Google Email & Apps

What are Google Email & Apps?

Google Email, often referred to as Gmail, is an electronic messaging service hosted by Google. It is included in the Google Apps for Education enterprise system, the system used for Northwestern student email accounts. Also included are many of the other productivity tools developed and maintained by Google, such as Google Drive cloud storage and the Google Docs suite.

Examples of Google Email & Apps Uses

While the uses of email may be commonplace enough to be self-explanatory, distance learning collaboration through other productivity tools is relatively new. Students can use Google Docs, Sheets, and Presentation to collaboratively create and edit text documents, data spreadsheets, and visual presentations without having to be physically located in the same place. Since everything is stored in Google Drive and accessible on any device, there’s no need to send file attachments or save files to a USB drive; everything is centrally located in the cloud and available to decentralized users.

When should I use Google Email & Apps?

You should use a Google Account when you want to collaborate with students during the creation process of the digital artifacts they will submit for their assignments. Canvas supports the inclusion of Google Docs in Collaborations to help simplify the process of assigning members to groups. (Learn more about Canvas Collaborations.) This allows you to have realtime access to the documents students create as they are working on them, helping you keep track of who is participating and also offer feedback and suggestions on smaller iterations prior to issuing the final feedback and grade in the Canvas SpeedGrader. It’s great for students too, since they can submit an assignment directly from Google Docs without having to store a file on their computer.

How do I use Google Email & Apps?


Since Google Accounts are fully supported by Google, all of the current support documentation is available online. The best part is that when you can’t find an answer to something related to a Google product, you can Google it!

For assistance requesting a Northwestern Google Account, please contact Northwestern IT. Additional information about requesting an account is available on the Google Email and Apps Guide on the Distance Learning website.


Google has extensive resources on the accessibility features of their apps and tools.