Creating Groups
Posted by , Last modified by Katherine Martell on 08 February 2016 04:32 PM

First let's define what Moodle means by "Groups" versus "Groupings":

  • Group – A combination of individual students working together on the same project/assignment in a collaborative model.
  • Grouping – A collection of groups. A Grouping also provides a way to segregate Groups from each other within the same course or activity so their interaction is restricted or non-existent. A grouping can also be assigned to a particular assignment.

Groups can be used at two levels:

  • Course level - The use of groups can set for the course level making it the default mode for all activities created within that course. This is useful in a META course when each section of the course can be placed into a group and each group is then made invisible to the other, so the students are only interacting with others in their group/section.
  • Activity level - Each activity that supports groups (such as Forums and Assignments) can also define it's own use of groups.

Examples - What do you want to accomplish?

Create Groups with students working on the same assignment:
Do you want to break students into multiple groups to complete same assignment? (for example both Group 1 & Group 2: write a paper on the same topic)
Do you want students to able to access/view the assignment of the other group(s)?

  • Yes, choose Visible groups.
  • No, choose Separate groups.

If you set the group mode of an assignment to separate groups, Moodle will automatically create an assignment for each group. Each student will see the same link to the assignment. However, a student in a group will only be able to access the assignment in his particular group. (Note: The use of groups assumes the same assignment to each group.)

Create Groups with different assignments:
Do you want to break students into multiple groups to complete different assignments? (for example, Group 1: write annotated bibliography and Group 2: write abstract to the research paper)
Do you want students to able to access (view only) the assignment for the other group’s assignment?

  • Yes, choose Visible groups.
  • No, choose Separate groups.

Then:

  • Create a Grouping for Group 1 only.
  • Create a Grouping for Group 2 only.

Create a discussion forum with one topic:
Do you want to break students into multiple groups to discuss the exact same topic? (for example both Group 1 & Group 2: Discuss net sales)
Do you want students to able to view the posts of the other group?

  • If Yes, choose Visible groups.
  • If No, choose Separate groups.

Create a graded discussion forum with multiple topics:
Do you want to break students into multiple groups to discuss different topics? (for example, Group 1: Pro Automobile Transportation, Group 2: Pro Bicycle Transportation)

To accomplish this goal, first create a single Forum, and then post/create multiple topics within that forum and in the process assign each topic to a particular group. A single forum with multiple topics allows you to have a single item/assignment in the Gradebook. An alternate way in which to have multiple topics is to have multiple forums and assign each forum to a group. The downside of this is that you will have (for example) two forums but since the class participants are divided into two groups, half the class will receive a grade in Forum 1 only and the other half of the class will receive a grade in Forum 2 only. This leaves students with a grade of "0" in one of the course assignments which can be confusing from the student's point of view. For this reason we suggest that if you are grading the Forum, you create a single Forum and then multiple topics inside the forum so you have technically speaking one line item in your Gradebook. Steps:

  1. Follow the steps for creating groups either manually or automatically later in this help article.
  2. In your topic/week area, select Forum from the Add an activity menu.
  3. Create your forum - it may be helpful to refer to our Forums page.
  4. Now, enter into your Forum and in the upper left hand corner you will see a drop down menu that has all your Group names in it.
  5. Click on a Group name in the drop down menu and then in the center of the page, click on Add a new discussion topic.
  6. The discussion topic that you create now will be assigned to the group that you have just selected in the previous screen. Click on Post to forum when you are done.
  7. Now select another group from the dropdown menu and create another discussion topic. Repeat for as many groups as you have.

Steps - Creating Groups at the Activity Level

  1. Login to myPlymouth
  2. Select the myCourses tab and the myCourses window appears.
  3. In the center column, select your class title from the appropriate semester category in the myCourses channel. You will now be looking at your course's home page.
  4. In the Course Administration block in the left sidebar, click on Users and then click on Groups in the submenu.
  5. There are three options for group creation.
    • Create groups manually, assigning by section (Useful for META courses).
    • Auto create groups randomly.
    • Import groups can create your group from a spreadsheet. Please see the Moodle Import Groups page for directions.

Steps - Creating Groups Manually at the Activity Level

  1. Click on the Create group button.
  2. Add a group name (e.g. Group 1, Group A.)
  3. Add a group description and click Save changes.
  4. Repeat this process for as many groups as desired.
  5. To add users to a group, select the group name from the left column and then click on Add/Remove Users underneath the right column.
  6. Select the students to add to the group, Add to move them into the left column.
  7. When you are done selecting student names, click the Back to groups button located below the left column.
  8. Repeat the above steps as necessary to fill the groups you have created with students.

Steps - Auto-creating Groups at the Activity Level

  1. Click the Auto-create groups button.
  2. Specify either a number of groups, or the number of students in a group from the dropdown menu.
  3. When you are done, click Submit.

Steps - Creating A Grouping

  1. Beginning at your course's home page, look in the Course Administration block in the left sidebar, click on Users and then click on Groups in the submenu.
  2. You are now looking at the list of Groups you have already created. If you have not created any Groups, please refer to the previous steps in this article on Creating Groups.
  3. Notice at the top of the window there are some small tabs that say Groups, Groupings and Overview. Click on the Groupings tab.
  4. Click on Create Grouping at the bottom of the window.
  5. Name your Grouping and in the description field put in any content you feel is appropriate.
  6. Click on Save Changes to complete this process.
  7. Now you are looking at a list of the Groupings in your course. To add Groups to the Grouping, look to the far right column of the Grouping name and click on the icon that looks like little people.
  8. Now you are looking at the Add/Remove Groups page. Select what Groups you want to add from the right column and click Add to move them to the left column.
  9. Click on Back to groupings to complete this process.

Steps - Creating Groups at the Course Level

Creating groups in this way makes all activities in your course use groups by default. This feature is most commonly used when there is a META course and each section is added to a separate group so the activities within each section are separated from each other.

  1. Login to myPlymouth
  2. Select the myCourses tab and the myCourses window appears.
  3. In the center column, select your class title from the appropriate semester category in the myCourses channel. You will now be looking at your course's home page.
  4. In the Course Administration block in the left sidebar, click on Edit Settings.
  5. Find the Groups section
  6. In the Group mode dropdown menu, you can choose between no groups, separate, or visible.
    • No groups - there are no sub groups, everyone is part of one big community
    • Separate groups - each group can only see their own group, others are invisible. If you set the group mode of an assignment to separate groups, Moodle will automatically create an assignment for each group. Each student will see the same link to the assignment however, a student in a group will only be able to access the assignment in his particular group.
    • Visible groups - Each group works in their own group, but can also see other groups. The other groups' work is read-only.
  7. The other option you have in this section is Force groups by choosing Yes or No from the drop down menu. Choosing Yes forces the group mode to be applied to every activity in that course, and individual group settings in each activity are ignored.
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