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File Sharing for Instructors

To share files with students or colleagues, UMass Amherst IT provides the following options for online file storage and sharing.

Apps at UMass Amherst (Google Drive & Google Docs)

Apps at UMass Amherst, Google's suite of collaboration tools customized especially for our campus, is available to all members of the campus community. Undergraduate students use Google Mail for their UMass Amherst email which makes sharing via Google Drive  convenient for students.

Apps at UMass Amherst, without Google Mail, is available to faculty, staff, and graduate students, and instructors of record can request Course IT accounts that include Gmail. See Accounts for Instructors.

Google Drive Features

  • For simple file distribution, link to course materials shared on Google Drive.
  • To limit access to a folder or file on Google Drive, you have several options: Share only with your students (copy and paste UMass their UMass email address from the course list you download from SPIRE); limit access to members of the UMass Community; or share with anyone with the URL.
  • You can have students use Google Docs to collaborate on assignments.
  • Request Google Classroom to use as a very basic Learning Management System to share assignments, materials, and messages.
  • If you use Moodle, and want to re-use documents between semesters or classes, upload your files to Google Drive and add them as a URL resource in your Moodle course.
  • While Google Drive includes an embeddable media player, it is not the ideal platform for sharing video or audio files, especially when a large number of students will need to access the material: Google limits downloads per day from your account, plus, media is highly compressed, which may affect playback quality.  For media we recommend using YouTube, VImeo, or, if you need to restrict access to course members, Echo360 (the lecture capture system at UMass Amherst).
  • Each account on Apps at UMass Amherst includes unlimited storage.

For more, see:

Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst (Box)

Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst is provided by Box. This service provides a simple, secure way to share and store files and folders online. Box consolidates your content in a single location, easily accessible from anywhere, on any device. You can create files and folders, share them using a direct link, invite others to collaborate, and continue to revise and review your content. Though similar in appearance to other consumer services such as Dropbox, Box can directly integrate with existing UMass Amherst systems such as your user account for single sign-on with your NetID. Your Box account quota is unlimited.

Box Features

  • For simple file distribution, link to course materials shared on Box.
  • To limit access to a folder or file on Box, you have several options: Share only with your students (copy and paste UMass their UMass email address from the course list you download from SPIRE); limit access to members of the UMass Community; or share with anyone with the URL.
  • While Box includes versioning and allows multiple editors per document, it does not provide "live" editing (as with Google Docs). When assigning collaborative projects to students, Apps at UMass Amherst (Google Docs) may be a better option.
  • If you use Moodle, and want to re-use documents between semesters or classes, upload your files to Box and add them as a URL resource in your Moodle course.
  • Each account on UMass Amherst Box includes unlimited storage.
  • While Box includes an embeddable media player, it is not the ideal platform for sharing video or audio files, especially when a large number of students will need to access the material: Box limits downloads per day from your account, plus, media is highly compressed, which may affect playback quality.  For media we recommend using YouTube, VImeo, or, if you need to restrict access to course members, Echo360 (the lecture capture system at UMass Amherst).

For more, see:

Choosing the Best Platform for Your Needs

For general information on the best storage service for your needs, including information privacy policies, see: