Create group work areas for users with the Groups tool. You can use groups to organize users’ work on projects and assignments, or you can create special work areas for users with different learning needs.
Users can belong to multiple groups within the same course. For example, each user can simultaneously belong to a group for class projects, a group for special interest discussions, and a group for advanced users. Each group can have its own discussion forums, dropbox folders, and locker area to work in. You can grade members of groups individually or as a team.
Do one of the following:
Before setting up groups you should know how you want to organize them. A number of things can affect how users enroll in groups, including:
Tip In most cases it is better to set up groups after the majority of users enroll in your course. This gives you a better idea of how many users you are organizing and how many groups you need. Setting up groups after enrollment can also ensure better distribution of users between groups.
Important In order for users to enroll in groups automatically, Can be auto enrolled into groups must be enabled. Contact your site administration if you experience difficulties.
Users are enrolled in groups based on the enrollment options selected on the New Category page. Use the Enroll Users page to:
Discussion posts remain in the old group and do not count towards a user’s grade if the forum or topic is associated with a grade item. The user must satisfy the discussion post requirements in the new section. You can override a grade using the Grades tool.
Locker files remain in the old group. Users must add any files they want to keep to the new locker area themselves.
Dropbox submissions submitted for the old group remain with the old group. The user receives the grade achieved by the new group on any group dropbox folders. You can change the user’s grade back to the original group’s mark in Grades.
Course participants access the Groups tool through the classlist or by clicking the Groups link on the course navbar.
On the Manage Groups page, users can do the following:
You have a class of 185 users.
Your latest assignment requires users to use a software program that is only available in certain labs which must be booked and supervised. You book 4 labs that can hold 50 users each and create 4 corresponding groups.
You select group options as follows:
You have a class of 29 users.
Your latest assignment requires that users research a particular topic, write a report on it, and hold a seminar for the class. You know that you want users to work in groups of 5, but you want to give them some flexibility in choosing both who they work with and what topic they work on.
You select group options as follows:
Use categories to organize and manage related groups. For example, you can have a category for Assignment 1, Assignment 2, Seminars, Remedial Help, and Book Reviews.
If you want to create a new set of groups, you need to set up a category and create restricted work areas for the groups first.
The Workspace summary page lists how many groups, discussion forums, lockers, and dropbox folders were created for the category.
When you create a new category with Set up discussion areas selected, you are automatically taken to the Create Restricted Discussion Areas page. On this page, you can create a separate topic for each group within an existing or new forum.
Note Click Skip to go to the next page in the groups setup process without creating any restricted discussion areas.
When you create a new category with Set up dropbox folders selected, you are automatically taken to the Create Dropbox Folders page. Creating a dropbox folder from this page creates a folder for each of the groups in the category. See Creating dropbox folder s for more information.
Note Click Skip to go to the next page in the groups setup process without creating any shared folders.
If you select the Set Up Locker option, locker areas are automatically created for each group in the category.
If you add a new group with Auto-enroll new users enabled, new users automatically enroll in the new group until users are evenly distributed between it and other groups. Once it is the same size as other groups, new users are added normally.
Auto-enroll new users New users are automatically added to the group with the least users, or to a new group if the maximum size of all existing groups has been met.
Use this option when you don’t want to manually add new users to groups.
Note If you choose the enrollment type Groups of # you might end up with a group that has only one or a few users in it. You can manually change group enrollment, including adding users to full groups, using the Enroll Users page. See Enrolling users in sections  for more information.
Randomize users in groups Users are added to groups based on a random order. If this option is not selected, users are added to groups alphabetically based on their order in the classlist.
Set up discussion areas Allows you to select or create group specific discussion forums and topics.
Use this option when you want users to share ideas, ask questions, and discuss material using the Discussions tool.
Set up lockers Allows you to create a locker area for each group.
Use this option when you want users to store their work in a group work area where other members of the group can view and modify it.
Set up dropbox folders Allows you to create dropbox folders for each group. A group can have multiple dropbox folders belonging to different categories.
Use this option when you want each group to have its own dropbox folder submissions area. This could be helpful if different users are responsible for grading different groups.
The following descriptions explain the enrollment type options available when creating a new category and provide conceptual information on when they should be used.
# of Groups – No Auto Enrollments Selecting this option creates a specified number of groups, which you can add any number of users to through the Enroll Users page.
Use this enrollment type when you know how many groups you want to create and which users you want in each group. Select this option when you have a teaching model that divides course participants into specific learning levels or when you want to divide users by skill or interests.
Groups of # Selecting this option creates the minimum number of groups needed to place users in groups of a specified maximum size. More groups are created when they are needed to accommodate users.
Note If you also enable Auto-enroll new users and all of the existing groups reach their maximum size, new users are added to a new group. Because there is no way to know how many new users will join, all new users are added to the same group until it is full. This is called a bucket-filling algorithm because the limits of one group must be met before creating another group.
Use this enrollment type when you know how many users you want in each group. Select this option when you have assignments that require work to be divided between a specific number of users, or when you can only accommodate a set number of users in a lab or work area at one time.
# of Groups Selecting this option creates a specified number of groups.
Use this enrollment type when you know how many groups you want to create, but want the system to place users in groups for you. Select this option when you want group membership to be indiscriminate, or when classroom, resource, or teaching assistant availability restricts the number of groups you can have.
Groups of # – Self Enrollment Selecting this option creates the minimum number of groups needed to accommodate users in groups of a specified maximum size automatically. Users choose the group they want to enroll in from the Groups page.
Use this enrollment type when you know how many users you want in each group, but you want to allow users to choose their own groups. Select this option when you want users to choose their groups based on friendship, learning style, schedules, or geographic location.
Note If there are no users enrolled in your course at the time of creation, then only one group is initially created. You can use the Edit Category page to add additional groups. Add additional groups if you want to ensure all users have options when forming groups.
# of Groups – Self Enrollment Selecting this option creates a specified number of groups, which users enroll in from the Groups page.
Use this enrollment type when you want to make a specific number of groups available for users to join. Select this option when you want to organize groups on specific topics, which users can join based on interest, or for creating groups that are responsible for specific aspects of a larger project, which users can join based on knowledge or task preferences.
# of Groups of # – Self Enrollment Selecting this option creates a specified number of groups with a specified number of enrollments per group. Users choose the group they want to enroll in from the Groups page.
Use this enrollment type when you know how many users you want in each group, you want to allow users to choose their own groups, and you want each group to have a maximum number of users. Select this option when you want users to choose their groups based on areas of interest or responsibility in larger projects, but you want to limit membership in each group to a certain number of users.
Self-enrollment allows users to enroll in groups on their own. Use this option when you want users to have the freedom to choose their own group members or to be a part of a group on a topic that interests them.
Users can self enroll in groups by clicking the Choose Group link beside the name of a group category set up for self enrollment. The link displays at the top of the user’s Groups page when self-enrollment is available.
Note If a group is full, the Members column will display the total number of group members in red with "(Full)" beside it.
Tip Clicking on the total listed in the Members column opens the Group Members pop-up, which contains a list of current group members. You cannot click on full groups.
You can edit group enrollment in restricted discussion forums and topics in the Groups tool. You can add, edit, or delete forums or topics restricted by group in the Discussions tool. See Setting group and section restrictions for a discussion forum or topic  for more information.
How a user that can lead courses is enrolled in groups depends on whether they have access to all groups or only select groups. Users should have access to all groups if they are responsible for mediating, grading, and working on material for the entire class. They should have access to select groups if they are only responsible for mediating, grading, or working on material for a particular group.
Best practice Add staff that are working with select groups the same way you add users.
Important If an administrator enables Can be auto enrolled into groups, users that lead courses and assisting users (like teaching assistants) are added to groups at the same time as regular users; this could mean that all or most of your staff end up in the same group. Make sure you even out enrollment using the Enroll Users page.
Tip Use the Not Enrolled search option to see a list of users that need to be enrolled.
Tip Select the Not Enrolled search option to find users that that do not belong to a group.
Tip Manually enrolling users allow you to exceed the enrollment limit for a group.
When you delete a user from a group, all of their files remain in the system, including discussion posts, dropbox submissions, and locker files.