How do I create a Google Collaboration in Canvas?

Tags google canvas

Quick Links: | When to use a Google Collaboration | Collaborations vs. Group Assignments | How to Create a Google Collaboration | Best Practices |

Canvas offers a powerful feature called Google Collaborations, which allows you to seamlessly integrate collaborative Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Presentations into your course. This collaboration tool enables students and instructors to work together in real-time on shared documents, fostering a collaborative learning environment without having to juggle sharing permissions. However, there are a few unexpected user interface quirks that you should be aware of when creating a Google Collaboration in Canvas. This article will guide you through the process and highlight a crucial step that can sometimes go unnoticed.

When Should I use a Google Collaboration?

Google Collaborations are an excellent choice when you want to engage your students in collaborative activities, group projects, or peer reviews. This feature promotes teamwork, enhances communication, and allows multiple individuals to contribute simultaneously to a shared document. By using Google Collaborations, you can leverage the power of real-time editing and commenting to facilitate interactive and dynamic learning experiences.

Collaborations vs. Group Assignments

It's important to note that Google Collaborations differ from Group Assignments in Canvas. While both involve collaboration, there are distinct differences between them:

  • Google Collaborations:

    • Enable multiple people to work simultaneously on a shared document.
    • Encourage real-time collaboration, communication, and feedback.
    • Allow instructors to create collaborative activities that are not directly tied to an assignment or graded.
    • Provide an interactive platform for brainstorming, co-authoring, and group discussions.
    • Cannot be graded
  • Group Assignments:

    • Assign a specific graded task or project to a group of students.
    • Allow group members to work on a single submission.
    • Enable instructors to grade and provide feedback on the group's work collectively.
    • Are typically used for formal assessments and graded assignments.
    • Can use Canvas pages, discussions, files, and collaborations independent of the course.

How to Create a Google Collaboration

 ✨ NEW: The Google Collaborations integration has been recently updated with new features and an improved user interface. Check out the Canvas Blog for a list of all the new features.

To create a Google Collaboration in Canvas, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Canvas account and navigate to the desired course.
  2. Instructors: Ensure Collaborations is enabled in your course navigation:
    1. Select Settings from the course navigation menu and open the Navigation tab.
    2. Enable the Collaborations navigation link by selecting the three dots and selecting Enable.
      Enabling the Collaborations navigation link
    3. From the bottom of the page, select Save.
  3. Select Collaborations from the course navigation menu.
  4. On the Collaborations page, select +Collaboration
  5. If this is your first time using Collaborations, you may need to authorize Google. If prompted, select Authorize.
    To switch to your Chico State Google account, use 
  6. Next, enter a name for the collaboration [1].

Canvas collaborations interface

  1. Choose the type of file you want to collaborate on. You can select from a variety of Google services, including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Jamboards, and more [2].
  2. Select the people or groups you want to include in the collaboration [3].
  3. Once you have entered the collaboration name and selected the participants, select Create to create the Google Collaboration [4].

That's it! You have successfully created a Google Collaboration in Canvas. Now you can begin collaborating with others on the shared document.

Best Practices

To make the most of Google Collaborations in Canvas, consider these best practices:

  1. Clearly communicate the purpose and expectations of the collaboration to students.
  2. Set clear deadlines for collaborative activities to ensure timely completion.
  3. Encourage students to actively participate, provide constructive feedback, and engage in discussions within the document.
  4. Monitor and moderate the collaboration to ensure all participants are contributing appropriately.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the collaborative features offered by Google Docs, Spreadsheets, or Presentations to optimize your collaboration experience.


Google Collaborations in Canvas offer a convenient way to engage students in collaborative activities and promote interactive learning experiences. By following the steps outlined in this article and keeping the best practices in mind, you can effectively create and manage Google Collaborations within your course.

Still Need Help? The Technology and Learning Program is here to support you with one-on-one consultations and live support over Zoom.

Print Article


Article ID: 113584
Wed 6/14/23 9:01 AM
Fri 5/17/24 11:13 AM