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Groups and group assignments in Canvas

In Canvas it is possible to create groups for collaboration for group assignments, co-writing pages and more. It is also possible to allow the students themselves to choose groups and create student groups.

Groups provide space for group work

If students are expected to work on projects or assignments in groups during the course, we at Team E-learning recommend the function Groups in Canvas, which you will find under the tab "People" in the course menu. You as a teacher can create groups for your students for group work, or let the students create their own groups if you have activated that setting under Course settings .

Each group gets its own group page that functions as an independent classroom in Canvas where the students in the group can create their own pages, share files and have discussions that only the students in the group and the teacher have access to. Groups can also be linked to group assignments that accept the submission from one person in the group as the submission of the whole group, that is group assignments receive submissions from groups, not the individuals in the groups.

Teacher-created groups are sorted into "group sets" so that you as a teacher can easily handle them.The students can be in several group sets at the same time, but they can only be in one group per group set.

Note: The "People" tab must be visible to students in order for them to use groups.

Video tutorial on the function Groups

Canvas has a video that goes through how groups are created, edited and used. Timestamps for the information are below the video, and there is a text version of the video (Google docs) .

Timestamps for the information in the video

  • 00.05 - What Groups can be used for
  • 00.20 - Create a group set
  • 01.35 - Group set options menu (three dots)
  • 01.50 - Add a group to a group set
  • 02.10 - Manage options for individual groups within a group set
  • 02.30 - Assign unassigned students to a group
  • 03.10 - Move students to different groups
  • 03.25 - Assign a student leader
  • 03.50 - Group assignments and discussions

Group only registered students

It is important to hold off on grouping the students until all students are registered in the course. You know that all students are registered when all of them are marked with “Student” in the participant list. If you start grouping the student before that, when they only have the role of “Admitted not registered student”, there is a risk that the students will disappear from the group once they are registered.

Group assignments facilitate group work

To make it easier to administer group work in Canvas, it can be advantageous to divide students into Groups in Canvas so that students can submit their assignments as a group instead of with individual assignments.

Note: The option "Group assignment" is not available for submissions of the type "External tools".

Create a group assignment from a regular assignment

A group assignment is created in the same way as a regular assignment, where you in the assignment options under the heading "Group assignment" check the box for "This is a group assignment".

When you create a group assignment, you have the opportunity to choose whether you want to assess the students individually or as a group, but regardless of chosen option it is then enough for one of the students from the group to submit the work. The difference between assessing students as a group and individually is that if you assess them as a group, everyone gets the same grade, but if you assess them individually, you can give different group members different grades on the same assignment.

You also need to choose which group set you want to use for your group assignment. We recommend that you create the group sets in advance to reduce the risk of errors, but you can also create a new set of groups here by selecting "New group set".

Assign group assignment

The default setting in Canvas is to assign the group assignment to all students in the course room at the same time, but you can also assign the group assignment to just one group or give different groups different availability periods and submission dates just like a regular assignment.

Note: You can only assign the group assignment to the groups in the group set you selected when you checked the box for it being a group assignment.

Read more about Availability period and due date .

Assessing group assignments

After the students have submitted their submissions, you can assess them in SpeedGrader. If you have chosen individual assessment, the submissions will be shown and assessed per student, otherwise they will be shown and assessed per group.

If you assess per group, you will only be able to give the same grade to all students in that group, and only write comments to the whole group. When you publish the grade, all students in the group, even though only one submitted the assignment, will see your comments, annotations and the grade.

For individual assessment, you can give different grades to students in the same group, and you can choose to send comments only to the student or to the entire group. When you publish the grade, all students in the group see the joint comments, annotations and their own grade.

Note: Annotations are always shown to everyone in the group, even in individual assessment.

Read more about SpeedGrader in Canvas .

Group bookings in the Canvas calendar

During a course, there may be times where you as a teacher want to meet your students or groups of students, for either supervision, presentations or other reasons. With the calendar in Canvas, you can create bookable events where individual students or groups can book.

To create a bookable calendar event for groups:

  1. Go to the calendar and choose the relevant day
  2. Select the "Meeting Groups" tab in the pop-up that appears
  3. Choose your course under "Calendar"
  4. Check the box "Let students register for groups"
  5. Select the group set you want the students to register with
  6. Fill in the remaining relevant information and options.

After creating the calendar event, you can send messages to the groups. You can choose between sending to the students who have booked or those who have not.

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Last changed: Oct 19, 2021