My university has G Suite, and creates some G Suite lists, e.g., C-ABC123-Fall2019@example.com, which has all students enrolled in the course ABC123 in Fall, 2019. The G Suite domain is there, rather than example.com. The admins set up the lists (I don't manage them, as I'm just a prof). They work to email all the students (Gmail) and to control access to Google Docs. Very practical for that...

However, now I want a discussion forum of any kind that is limited to such groups and I have hit snags. Here's what I tried so far:

  • Google Groups (the "free" way I used to use before we had G Suite) won't accept the invite list, even though they exist and it recognizes them. I get the error: Some addresses are groups, but groups may not be added to other groups. when I try to add the groups. Obviously I don't have the emails of the 150+ students on all these groups, nor do I want to manage that to add them individually.
  • I set up a Google Classroom (within G Suite) since students can all contribute to the "stream," but it has the same limitation as above when you try to add students. It doesn't like that I try to add the groups of students.

I know I could create a Google Doc called "Forum" and ask people to make comments. But that's gonna be chaotic. What am I missing?

Is there a Google forum alternative that will accept those group definitions for permissions/invites?

  • I found out that chat.google.com (Hangouts) accepts inviting people using the lists my admins created. This is probably going to work for my needs now, although it's not really a forum. – Fuhrmanator Sep 25 '19 at 19:58
  • If you're looking for a G Suite product, it seems like Google Groups is what you're looking for. I'm sure you could access the list of e-mails. If you do, what is the difficulty with adding those e-mails? Does it take a long time? Is there no way to paste the list in when adding members? – ahorn Sep 26 '19 at 6:16
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    @ahorn I don't want to maintain the lists. Were talking 150+ students, some who will be added late, some who will drop, etc. It's not that I can't manage individual emails, but the list is already created and maintained by admins and their scripts. – Fuhrmanator Sep 26 '19 at 11:03