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Google Drive Sharing Settings for Hypothesis-enabled LMS Assignments

When you’re creating a Hypothesis-enabled assignment in your LMS, you have the option to upload or choose a PDF from Google Drive.

Location of "Select PDF from Google Drive" button

The first time you choose this option you’re asked to give Hypothesis access to your Google Drive account. The permissions we ask for are necessary for us to display the selected PDF to everyone who can view the assignment in your LMS.

Once you’ve selected the PDF for your assignment, Hypothesis will change Drive’s sharing settings on that PDF to “Anyone with the link can view”. This happens automatically; there is no need for you to change any settings in Drive.

Location of "Anyone on the internet with this link can view" in Google Drive share window

For more information on file sharing settings in Google Drive, see Google’s help article on file sharing.

Why does Hypothesis need permission to access Drive, and why does it need to change the document sharing settings?

You can view the permissions granted to Hypothesis by visiting your Google Account page, navigating to Security > Manage third-party access, and selecting Hypothesis from the list of third-party apps.

Google third-party app window describing Hypothesis LMS App permissions

Hypothesis needs permission to make changes to files in Drive so that it can (1) allow you to upload a PDF and (2) change the sharing settings on PDFs so that your Hypothesis-enabled assignments work properly. We do not change anything else in your Drive, nor do we alter the contents of any of the files in Drive.

Hypothesis needs to change sharing settings on PDFs so that the app can access the PDF and display it when you or a student open the LMS assignment.

Does this make my file searchable?

The “Anyone with a link can access” sharing setting does not make your file searchable, either on the web or internally to your organization within Drive. It is accessible to others if you give them the file’s web address, but as long as you have not shared that address the file will not appear in search results.

What if I manually change the sharing settings on the Drive files back to something more private?

If you change the sharing settings from “Anyone with the link can View” to something else, any Hypothesis-enabled assignments that rely on that PDF will stop working correctly. If your assignments are no longer working because you’ve manually adjusted the Drive sharing settings, you can get them working again by manually changing them back to “Anyone with the link can View”.

How do I revoke access to my Google Drive for Hypothesis?

To revoke all permissions and access granted to the Hypothesis LMS app, visit your Google Account page, navigate to Security > Manage third-party access, and select Hypothesis from the list of third-party apps. Then click the button to Remove Access.

Location of "Remove Access" button for Hypothesis LMS App

Note that this will revoke Hypothesis access to any files stored in your Google Drive. It will not, however, change any share permissions on existing PDFs. Any PDFs previously used in Hypothesis assignments will still have a publicly available URL and access set to “Anyone with the link can view”. You will need to manually adjust those share permissions if you no longer want the files to be accessible.

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