You are now in the main content area

Google Groups Guide

 

group of three students

Getting Started

Google Groups allows you to create and participate in an online forum with a shared group. Google Groups allows you to read group posts through an online interface, to schedule group meetings, and to share Google Calendars and Google Documents with the group. Google Groups is available on request from faculty and staff.

Faculty and staff can fill the Mailing List (Google Group) Request Form available at my.ryerson.ca. To do so:

  1. Log into the my.ryerson portal with your my.ryerson username and password.
  2. Under the 'Self Service' module, click on Courses and Organizations.
  3. Under the 'Requests' section, click on Mailing List (Google Group).
  4. Select Request a Mailing List

Select the list type that you would like to use.  The three available are:
CourseProgram and General Purpose mailing list.

After following the steps for Requesting a Mailing List, proceed with:

  1. Select the option of Course list type.
  2. Choose either a one-term mailing list or a two-term list.
  3. Click all the courses that you want to be included in your course list.
  4. Click Submit.

You will receive an email confirmation sent to your @ryerson.ca address once the course  mailing list is created.

Note: You must use an @ryerson.ca account to administer a Google Groups course list. You can add a non @ryerson.ca address as an additional poster to your course list.

After following the steps for Requesting a Mailing List, proceed with:

  1. Select the option of Program list type.
  2. Select the Program Code from the drop down menu (mandatory).
  3. Select the appropriate Program Year for the chosen code (mandatory).
  4. Click the applicable Academic Plan (optional).
  5. Click Add Program if you want to add more codes and repeat steps 2 to 5.
  6. Click Submit.

You will receive an email confirmation sent to your @ryerson.ca address once the program mailing list is created.

After following the steps for Requesting a Mailing List, proceed with:

  1. Select the option of General Purpose list type.
  2. Provide the following information:
    • requested mailing list email address
    • requested mailing list name to be displayed
    • purpose of this list (the list must be used for Ryerson purposes)
    • approximate number of list members
    • approximate number of postings per week
  3. Click Submit.

You will receive an email confirmation sent to your @ryerson.ca address once the general purpose mailing list is created.

Please see Google Groups Policies and Limits, external link for more information.

 

Group Features

Course mailing lists are offered to facilitate Ryerson's faculty to communicate with students in their courses. An instructor can request a list for a course/section they are currently teaching. These lists can be used for the distribution of information and also for online discussions with students. Only students taking your course in the current academic year will be included and  provided access to this group.

The lists are active for the terms the course is running, e.g. for a two term course, if the instructor chose the two term option at the time of requesting the list, the list will be active for two terms.

Also see section Filling a Course Mailing List Request

Program lists allow staff and instructors to communicate with students based on program code and year. Only students with the specified Program Code, Program Year and Academic Plan (optional) will be included in your list.

Lists can be separated by year so please specify the year(s) to include. Please keep in mind that students that are out of phase may appear on the wrong year. Moreover, those students that join the department and fast-track will also be in the wrong year. Yet, this separation by year works for the majority of students.

An authorization is required from the Chair, Dean, Director or Manager after you submit your request for Program mailing list. If you have not already done so, please ensure a Dean, Chair, Director or Manager sends an email authorizing your request to help@ryerson.ca.

Also see section Filling a Program Mailing List Request

General Purpose mailing lists can be used for the Ryerson related purposes to communicate among Academic groups, committees and departments. Most of the staff and faculty lists fall under this category.

An authorization is required from the Chair, Dean, Director or Manager after you submit your request for General Purpose mailing list. If you have not already done so, please ensure a Dean, Chair, Director or Manager sends an email authorizing your request to help@ryerson.ca.

Also see section Filling a General Purpose Mailing List Request

  1. Log into the my.ryerson portal and look under Apps and click Google Groups.
    or
    Log into your Ryerson Gmail, click on the Apps icon in top right corner of the screen. Click on the Groups icon in the Apps box.
  2. Click on My groups from either the left side menu to see a list of all groups you are a member of.

You can read and, if you are given posting rights by the group Manager, you can send messages either through the web interface or through the email.

Using the web interface:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing my Mailing Lists).
  2. Ensure you are on the My Groups screen via the left side menu. A list of all your subscribed groups appears.
  3. Click on a group name. The Topics screen appears with a list of all current topics. Notice that all of the unread posts are bolded.
  4. Click on the topic you want to read. The first post in the topic (created when the topic was created) is displayed on top followed by all responses.
  5. If you have posting rights, click on the Reply all button (left turning arrows) located under the message or to the right side of the date posted. A reply field appears with a formatting toolbar at the bottom. [The formatting toolbar does not show up for members, only managers].


    Tip: Click on the Post reply button in the first post to reply to the original topic creator. Click on Reply to Author under More (three dots) to reply to the poster through private email. Click on Forward under More to forward the post to an email address.

  6. Type your reply in the reply field.
  7. (optional) Format your reply using options in the formatting toolbar.
  8. Click the Post Message button to reply to that post.

 

Using the email:

If you have posting rights, you can send a message to your group without having to log into your Google Group's page. Simply send an email to the email address associated with your group (e.g., GroupAddress@ryerson.ca).

  1. Click on the email in your inbox. The contents of the email are displayed.
  2. Select Reply to respond to the whole group or Reply to all to respond to the whole group and sender.  
    Note: The Reply depends on the list setting for Post replies to option found in Group Settings (Enable Advanced in the top right) > Email options. If set to The author of the message only, then the sender will receive the message. 
  3. Click Send to post your reply.

Group Managers can post a message as the Group rather than as their own personal account (the receiver will see the message from Group). This could be useful for departmental postings, newsletters, other communication with group members.

To enable posting as the group, select:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing my Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups and select the name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Click Group Settings in the left menu. (Note: If you cannot see the Group Settings button you are not the manager of the group).
  4. Select Posting Policies.
  5. Under the "Who can post as group" setting, select Group Managers (We recommend only allowing Group Managers to have this option).
  6. Press Save Changes.

Once this group permission is set, if posting a new topic through the web interface, you can change the "From" field so that the message will be sent out as the Group's name displayed and not your own personal email address. To change the From field, click on your email address when in a reply or a new conversation and select the Group's name from the drop down menu.

How to Use 

 

Group Members

Adding members to your list depends on what type of mailing list you have.


Course and Program Mailing Lists

The system itself will add members for both the Course mailing lists and Program mailing lists as updated student data is received from Enrolment Services every 24 hrs.

Any attempt to add members manually will be overwritten every night when the system refreshes itself. To add Managers or Members who can post to lists that are system generated like Course and Program lists, please email us at help@ryerson.ca.


General Purpose Mailing Lists

There are two ways to add members to your General Purpose mailing list (group). You can either use the Invite members option (where the member gets asked whether they would like to join your group) or you can use Direct add members option (where the members are added without being asked).


Invite Members

This method can only be used to invite Ryerson members with a Ryerson email address. To invite external (non-Ryerson) members, please use the Direct Add Members method. To do so:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Click People > members under the left-hand side menu.
  4. Click Add members (Note: If you cannot invite members you are not the manager of the group).
  5. Unselect the Directly add members option.
  6. Type email addresses of the people you want to invite in the Group members field, separated by commas.
  7. Write an invitation message.
  8. Review and click the Send invites button.

To review outstanding invites:

  1. Select People > Pending Members.


Direct Add Members

This option is used to add a member without asking for their permission. Manager and Owner permissions can also be given to new members in these steps. The steps are:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Click People > members under the left-hand side menu.
  4. Click Add members (Note: If you cannot invite members you are not the manager of the group).
  5. Ensure the Directly add members option is selected.
  6. Type email addresses of the people you want to invite as members in the Group members field, separated by commas. If you want to add someone as a manager or owner type their name in the Group Managers or Group Owners field respectively.
  7. Write an invitation message.
  8. Review and click the Add members button.

By default, you should be able to add external users with non-Ryerson email addresses to your General Purpose groups directly. Use the Direct Add Members method.

In case, you have problems, ensure to check these settings:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Select Group Settings > Member Privacy.
  4. Ensure the Identification required for new members field has the option "Either display name or organization profile" selected.
  5. Select Group Settings > General.
  6. Select On for Allow External Members.
  7. Press Save Changes.
  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Click People > Members under the left-hand side menu.
  4. Search for a member in the search box at the top or select a member from the list.
  5. Make sure to check the box in front of the names of the selected members. (The box appears when your cursor hovers over the profile pictures)
  6. Click Change Posting in the top right and select Allowed.

To view and accept requests to join your group:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Click People > Pending Members under the left-hand side menu.
  4. Click the checkbox next to the person who wishes to join your group. Two buttons appear: Approve applicant and Reject applicant.
  5. Click Approve applicant or Reject applicant beside the applicant.

There are a few ways to subscribe to an existing mailing list. If this is a Course or Program list and you are student, you are automatically added because of your registration information. The Owner/Manager is responsible for the registration information used to populate these lists. Any changes are to be requested with an email to help@ryerson.ca.   

Faculty and Staff can ask to get access to lists using the following methods:

  1. If you know the list Owner/Manager, you can contact them and ask to be added.
  2. You can find an existing list and join using the web interface, external link for the Groups mailing list.
  3. Send a blank email to listname+subscribe@ryerson.ca, replacing listname with the email address for the Groups list. The list Owner/Manager will receive your request and will approve your membership. Only for public lists you will be directly added to the list.

Note: List Managers are required to check their lists to see if there are any outstanding invites or join requests.

There are two ways to unsubscribe from a mailing list (choose either one of them):

  • You can leave multiple groups at a single time using the web interface. To do this:
    1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing my Mailing Lists).
    2. Click My Groups and you will see a listing of all Google Groups lists you are subscribed to.
    3. Click Leave this group for all the groups you want to leave/unsubscribe.  
  • Send a blank email to listname+unsubscribe@ryerson.ca  replacing listname with the email address for the Groups list. You may have to verify your email address. You will receive an email confirming that you have been removed from the Groups list.

For students on Course or Program lists, you are automatically added because of your registration information and cannot unsubscribe.

You can add or subscribe the Google groups you manage to another Google group that you manage. If you have a group A which needs to subscribe to group B, here is what to do:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group (group A from our example).
  3. Click People > Members under the left-hand side menu.
  4. Click Add members. Decide if you will be adding this group B as a Group member or a Group manager and place the name of the group in the appropriate text box. Add a welcome message if you please and adjust the subscription level for the subgroup.
  5. Fill in the name of the group you want to subscribe to (group B from our example) in the Add subscription field. Once added, the group subscription will be listed in the Subscriptions field.

Note: Once a Google Group is added as a member to another group, it will be indicated at the top of the Google Group name where you see the count of members as 1 subgroup is part of the membership.

 

Adjust Settings

You can audit access to your Google Group by going to the privacy section of your Group's About page. There you will see:

  • who can see the group
  • who can view members
  • who can view conversations
  • who can post and any moderation on the posts
  • who can join the group

By default the discoverability of your group is set to "group members". Group members will be able to also view the group in search results and will be able to see the About page of the group. Non-group members will not be able to find the group or access it even if they have a link.

Under Group settingsGeneral > Who can see group, you can now set your Group to be discoverable by:

  • Group members
  • Organization members
  • Anyone on the web

As a group manager, you can choose to not store conversation history in Google Groups and have members only receive emails of all the posts. To turn off conversations history in Google Groups go to Group settings>Posting policies>Conversation history.

Using the Email Options menu, you can customize the emails sent to your group. These options will let you:

  • Add a subject prefix or email footer 
  • Set up an auto response
  • Choose how replies are shared with the group
  • Select the maximum size of a message sent to your group
  • Tell people when a message they send isn't received by the group

To change the following settings, go to:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Go to Group Settings.
  4. Make your changes (all the given options are explained below) and click Save Changes at the

Subject Prefix

Setting this option will add text to the subject lines of all messages posted to the group. It is recommended to surround a prefix with [ ] brackets. If you chose your group name to be added here, all email notifications subject lines will have [yourgroupname] as the prefix, e.g. [acc101-year1].

Email Footer

Google Groups provides you with two choices for email footers, Standard Groups Footer and Include a custom footer. By selecting one or both of these options, you will have default text appearing on the bottom of your message.

With Standard Groups Footer selected and using "demogroup" as an example, your message will display as follows:

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to demogroup+unsubscribe@ryerson.ca. To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/a/ryerson.ca/d/msg/demo/topic-id/message-id

With Include a custom footer selected and using "demogroup" as an example, your message will display as follows:

--
This line is for custom footer text
---

Any External email accounts will receive by default the following:
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "demogroup" group.

Auto Replies

Setting this option will automatically send a response when someone emails your group.

  • Enable auto-reply to members inside the organization.
  • Enable auto-reply to non-members inside the organization.
  • Enable auto-reply to members outside the organization.
  • Enable auto-reply to non-members outside the organization.

Check the box next to the option you like best, then type your text into the box that appears below. You can select more than one box as well as different replies for members and non-members.

Post Replies To

Group managers can decide if an email is either automatically sent to the entire group, only to the author, or only to the managers (Ensure Advanced options are enabled in the top right). Check the box next to the option you like best:

  • All group members - Automatically send email replies to everyone in the Group.
  • Group managers only - Only Group managers receive the email reply.
  • Group owners only - Not recommended to use this option. 
  • The author of the message only - Sends a message to the original sender of the email.
  • Sender choose recipient (default)
    • Selecting “Reply to author” will send the response to the person who sent the original message.
    • Selecting “Reply all” will send the response to the entire Group, as well as the author of the original message.
  • A custom address - Specify an email address to receive all replies.

If you are a member and want to know who will receive your response, you can click the Reply/To field within your email.

Note:  Resetting the Post Replies To option will not change the posting permissions for your list. If your list is set so that only Managers and Members with posting access can post, this will remain the same.

Max Message Size is 25MB

The maximum size of a message you can send to the group is a maximum of 25MB.

Rejected Message Notifications

This option enables a group manager to let members know if the group does not receive a message. By default, rejected message notifications are not enabled for a Google Group.

To enable rejected message notifications, check the ON circle under Rejected message notifications. (Ensure Advanced options is enabled in the top right)

When your Google Group receives an email identified as spam, it will be held for review by group managers and will NOT be routed to recipients' spam folders. The group manager(s) will receive an email with the subject line:

Moderator's spam report for [yourgroupaddress]@ryerson.ca

If the message has been incorrectly identified as spam, you can follow the link in the spam notification in order to approve and release the message.

Please note that the Group's spam filter is independent from the spam filters in each individual mailbox. In other words, a moderator may release a message from the Group's spam filter, but after being sent to the individual members of the group, the message may still get caught by each of their spam filters if identified as such.

You can change the way your spam is handled by going to Group Settings > Posting Policies > Spam message handling. (Ensure Advanced is enabled in the top right)

As a member of various lists/groups, you may want to receive No Emails for some time, eg. going on vacation etc.

To set the option of No Emails, follow:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups and in the Subscription column of the group you wish to turn off emails for, select Each email dropdown button and select No Email.
  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group (group A from our example).
  3. Click Group settings > Posting policies (Ensure Advanced is enabled in the top right).
  4. Uncheck Allow Email posting.
  5. Make sure Allow web posting option is checked.

If the above settings are set, a user who emails the Group will get back a Delivery Status Notification (Failure) email that says, "Technical details of permanent failure: The group yourgroup@ryerson.ca does not allow posting through email."

If a group member bounces a message delivered to the group, the member will enter a bounce state. Group Managers can view a list of bouncing group members by:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing my Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group (group A from our example).
  3. Click People > Members under the left-hand side menu.
  4. Click the Bouncing button at the top of the main screen. All the members whose email addresses are bouncing group messages are listed here.

If the Display Name, on the All Members list is showing as "(not set)" you can reset the option to display employee names and students email addresses. 

To change the following settings, go to:

  1. Access Google Groups (refer to Accessing My Mailing Lists).
  2. Click My Groups > name of the group you want to edit.
  3. Click Group settings from the left side panel.
  4. Scroll down to the Member privacy section.
  5. From the drop down menu called Identification required for new members, choose either of the three options.