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How to create a Google Circle for your course

A Google Circle can be used to enable video/chat Hangouts among your students, communicate with them in your Google+ stream, or to share a YouTube playlist.

Step 1: first you'll need to enable your Google+ account by clicking on your name (preceded by a "+") in the upper-left corner of your Gmail Inbox.

Step 2: Enter your name and gender. You can also upload a photo for your profile or do that later. Click Create Profile & Continue.

Once you've activated your Google+ profile, you can start creating Circles and adding other Google+ members to them. When you create a Google Circle for a class and add all your students' email addresses, they will receive an email invitation to activate their Google+ account (if they haven't already done so) in order to join the Circle.

Step 3: To make a new Circle, click on the "Circles" link from your profile or Google+ stream.

When you view your Circles page, you may see suggestions for people in the PSU community (who have already activated their Google+ profiles) to add to your Circles.

Step 4: In a new browser window, log in to D2L and open the class you want to make a Circle for. Click the Classlist link to see your students' names and email addresses.

Step 5: To create a circle for your course, roll over the "Drop here to create a new circle" icon. The text will change to a "Create circle" link.

Step 6: Name the new circle (your course name and, optionally, a term and section number). Click the "Add a new person" link. In the text box that pops up, paste the email address of your first student.

If your students haven't yet activated their Google+ profiles, you will be prompted to enter their full name. You can simply copy and paste that from your D2L classlist, too. Anyone who has a Google+ profile will automatically appear with their full name displayed.

Step 7: Once you have added all your student email addresses and names, click the "Create circle" button.

Once all your students have activated their profiles and responded to your invitation to join the course Circle, you can share the Circle with the Circle. This means that everyone in it will have the ability to post, share YouTube videos/playlists, or create Hangouts with the members of that circle. They can also create a small-group Circle by inviting specific members to join a new Circle.

Step 8: To share your course Circle with all the students in the Circle, go to your Circle page by clicking the Circles link on the left side of your Google+ stream. Click on the Circle you want to share, and choose the center icon, Share Circle.

You will have to wait until all your students have accepted your invitation to the Circle before you can share it with them. Until then, you'll get the following alert when you try:

Step 9: Once your students are all in Google+, you can share the Circle with then. Be sure to click two checkboxes when you do this: 1) to send an email notification that the Circle has been shared, and 2) to include yourself in the Circle when it's shared.

The students will be notified of the shared Circle in their Google+ stream. They will need to click on the Circle and name it in order for it to appear in their Circles page. Once they do so, you can invite them to create a smaller Circle of class members for Google Hangouts, etc.

Instructors- A PDF of this tutorial is available for download for use in your course.