Example Uses of Groups and Groupings

Groups and Groupings can be used to facilitate student collaboration within CourseSpaces. Here are a few examples of some of the ways that Groups and Groupings might be used within your course:

Example 1. Group Discussion Forums

Scenario: Your students are working on a group project. In order to facilitate planning, you would like a space where students can plan, share resources, and work on their project. You do not want students to see the work that other groups are doing - just their own group.

The Solution: Create groups in your course and ensure that each student is a member of one of the groups. Add a discussion forum where students can post, reply to one another, and share files/attachments. Set the group setting for the forum to Separate groups, which means that students are only able to view the discussions within their own group.

The How-To:

  1. Create groups in your course and add students (either manually, by auto-creation, or by allowing students to select their group with the Group Choice activity).
  2. Add a Discussion Forum in your course. In the forum settings, be sure to click on Common module settings. Set the Group mode to Separate groups. *Be sure to set the Group mode within the discussion forum, and not in the general course settings.
  3. Each student will click on the same forum link, but will only see the discussions within their own group.

Note: if your forum is set to Separate groups, you must be careful posting to students using the All participants method. If All participants is selected from the drop-down menu, and you add a new discussion topic, the students in their groups will not be able to reply to the post. They will need to create their own discussion topic to respond. If you wish to make a post in the groups that students can reply to, please first select the group from the drop-down menu, and then create the discussion topic. Repeat this process for all of the groups.

Example 2. Group Assignment Submission

Scenario: Your students are working on an assignment in small groups. Together, they are creating a word document which will be submitted for marking. You would like the students to submit their group assignment through CourseSpaces and receive their grade/feedback online as well.

The Solution: Create groups in your course and ensure that each student is a member of one of the groups. Add an assignment and ensure that the group submission settings are selected. Students will submit their assignment as a group and can either receive a joint group mark or individual marks.

The How-To:

  1. Create groups in your course and add students (either manually, by auto-creation, or by allowing students to select their group with the Group Choice activity).
  2. Add an assignment within your course. Be sure to check the following settings:
    1. Submission types: File submission. This allows your students to submit a file (e.g., Word document).
    2. Submission Settings > Require students to click submit button: If you set this to Yes, the Submit button must be clicked before the assignment is considered final/submitted. This is a good idea, as it indicates to the instructor that the submission is final and ready for marking.
    3. Group submission settings:
      • Students submit in groups: Yes
      • Require all group members submit: If the setting in Step 2.2 (above) is enabled, and this setting is set to Yes, then each member of the group must click the Submit button before the assignment will be considered submitted. If this is set to No, then the assignment will be submitted after one member of the group clicks Submit.
      • Common module settings > Group mode: Separate groups
  3. When you grade a student, you will see the setting: Apply grades and feedback to entire group. This setting allows you to choose whether or not all group members receive the same grade and feedback.

Example 3. Changing up group configurations throughout the semester

Scenario: At the start of the semester, your students are working on a project in groups of three. They will be using a discussion forum to plan and share resources. Later on in the semester, the students will be forming new groups of five members each and discussing an assigned topic in a new forum.

The Solution: The Groupings feature can be used to switch up the groups throughout the semester. You will create two sets of groups: one for the first discussion forum (groups of three) and another set of groups of five for the second forum. These will then be gathered into two groupings.

The How-To:

For Activity 1:

  1. Create groups within your course and add students (either manually, or by allowing students to select their group with the Group Choice activity). Perhaps call these groups: Assignment 1 Group 1, Assignment 1 Group 2, etc.
  2. Create a grouping called Assignment 1 Grouping. Add the groups that you created in Step 1 to this grouping.
  3. Add a Discussion Forum within your course.
    • Within the forum settings, be sure to click on Common module settings.
    • Set the Group mode to Separate groups (students can only view the work done within their own group) or Visible groups (students can view the work done within other groups, but only participate/post within their own group).
    • Set the Grouping to Assignment 1 Grouping. This tells CourseSpaces to use the first set of groups for this discussion forum: Assignment 1 Group 1, Assignment 1 Group 2, etc.

For Activity 2:

  1. Create new groups within your course and add students (either manually, by auto-creation, or by allowing students to select their group with the Group Choice activity). Perhaps call these groups: Assignment 2 Group 1, Assignment 2 Group 2, etc.
  2. Create a grouping called Assignment 2 Grouping. Add the groups that you created in Step 1 to this grouping.
  3. Add a Discussion Forum within your course.
    • Within the forum settings, be sure to click on Common module settings.
    • Set the Group mode to Separate groups (students can only view the discussions within their own group) or Visible groups (students can view the discussions of other groups, but only participate/post within their own group).
    • Set the Grouping to Assignment 2 Grouping. This tells CourseSpaces to use the second set of groups for this discussion forum: Assignment 2 Group 1, Assignment 2 Group 2, etc.

Example 4. Make an activity available to only a small subset of students

Scenario: You are teaching a course in which you have some undergraduate and some graduate students. The graduate students are required to complete an additional assignment in order to fulfill course requirements.

The Solution: Create a group of the graduate students and add this group to a grouping. When you create the additional assignment, configure the settings so that only the Graduate Grouping has access. To the undergraduate students in the course, the assignment will be invisible.

The How-To:

  1. Create a group called Graduate Students, and manually add all of the graduate students to this group.
  2. Create a grouping called Graduate Grouping. Add the Graduate Students group (from Step 1) to this grouping.
  3. Add an Assignment within your course. Be sure to check the following settings:
    • Within the assignment settings, be sure to click on Common module settings.
    • Set the Group mode to Separate groups.
    • From the Grouping drop-down, select the Graduate Grouping that you created in Step 2 above.
    • Check off the box beside Available for group members only.
  4. When the assignment is created, you will notice that it indicates the Grouping in parentheses beside the title. Only the students in that grouping will see the assignment.