What are Groups?

Students enrolled in a Course can be grouped together for projects, presentations, and other assignments in your course. Once groups are created, the Instructor can choose to have each student submit work individually, or, for example, choose to have only one student submit work for their entire group. In this case, Canvas automatically distributes the grade to each individual within that group, and the first student to submit work sees a warning notice reminding them they are submitting for their entire group. To learn more about Groups, see the Canvas Guide: What are Groups? and Group Creation and Management for Instructors (Video)

Creating Group Sets

From the course menu, select the People tab. You will then create a "Group Set" with a specific name, such as the assignment name. You can also select an existing Group Set if already created. For a detailed tutorial, please see the Canvas Guide How do I add a group set in a course? 

Creating Project Groups within a Group Set

After you create a Group Set, create assignment groups within that set. You can allow students to self-register for a group, you can randomly assign students to a group, or you can assign students to a specific group.

You will typically use the +Group button to create assignment groups within that Group Set. +Group functions as subgroups under each groupset. This allows an instructor to create one group configuration for all group projects (recommended.) Refer to the Canvas guide: How do I manually create groups in a group set? to create groups manually, it shows you how to create a Group Set first (required). 

Assigning Students to Groups

Instructors choose to assign individuals to project or working groups in one of three ways:  

  1. Manually - Once you have created groups, you can drag the students from the student list into the Group you wish to put them in. The following Canvas guide shows you exactly how to drag student names: How do I manually assign students to groups
  2. Automatically - Canvas can automatically sort students into groups during the creation process. Refer to the Canvas Guide How do I automatically create groups in a group set? to create groups automatically. It shows you how to create a Group Set first, (required). 
  3. Student Self-Signup - Students can also sign themselves up and create their own groups. Refer to How do I create self sign-up groups in a group set? to create groups that allow students to self-assign to existing groups.
    1. SLCC Online recommends that instructors post detailed instructions in Canvas for students, including links to Canvas guides, to ensure students can do this successfully. See the Canvas Guide: How do I allow self-sign up for student groups? How do I join a group as a student?
  • Canvas will allow the instructor to create as many different groups as desired and assign each named group to different assignments. (Not recommended due to difficulty in setup.) 
  • Groups and configurations do not transfer from semester-to-semester in Canvas courses and must be remade each semester.
  • When groups are created, Canvas notifications will alert students, as with when assignments are created.

Using Assignments with course groups

When group sets are created, the Instructor can go into each Assignment's settings and make additional choices for how students will submit work. For example, if you wanted to have student groups for a project called, "Group Science Project," you would first create a Group Set titled, "Group Science Project."Refer to How do I assign an assignment to a course group

Note: that to create Assignment groups in your course, you must first create a Group Set. 

Additional Notes Regarding Group Assignments: 

  • Existing assignments are accessed through the Assignments tab. Click the assignment name and then the Edit icon. Remember always to save your changes.
  • Scroll through the settings options and look for the checkbox labeled I will assign grades individually. (Not recommended.) Leave this box unchecked to allow the instructor to grade one submission and have the grade automatically given to all group members.
  • The first student in a group to submit an assignment is alerted that their submission will count for their entire group.
  • If an Instructor chooses to grade individually and check the box, it is necessary to go to each student's Gradebook column/box and enter a score manually.
  • Instructors have the option to return to the Gradebook later to adjust individual grades up or down. 

Related Canvas Guide: How do I edit assignment details