email accounts, allowing users to sign in to Google Drive using their Memorial University credentials on the Google Drive website

Once signed in to Google Drive, users can create a new folder, upload a folder or file, or create a Google Doc, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Drawings, My Maps, Sites, or App Scripts. Google Drive also allows users to mark files as a priority, view documents that have been shared with the user, view recently accessed files, delete files, and see how much storage has been used. 

Google Drive can be edited, shared with others, copied, downloaded, and or removed. To share documents with others, the user can provide an email address for an invitation to be sent to others, which allows the user to determine if they want others to be able to only view the file or to be able to edit it as well. The other option for sharing is to get a link to the document to send whomever the user wishes. Users can choose to share individual files with others, or they can share an entire folder. 

Google Drive can be used offline, though users need to ensure that any documents they wish to access have been marked “Make Available Offline.”


Why would I use it?

Google Drive provides an easy way to store files that can be accessed across multiple devices.

Google Drive has a large storage capacity that allows users to store a large number of files in the cloud.

Google Drive allows users to easily share files with colleagues or students.

Google Drive allows users to work in a group on a single document

Google Drive allows users to control the level of access to shared documents.

Google Drive allows users to make documents available offline so that they can continue working without an internet connection.

Google Drive is accessible on Windows and Apple computers and is available on both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. 

Usage considerations

Currently, there is no storage limit for Memorial University Google Drive users, though this will change starting in 2022, as Google has announced limits to their Google Workplace for Education. In order to edit MS documents stored in Google Drive, users will have to convert the files to an equivalent file type offered by Google (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.). Users must be careful when setting up a shared document so as to best control who has access to their files, as anyone can edit public files. Shared files can be viewed by those without Gmail accounts but can only be edited by those with Gmail accounts. There is a limit of 200 people for accessing a shared file on Google Drive, though if more users need access than 200 then the user can create a Google Group and then share the file to the group.

Quick Facts
Rating Level 
Web Search
Google Drive*
Last Modified
10 November 2021
05 August 2021
License Available 
More Info

Security Concerns
Technical Support 

Ratings Information

CITL Rating

Select any category below for details about the criteria for each rating.

Functionality: ★★☆
Works Well.
Ease of Use:★★★
Works Well.
Tech Support/Help Availability (for Instructors):★★☆
Minor Concerns. Minor Concern: No campus-wide technical support is available.
Tech Support/Help Availability (for Students):★★☆
Minor Concerns. Minor Concern: No campus-wide technical support is available.
Hypermediality :★★☆
Minor Concerns. Google Drive itself does not allow for audio or visual communication, though Google does offer multiple channels for audio or visual communication through the use of Google Chat and Google Meet.
Accessibility: ★★★
Accessibility Standards:★★★
Works Well.
User-focused participation:★★★
Works Well.
Required Equipment:★★★
Works Well.
Technical: ★★★
Integration/Embedding within a Learning Management System (LMS) :★☆☆
Serious Concerns. Google Drive cannot be embedded within the Brightspace LMS but is functional with Google Classrooms. Brightspace Assignments tool does allow users to upload documents for submission from the user's Google Drive.
Operating Systems:★★★
Works Well.
Web Browser:★★★
Works Well.
Additional Technical Requirements:★★★
Works Well.
Mobile Design: ★★★
Works Well.
Works Well.
Offline Access:★★★
Works Well.
Usage and Account Set Up: ★★★
Sign Up/Sign In:★★★
Works Well.
Cost of Use:★★★
Works Well.
Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data :★★★
Works Well.
Data Privacy and Ownership:★★★
Works Well.
Social Presence: ★★★
Collaboration :★★★
Works Well.
User Accountability:★★☆
Minor Concerns. Instructors cannot control users' anonymity with the tool. Instructors can limit users' interaction with the tool by only allowing users to view and not edit the shared files.
Works Well.
Teaching Presence: ★★★
Works Well.
Works Well.
Learning Analytics:★★☆
Minor Concerns. Google Drive allows instructors to see which students have accessed a file, including the date and time, as well as showing what the student added or changed within the file. However, there is no formal analytics available for instructors to monitor students' interactions with a file.
Cognitive Presence: ★★☆
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s):★★☆
Minor Concerns. Google Drive can aid in improving engagement in targeted cognitive tasks but does not enhance engagement in a way that other programs could do.
Higher Order Thinking:★★☆
Minor Concerns. Google Drive can engage learners in higher-order thinking but does not do so inherently.
Feedback on Learning:★☆☆
Serious Concerns. Google Drive does not provide an avenue for direct feedback to learners on their progress. Instructors can edit files in real-time so learners can see where revision is needed, but there is no formal method for providing direct feedback.

Security and Privacy

While Google Apps are considered a secure service, using personal accounts for teaching and learning may put the users' data outside of University control and may go against the University Policy.

Support Information

Google Drive offers a Help Center which has a variety of searchable topics. Google Drive also provides tutorials and guides for new users. They also provide step-by-step instructions for those using Google Drive on computers, Android devices, and iPhones and iPads. Google also has a YouTube channel which provides instructional videos on how to use Google Drive.