The process to upload files to Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive on Android is no more or less difficult than on iOS, the only major difference is that on Android the file system is more accessible and we can access areas such as the Documents, Downloads, Pictures, and Videos folder.
We should confirm which services are used by the student’s school, so we can direct the user to download either Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive.
Once we have confirmed the technology vendor for their school’s email services, we can ask the user to install Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive by providing the below links to the Google Play store:
Microsoft One Drive
Please note that Android users have the ability to side load applications from outside their device’s store, if this turns out to be the case we can only direct them to download the applications through the Google Play Store1.
Verify the user is logged in to Google Drive
Once the user has installed the relevant application, we would ask the user to open the app and to login with their school account, since Google Drive might come pre-packaged with their device they will need to add their school account, they would tap on the profile picture/icon that appears in the top right corner of Google Drive then tap on Add another account and go through the process of signing in with their school account.
Once they have added their school account both their school and personal accounts will be listed, as only one account can be active at a time the account listed at the top (with the text Manage your Google Account written underneath) is the active account and the school account, and any other accounts, would be listed underneath; to switch to the other account we would simply tap on it.
Verify the user has enough space on Google Drive
We would like to verify with the user that they have enough space to upload their files, most likely this will not be necessary as school accounts should have more than the 15 GB that free accounts receive, however if there is an issue we can use this as a reference.
We will ask the user to open the Google Drive app, and tap on the hamburger button (an button that appears as three horizontal lines) that appears, this button should appear in the top left corner of Google Drive regardless of device. This will open a new navigation block which will have an area at the bottom that indicates how much space has been used, in our example we have 161.4 MB out of 15 GB used.
How to upload files to Google Drive
As mentioned earlier in this guide, there are several different options for a user to upload files, such as using their web browser, however we would like to restrict the user to using the Google Drive app to make the process as simple as possible for everyone.
We will direct the user to open the Google Drive app on their Android device and to tap on the + button in the bottom right of the app; this will cause a small popup to appear where the user will want to tap on the Upload button.
The user will now be presented with a file selector that offers a similar appearance to the default file manager for Android. In this file selector the user will need to locate their file(s), this can be done from the default page (Recent) which lists recent files that were modified on the device; however the user can also tap on the hamburger button in the top left to expand the navigation block.
With the navigation block expanded the user can tap to view the files on their device by type (image, video, audio, document) or they can search the actual device or SD card. Once the user has located the file(s) that they wish to upload they will need to tap and hold the image until a check mark appears with the file, this indicates the user is in a selection mode which will allow them to tap and select additional files.
Once the user has selected all the relevant files, they will need to tap on the Select button to initiate the upload.
Depending on the size of the file the upload can be completed quickly or slowly, however if the file is larger the user will see the file as indicated in the image to the left, where the file name is in grey while the file is uploading. Once the upload is complete the file will re-appear in the list of files as per whatever sorting mechanism is used by the user in Google Drive.
How to share a file from Google Drive
Once the files have been uploaded to Google Drive we would direct the user to locate the file within Google Drive then tap on the ⋮ button next to the file name and select Share from the sharing sheet that appears.
This will bring up the properties for sharing the file that the user has selected. By default, the file will have no sharing properties set and we will need to direct the user to tap on the Not shared button. Upon clicking on the Not shared area the user will be presented with a screen that shows the owner of the file (in this case their name and email address would appear at the top) as well as the General access to the file, by default it is set to Only people added can open with the link, what this setting refers to is if the user specifically shares the file with specific users which can be done from the previous page and is a fairly simple process2, however we are more concerned with sharing the file(s) in a more general manner.
We will ask the user to tap on the Change button under General access, this will load a page where we can choose one of two options for access – Restricted or Anyone with the link (meaning anyone can access the file if they are provided the link). On this page we will ask the user to tap on Anyone with the link, it will take a moment for the setting to fully process and the screen will change as in the image below:
In the above there is an additional setting that the user can choose which in this case is by default set to Viewer, the current setting indicates that anyone who is provided the link can view the file, but they cannot edit the file. The user will not need to change this setting however if they indicate that others should be able to edit the file then they will tap on Viewer and selected Editor.
Once the user is ready they can tap on the button indicated in the image above, this will copy the link to the shared file to the user’s clipboard, the user can at this point go into their course and paste the link, but we would ask that the user navigates back to the main page of Google Drive by tapping on the arrow next to General access, then to do the same for Manage access, and finally tapping on the X next to Share to close the sharing settings for the file.
At this point the user can proceed into their course and paste the link or alternatively to paste the link in an email they might send to their instructor. Please keep in mind that when pasting the link in their course, there might be additional steps that need to be taken - for instance in an embedded text editor the link might need to be inserted via a menu option, however by default simply pasting the link should work.
Verify the user is logged in to Microsoft One Drive
Once the user has installed the One Drive, we would ask the user to open the app and to login with their school account, since One Drive does not come pre-loaded with Android the user would be prompted to login right away with their school account credentials, however if they are already using One Drive we would direct them to add their school account.
The user can add their account by tapping on the icon at the bottom left corner of the app.
The user would then click on the Add account button and sign in with their school account. Once they have signed into their school account, they should be accessing One Drive with that account currently, we can ask the user to verify that this is the case by again tapping on the icon in the bottom left corner of One Drive and verifying that the school account has a check mark next to it, otherwise the user would need to tap on the school account to make it the active account.
Verify the user has enough space on Microsoft One Drive
We would like to verify with the user that they have enough space to upload their files, this not be necessary as school accounts should have more than the 5 GB that free accounts receive, however it might be necessary if they are trying to upload videos.
For the user to verify their storage statistics they would need to tap on the user icon in the navigation bar (as seen in the above image); this will display a page that shows the type of OneDrive subscription, in my case it is a Basic account with 5 GB of space, however when the user views this information their account might be of a higher tier than the one indicated in the image to the right.
Upload files to Microsoft One Drive from Android
We should start this process by directing the user to download the Microsoft One Drive app as it greatly simplifies the process. Once the app has been downloaded, we would verify that the user was able to open it and login with their school credentials, or personal account if they are using it.
Once they are logged in to One Drive on their device, we would ask the user to tap on the files icon in the navigation bar to access the main folder of their One Drive account. Once the user has accessed the main folder, they can tap on the + button in the top right corner of One Drive to initiate the process of uploading files to One Drive, we would like to point out that when uploading it from the main page that the files uploaded will be stored in this area3.
When tapping on the + button, there will be a sheet that appears with several options: Create folder, Upload, Take a Photo, Scan, etc. For the purposes of this guide, we will ask the user to tap on the Upload button. Pressing the Upload button will launch a file management tool from which the user can navigate their device.
The user should be be in the Recent files area by default, however the user will need to tap on the hamburger button (top left corner) to expand the navigation bar – which will present the user with shortcuts to access files on their device by file type: Images, Videos, Audio, and Documents. If the user taps on the Videos button they will see a list of video files or folders that contain video files. Alternatively, the user can also tap on the name of their device (in this case Galaxy Tab A8) or the SD card to navigate the contents of their device and external storage.
When the user has located the file(s) that they wish to upload they can tap and hold on the file until a check mark appears next to the name, the user is now in a selection mode where they can select more files and once, they have selected all the files they would like to upload they would tap the Select button in the top right corner to begin the upload.
How to share a file from One Drive
We start by asking the user to open the One Drive app on their Android device. When the app opens One Drive they will want to tap on the folder icon (My Files) in the navigation bar to view the contents of their One Drive. Once the contents of My Files is displayed the user will want to locate the file they wish to share, if the user requires that they share multiple files we would need to direct them to create a folder and to either upload the files to that folder, or if the files are already uploaded to move the files there4.
Once the user has located the file or folder they wish to share they will need to tap on the ⋮ button, this will bring up a sheet with several different actions from the user will select Share, this will display sharing settings for the file/folder5.
Within the settings for this file/folder we can direct the user to tap Can Edit and select Can View, this will make the shared file/folder viewable, but not editable, to those who are provided with the link. The next step is to tap Copy link, this will copy the link to the device’s clipboard.
At this point the user can now access their course and paste the link into their submission (for instance if it is a discussion board post) or in an email to their professor. Please note, that the user might experience an issue with pasting the link in their course and we may need to provide additional guidance – for instance the user will need to select an option from the menu of an embedded text editor to Insert a Link.
- Uploading files to Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive from iOS
- Uploading files to Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive from Windows/Mac
Consider the following example - students who request that we download their course materials on their behalf and send the files to them, there is nothing stopping us from doing so except it opens us up to potential liabilities, for instance if the files we provide cause their computer to be infected with malware we would be liable for damages. ↩︎
From the previous page the user would enter the relevant email addresses under Add people or groups, enter a message, and select the type of access – Viewing (read only), Editor (read/write), or Commenter (appending comments). ↩︎
If the user requires that the file be uploaded into the folder they can tap on the folder first (if it appears in this main area) or they would need to create the folder by tapping the same + button, selecting Create folder, and going through the process to create it. Once the folder is created the user would access the folder than tap on the + button and proceed to upload the file(s). ↩︎
If the user requires that they share multiple files they will need to either upload the files into a specific folder, or if they have already uploaded the files, to create a folder if needed, and move the files there. To move the files the user would need to tap and long press on one of the files to initiate selection mode, once enabled the user would then select each file then they would need to tap on ⋮ and select Move, from the next screen the user would need to select the folder then tap on the Move Here button to move their files to that folder. ↩︎
Please note that as I am using a basic One Drive account, the option to set an expiry date and time for sharing this file is unavailable to me, however if it is available to the student and they choose to set an expiry date and time they would do so by tapping on Set Expiration and going through the process to set an expiry date and time. ↩︎