About Box Course Folders

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Box Course Folders, a locally developed tool available in Canvas, integrates Canvas with the IU Box service. The tool enables sharing and collaboration in the following ways:

  • When the tool is launched for the first time, a set of folders is created for the class. Instructors can use the folders to share files with other instructors or the entire class. The folders can also be configured to allow users in other roles to upload files and collaborate on content.
  • Instructors can create personal drop box folders for all students in the course. Drop box folders allow file sharing and collaboration between student and instructor. For more, see About student drop box folders in Box Course Folders.
  • Any course member, regardless of role, can invite the entire class or members of their own role-based groups to collaborate on a personal Box folder. For more, see Use Box Course Folders to share a personal folder with your class.
The Box Course Folders tool does not work with IU Guest accounts. However, if the owner of the IU Guest account has (or creates) an account at box.com, you can then manually add the guest to any of the folders created by the Box Course Folders tool.

For using student drop box folders, see About student drop box folders in Box Course Folders.

Enable Box Course Folders

The Box Course Folders tool is hidden by default.

To add a hidden tool to your course navigation menu:

  1. In your course navigation menu, click Settings.
  2. On the Navigation tab, in the list of hidden tools (under "Drag items here to hide them from students"), find the desired tool, and then click the corresponding Settings (gear) icon.

    To add the desired tool, click the corresponding gear icon, select 'Enable', and then click 'Save'.

  3. Select Enable and, if desired, drag and drop the enabled tool to change its position in the tool list.
  4. Click Save.

Launch Box Course Folders

  1. In the course navigation menu, click Box Course Folders.

    The first time you launch the tool, there may be a 50-60 second delay while folders and groups are created. After that, it should only take a few seconds for the tool to load.

    If you see an "Error communicating with Box" message, you need to set up your Box account; for help, see Get started with Box at IU.
  2. A menu will display. The options in the menu will depend on your course role. Instructors see:
    • Go to the Box folders for this course
    • Create student drop box folders (changes to Go to course dropboxes after drop box folders are created)
    • Share a personal folder with members of this course
  3. Click the desired menu option.
After you launch Box Course Folders in your course for the first time, you can access the folders either by launching the tool in the Canvas course or by logging directly into Box.

Work with Box Course Folders structure

Folder structure

The Box Course Folders tool creates a default set of folders for the course consisting of a top-level folder for the course and two subfolders. The top-level folder is visible only to teachers and equivalent roles (i.e., Co-Instructors and Librarians). One subfolder is for teachers only; the other is for the entire class.

All three folder names begin with the course title and the Canvas internal course ID in parentheses, e.g., SU15: ECOTOURISM: 25256 (1559999). The intended audience for the two subfolders is indicated by the second part of the folder name: INSTRUCTOR FILES (for instructors only) and COURSE FILES (for everyone in the class).

For an overview of the folder names and structure, see the information below:

Box Course folder structure

Folder Folder name example Folder type Audience
SU15: ECOTOURISM: 25256 (1559999)
Parent/top-level folder

Teachers and equivalent roles (i.e., Co-Instructors and Librarians)

SU15: ECOTOURISM: 25256 (1559999) - COURSE FILES
Subfolder Entire class
Subfolder Instructors only
  • The top-level folder cannot be moved inside another folder.
  • In the figure above, the COURSE_ID is the number following /courses/ in the course URL. For example, in the URL https://iu.instructure.com/courses/1559999/announcements, the course ID is 1559999.
  • If an instructor deletes any of the folders in the Course Folders hierarchy, they will not be recreated the next time someone launches the tool. Contact the Support Center if you need the folders to be recreated. The Support Center will not be able to recover the data from the deleted folders.

Add subfolders

Instructors can create new folders anywhere within the course folder hierarchy. New folders automatically inherit permissions from the parent folder. You can add additional users and groups to a subfolder, but you cannot modify inherited permissions. For instructions on adding folders, see Create New Files or Folders in the Box User Guide.

Course roles and Box groups and permissions

How Canvas roles work with Box groups

The Box Course Folders tool creates a separate Box group for each Canvas role, as well as a group for all class members regardless of role. As class members launch the tool, they are placed in the Box group for everyone and the Box group corresponding to their Canvas role. To allow personal folder sharing, Canvas teachers, TAs, designers, and derivative roles are also placed in subordinate groups (e.g., teachers are added to all role-based groups which allows them to share personal folders with any role).

Box group names are a combination of the Canvas internal course ID and an abbreviation for the Canvas role; for example, 1559999-TE is the group name for the Teacher (TE) role in the course with the internal ID of 1559999.

Box Course Folders uses the following Canvas role abbreviations:

  • TE: Teacher
  • DE: Designer
  • TA: TA
  • ST: Student
  • OB: Observer
  • ALL: All roles; group for everyone
  • When users withdraw or are removed from the Canvas course, they are also removed from the Box groups to which they had been added.
  • After the course's end date, the Box groups in each course folder are automatically replaced with the group's individual users; the groups are then deleted. Users who have more than one role are given the more generous of the associated Box access levels.

Default access levels

The Box group for teachers and equivalent roles is automatically added to the top-level folder as co-owner and inherited by the two subfolders, giving instructors full control over the folders as co-owners. In the COURSE FILES folder, course members with the Designer and TA Canvas roles receive the Box Editor role by default, while members with the Student and Observer Canvas roles have the Box Viewer role.

The table below shows the default access levels for each group for the COURSE FILES folder. For more about Box access levels, see The Different Access Levels for Collaborators.

Canvas role Canvas role abbreviation Box group name Box role (access level)





















Change Box roles

As co-owners, instructors can change the Box role assigned to specific Canvas roles in the folders created or shared by the Box Course Folders tool (e.g., COURSE FILES, student drop boxes, shared personal folders) to further restrict or relax permissions for users.

To change the Box role assigned to a group:

  1. In Box, navigate to the desired folder.
  2. The sidebar on the right shows the users and groups who have access to the folder. To change the Box role for any group, open the drop-down menu next to the group's name and select the desired Box role.

    If the sidebar list is long and you don't see the group or user you want, at the bottom of the list, click View All or +People/+Groups to see a full page view of all collaborators. The same drop-down menu is available in the "Permission" column for each user and group in the list.

  • If you wish to completely remove access for a specific role, you can also choose Remove.
  • Permissions for shard personal folders can be modified directly in box or by launching the menu option Share a personal folder with members of this course in the Box Course Folders tool, selecting the desired folder, and modifying the groups and permissions with which the folder has been shared.

This is document aafe in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-10-15 10:53:33.

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