Knowledgebase: General
How to use Google Groups
Posted by Erin Bard on 13 July 2010 02:59 PM
Google Groups Explanation and Usage Instructions

What is Google Groups and how do I use it?

Google Groups is similar to a public folder or shared email account. It is used by groups, clubs, or organizations on campus with student members who all need access to an email account.

To access a Google Group, log in to your student Google Apps email account. Once logged in you should see a grid of squares on the top-right corner of the screen that, when clicked, lists "Search, Mail, Drive, etc" and more. If you do not see "Groups" as part of this list, click on the "more" button on the bottom of the drop-down menu and you should see it. Select "Groups" and it should take you to the Google Groups main page. Select the group that you wish to view from the "My groups" list. You should now be viewing the group discussion page; this page is basically the group inbox.

If you do not see the group on the list, try pressing the "expand" button which will show all your groups. If you still do not see the group listed, please confirm with the group administrator that you have been added to the group.

Daily Usage for Normal Member

On the Discussions page is a list of all message threads. These threads function just like the email threads in Google Apps Email: all related emails (the "chain" of emails) will appear within a single thread. So if a student emails the group a new thread will be created and any emails between the student and the group will appear within that thread as long as the email subject remains the same (not counting the "re:" part of the subject).

Within each thread there are two options for replying: "reply" and "reply to author". If you select "reply" it will add your response to the group thread and email the original sender (i.e. the thread author). If you select "reply to author" it will only send an email to the original sender (i.e. the thread author). WARNING: if you choose "reply to author" your email will NOT show up in the thread. Therefore it is recommended that you always select "reply".

When you are responding on a thread and you are writing the email response there is a drop down list for the "From:" section. This enables you to respond from the group email accout (the ideal choice) or from your personal student email.

Personal Settings

To edit your personal settings within the group go to "Edit my membership" on the right side of the main group page. This should show you a page with several options. The first section "How do you want to read this group?" contains settings related to email notification. You can choose to automatically receive an email notification each time a new email arrives in the group inbox, to receive no email alerts, or to receive summary alerts each day. Here you can also set your personal email address and your nickname within the group.

Administrative Settings

Most administrative settings are located under "Group Settings" on the right side of the main page. Usually these settings do not need to be changed, but since some settings are important to have set a certain way, a guide to some of the settings is provided below. Within "Group Settings" are several tabs of options:
  • General
    • Group Name, Description, Public Website: These can be edited by clicking the "Edit" button at the bottom of the page. Please do not change the group name.
    • Group Address
      • Current web address: This is the URL address of the group page.
      • Current email address: This is the email address for the group.
  • Access
    • Who can view: Important! This must be set to "Only members can view group content". Otherwise any student will be able to read emails in the inbox and will be able to send emails from this email account.
    • Who can view members: This can be set to your preference. It controls who can see the members of the group. Default: "Only members can view group members list".
    • Who can join: Important! This needs to be set to either "People have to be invited" or "People can request an invitation to join". If you set it to "Anyone from houghton.edu can join" then any student can join the group, read the group emails, and write emails from the group email account. Default: "People have to be invited".
    • Allow External Members: Important! This must be set to "This group does not allow members not belonging to the domain". It should be set to this by default.
    • Who can post messages: Extremely Important! This MUST be set to "Anyone can post". If it is set differently please contact the Helpdesk so that we can reset this. If it is set differently it will likely prevent non- houghton.edu email addresses from reaching the account. Also the checkbox "Allow posting from the web" should be selected.
    • Who can invite new members: This can be set at your preference. Default: "Managers Only".
    • Message Moderation: We recommend you leave this on "No moderation - messages are delivered directly".
  • Appearance
    • This page is very straight forward and can be changed at your preference.
  • Navigation
    • This page controls the navigation bar on the right containing "Discussions" and "Members". It is recommended you do only minor editing on this page.
  • Email Delivery
    • Subject prefix: We recommend you not change this. Default is blank.
    • Message footer: This can be changed at your discretion. Default: "Do not use a footer".
    • Replies to messages: This can be changed at your discretion. We highly recommend using "Replies are sent to the whole group".
    • Maximum message size: We recommend you keep this on "Use the default".
    • Posting on behalf of the group: Extremely Important! This MUST be selected in order for members to respond using the group email address. Default: Selected.
    • Moderation notification: We recommend you keep this on the default: un-selected.
    • Bounce notification: We recommend you keep this on the default: un-selected.
  • Advanced
    • Nothing needs to be done on this page.
  • Spam Controls
    • Nothing needs to be done on this page; the default settings are fine.
User Management

Generally, only users who are expected to read and respond to the e-mail should be a member of a group.  Any users with Manager level access within the group may modify other user settings under the "Management tasks" link on the right side of the main page. On this page under the "Manage Members" tab is a list of email addresses that have access to the group along with their nickname, delivery (email alerts), and posting options. As a manager you can click the edit button and change their permissions and settings. Of particular interest are the "Membership Type" and "Unsubscribe" options; these features allow you to promote or demote the member as well as remove them from the group.

The other three tabs under "Management tasks" do not contain any important settings.

Invite Members

To invite other users into the group go to the "Invite members" link on the bottom right side of the main page. Then select the "Add members directly" tab. You may enter any email address you want as long as they are houghton.edu addresses. Anyone that you enter into this list will have member level access to the group immediately.

Once a member has been added to the group any manager may upgrade the member's permission level to manager or change their default settings.

FAQ
  • The group is not receiving emails from non- houghton.edu accounts: Go to "Group Settings" -> "Access" -> "Who can post messages?". This should be set to "Anyone can post". If it is not, and that option is not listed, please email the Helpdesk and we will be able to reset that setting.
If you have further questions or if any problems arise, please contact the Helpdesk.

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