Create a group in Moodle, and assign an activity to it

Overview

To assign an activity, or release a resource, to a select group of students, the group must belong to a grouping.

NOTE: If you need to, you can create a grouping containing a single group.

This page contains all instructions you'll need to create groups manually, auto-create groups, import groups from spreadsheet, create groupings, to release resources and activities to groupings, and to manage groups generally.

A separate page describes how to create groups and groupings using Team Builder, a tool created by the UNSW Faculty of Engineering to assign students to groups based on their answers to a series of instructor-specified questions. This gives you more control than allowing Moodle to create groups, but can involve some work setting up the initial logic. However it can then be easier to assign students to a group of your choosing.

Sometimes you want to allow students to choose which group they will join for group work purposes in Moodle. A separate page tells you how to create a Group Selection activity, and how to change group memberships once students have made their selections.

Guide

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Step by step instructions


See also:


Create a group

  1. In the Settings block, select Course administration > Users > Groups.

    Create a group 1.1.png
     
  2. On the Groups page, click Create group. (Alternatively, you can click Auto-create groups and specify how you want all students in the class divided into groups.)

    Create a group 1.2.png
     
  3. On the Create group page:
    • Enter a Group name.
    • Enter a Group description, if necessary.
    • If you wish, enter an Enrolment key. In this way, you can restrict access to the course to users who know the key. Entering the key will admit the user to the course and automatically make them a member of this group. This will only take effect if the course has been created as a Self-Enrolment Course.
    • If you wish, you can add an identifying picture for the group, which you can choose to Hide or display.
    • Click Save changes.

      Create a group 1.3.png
       
Instead of continuing on to steps 4 and 5, once you have created a number of groups you can create a Group selection activity that allows students to enrol themselves in groups.
  1. On the Groups page, click on the group you want to add or remove users from. click Add/remove users.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  2. On the Add/remove users page:
    • Select names from the Potential members list.
    • Click Add to move them into the Group members list.

      Create a group 1.4.png

Use the Class ID list for easier group creation

You can now auto-create groups using Class ID for much faster group creation based on student enrolments. Class ID's come from Timetabling and reflect what lectures/tutorials/laboratories that a student is enrolled in.

  1. Navigate to Settings>Users and then click on Groups.

  1. In the Groups tab, click Auto-Create groups.

  1. In the Grouping of auto-created groups drop down menu select Class ID.
  2. Click Submit.

  1. Your group containing all users with the same Class ID will now have been created. 

When enrolments change in your course groups will not be automatically updated.  To update groups repeat steps 1-5 above.
If your Moodle course contains more than 1 Class ID e.g. you have a lecture and a tutorial, then a group will be created for each Class ID. If necessary you can manage these groups using the grouping function (a group of groups). 

Import groups

You can create a group list in Excel and import it into your Moodle course in the following way:

  1. In MS Excel:
    • Create a new spreadsheet.
    • Name the first column 'userid' and the second column 'group'.
    • Enter the students' zIDs in the userid column, and the group names in the group column.
    • Save the spreadsheet as a CSV file.

      Create a group 1.4.png
       
  2. In the relevant Moodle course, in the Settings block, select Course administration > Users > Groups.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  3. On the Groups page, click Import groups.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  4. On the Import groups page, click Choose a file.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  5. In the File picker, click Upload a file, then Browse for, Open and Upload the CSV file you created at step 2.
  6. On the Import groups page, click Import groups. A list of the groups that have been successfully added will display. Click Continue to see the groups listed on the course groups page.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     

Create a grouping

A grouping is a set of groups. Groupings enable groups of students to be arranged into different sets of groups for each activity.

Why are groupings necessary?

Use groupings to restrict access to an activity or resource to a subset of students. To assign an activity, or release a resource, to a select group of students, the group must belong to a grouping.

For example, instead of giving the whole class access to a discussion forum, you may want only some members to see it and participate, and you may want that subset of students to also conduct their discussion within separate or visible groups. To make the forum available to some groups but not others in the class, place the groups who need access to the forum in their own grouping.

A grouping can contain only one group, or several groups. If you assign a resource or activity to a grouping, only students who are members of groups within the nominated grouping will be able to view the resource or complete the activity. It will be invisible to other groups or groupings.

  1. In the Settings block, select Course administration > Users > Groups.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  2. On the Groups page, click the Groupings tab.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  3. On the Groupings page, click Create grouping.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  4. On the Create grouping page, enter a Grouping name, and click Save changes.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  5. On the Groupings page, in the Edit column for the new grouping, click the Show groups in grouping icon .

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  6. On the Add/remove groups page:
    • Select a group or groups in the Potential members list.
    • Click Add to move the selected groups into the Existing members list.

      Create a group 1.4.png
       

Allow Moodle to create groups (within a grouping) for you

  1. On the course home page, in the Settings block, under Course administration, select Users > Groups.

    Auto create
     
  2. On the Groups page, click Auto-create groups.

    Click auto create groups button
     
  3. On the Auto-create groups page:
  • under General
    • enter a Naming scheme
      • G​roup @ will create groups named Group A, Group B, Group C . . .
      • Group # will create groups named Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 . . .
    • at Auto create based on, select whether you will created groups based on the number of groups or the number of members per group, then enter that number in the Group/member count field.
    • at Group/member count, enter the number of members you want in each group
  • under Group members
    • select which role (probably Student) and/or the cohort/grouping/group you want to select from
    • select how you want Moodle to Allocate members to the groups, if you don't want the default random selection. (If this is to be a self-enrolment grouping, select No allocation.)
    • If you specify Members per group and select Prevent last small group, members will be added to existing groups rather than a new group being created with fewer than the specified number of members.
      select if you want to Ignore users (already) in groups
  • under Grouping
    • at Grouping of auto-created groups, specify whether to add the groups to a new or an existing grouping. If you select New grouping, also complete the Grouping name field.
  • Click Preview. The groups display in a table. For auto-allocated groups, the Group members also display; for non-allocated groups, this column is empty.

    Enter auto-create group options
    Enter auto-create group options
    Enter auto-create group options
  1.  Make any adjustments needed, and click Submit. The new groups display in the Groups page.

    Preview and submit
     

Release a resource to a grouping

  1. On the Adding or Updating page of the resource, under Common module settings:
    • Select whether you want the resource to be Visible at this point. (You can Hide it now, then return later and change it to Show, if you wish.)
    • Select the Available for group members only check box.
    • Select the appropriate Grouping from the drop-down list.
       
  2. If you wish to restrict the resources to grouping members only, click the Add group/grouping access restriction button (you may need to expand the Restrict access section after clicking this button).

    Depending on your requirement you should add an access restriction based on Group or Grouping.

    Note this will cause the activity/resource to appear in grey since a restriction has been applied.

    Group mode

    Restrict group  Restrict grouping
     
  3. Complete the rest of the page as appropriate and Save your changes.

Assign an activity to a grouping

If you want your class to undertake a small-group activity under the supervision of a single person (say, a project coach), you can create a single activity and use groups to keep each team's activity private. Specify an activity as a group activity in the Common module settings section of the activity's Add or Update page.

Separate groups and Visible groups

When you configure an activity as a Separate group activity, group members can only see their own group's work; they cannot see the work of other groups. So, for example, in a discussion forum, all students will click the same link to the single discussion activity, but when they enter the forum they will only see posts put up by members of their own group. Instructors can see all the groups' posts, but students can only see and participate in their own separate group activity.

The Visible groups option enables students to view other groups' work, but they can only contribute to their own group's activity. This is useful when you want students to be aware of how other groups are undertaking an activity.

Set up groups first

Before you perform the steps below, you should have set up the appropriate groups, taking care to include the supervisor in every group they will be coaching. Then create the activity, including the following steps (you can also perform them on an existing activity):

  1. On the activity's Adding or Updating page, under Common module settings:
    • Select whether you want the resource to be Visible at this point. (You can Hide it now, then return later and change it to Show, if you wish.)
    • For Group mode select either:
      • Separate groups (where a group can only see their own group's work, for complete privacy) or
      • Visible groups (where a group has read-only access to other groups’ work, for limited privacy).
    • For Grouping, select the grouping.
    • If you wish to restrict the resources to grouping members only, click the Add group/grouping access restriction button (you may need to expand the Restrict access section after clicking this button). Note this will cause the activity/resource to appear in grey since a restriction has been applied.
  2. Complete the rest of the page as appropriate and Save your changes.

Set up an assignment with self-selected student groups

You can set up an assignment where students, having selected themselves into groups, are asked to address different questions or topics. You do this by creating a group selection activity, which is all that the students will be able to view in the course home page.

  • Once they have chosen a group, the assignment for that group will display.
  • Once they have submitted their individual assignment, you will be able to filter the submissions by group.
To set up an assignment in this way, you will need to have selected the Group mode of Separate groups or Visible groups in the Groups section of the Edit course settings page.

To set up an assignment to operate this way:

  1. Auto-create groups of students, one for each question or topic (e.g. Q1, Q2, Q3). On the Auto-create groups page,
  • under General
    • enter a Naming scheme
    • at Auto create based on, select Members per group
    • at Group/member count, enter the number of members you want in each group
  • under Group members
    • select which role (probably Student) and cohort you want to select from
    • at Select members from cohort (probably Any), Select members from grouping (probably None) or Select members from group (probably None), select the appropriate option
    • at Allocate members, select No allocation
  • under Grouping
    • at Grouping of auto-created groups, select New grouping and
    • enter the name of the assignment in the Grouping name field
  • click Submit.



  1. Create a group selection activity, ensuring that on the Adding a new Group Selection page you make the following selections:
  • In the General section, at Allow selection from, select the grouping you created at step 1
  • In the Common module settings section (click Show advanced if necessary), at Group mode, select No groups
  • at Visible, select Show.

  1. Create the assignment. On the Adding a new assignment page, under Common module settings (click Show advanced if necessary):
  • at Group mode select Separate groups or Visible groups, depending on whether you want the students to be able to see each other's work
  • at Grouping select the assignment-specific grouping
  • select the Available for group members only check box
  • at Visible, select Show.


     
  1. Once students have submitted their assignments, filter the submissions by going to the Submission inbox and selecting the group into the Visible groups/Separate groups drop-down box.

    Select group
     

View and export a group list, annotate or communicate with a group

Note that you can only perform these actions if Separate groups has been selected as the group mode on the Edit course settings page.)

  1. In the Navigation block, for the relevant course click Participants. A list of all course participants displays.

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  2. From the Separate groups drop-down list at the top of the page, select the group to display. A list of the group members displays. (Depending on the settings, you may need to click Show all below the list to view all the group's members.)

    Create a group 1.4.png
     
  3. Below the list, click Select all, and from the Choose drop-down list, select:
    • Send a message to open a page where you can enter a message, remove group members from the recipients list, preview and (in the preview page) send the message
    • Add a new note to open a page where you can add personal, course or site-specific notes for your own reference against, for example, individual students' names. Site-wide notes are visible to all instructors in all Moodle courses, and are not recommended.
    • Add a common note to open a page where you can add a personal, course or site-specific note that applies to all members of the group. Site-wide notes are visible to all instructors in all Moodle courses, and are not recommended.
    • Download as CSV to export the group list as a CSV file to your computer.

Additional information