The Groups tool enables you to split up the students who participate in your course into smaller groups. For example, you can do this because you want the students to work on an assignment or for administrative reasons. You can choose to divide everybody into groups or just a specific amount of students.
You can manage your groups with the Manage Groups tool.
Creating groups in Brightspace
Follow the following steps to create groups in Brightspace:
- Go to Course Tools > Groups in the navbar of your course. This will open the Manage Groups page.
- Click on New Category.
- Type in the category name (for example Study Group).
- Add a category description if needed.
- Determine how the groups will be created with the help of the dropdown menu below Enrollment Type. You can choose to allocate students to groups yourself, allocate them automatically or give them the option to choose their own group (Self Enrollment). You can subsequently determine the total amount of groups (# of Groups) and/or the total amount of students per group (Groups of #). You can find descriptions of the seven possible group structures below. Depending on your preferences, you can now indicate the amount of groups and/or the total amount of students per group.
You are able to add new groups to a group category, but you are not able to change the size (maximum number of students in a group) of the groups. Therefore you have to keep in mind how big the groups need to be when creating them. Note that this only concerns the standard group size Brightspace assigns to groups; you are able to add more students manually, even if maximum capacity has been reached.
You can create seven different types of group categories in Brightspace:
# of Groups - no Auto Enrollment: n groups.
This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create. You can fill in this number below Number of Groups. This option allows you to manually allocate students to groups.
Groups of #: groups of a maximum of n students.
This option allows you to indicate the maximum amount of students per group. You can fill in this number below Number of Users. Brightspace will then automatically allocate students to groups.
# of Groups: n groups.
This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create. You can fill in this number below Number of Groups. Brightspace will then automatically allocate students to groups.
Groups of # - Self Enrollment: groups of a maximum of n students.
This option allows you to indicate the maximum amount of students per group. You can fill in this number below Number of Users. Students are subsequently allowed to (un)enroll themselves into the group of their choice.
# of Groups - Self Enrollment: n groups.
This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create. You can fill in this number below Number of Groups. Students are subsequently allowed to (un)enroll themselves into the group of their choice.
# of Groups, Capacity of # - Self Enrollment: n groups of a maximum of n students.
This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create and the maximum amount of students per group. You can fill in the number of groups below Number of Groups and the total amount of students per group below Number of Users. Students are subsequently allowed to (un)enroll themselves into the group of their choice.
Single user, member-specific groups: personal group per student.
This option creates a single group per student. You can use this option if you want to work with blogs/journals. Students can subsequently write a blog in a personal and private discussion topic.
Options 2 and 3 allow you to change the following, using Advanced Properties:
- Auto-Enroll New Users: Brightspace automatically enrolls all students that are participating in your course after the groups have been created. (Students will always be allocated to the group with the fewest amount of participants; this option will make sure that there are no groups without any participants.)
- Randomise users in Groups: students are randomly allocated to a group. If this option is not selected, students are allocated to groups in alphabetical order.
Options 4, 5, and 6 allow you to change the following using Advanced Properties:
- Set a start date (Start Date) and/or end date (Expiry Date) for the self-enrollment period which means that students are not able to join and/or leave groups after said date. Fill in a date or select Now to start or stop self-enrollment immediately.
- Allocate unenrolled users who did not enroll themselves in any group. This will happen automatically after the enrollment deadline has passed and will allocate students to a random group (group capacity might be ignored).
The example above uses the fifth enrollment option: four groups that allow students to manually enroll themselves (# of Groups - Self Enrollment, Number of Groups: 4). This option enables you to add an enrollment deadline and to make sure students are automatically enrolled after the deadline has passed (options can be found below Advanced Properties).
- Optional: Fill in a Group Prefix (e.g. Werkc-). All group names will start with the prefix and are follewd by a number (Werkc-1, Werkc-2, Werkc-3 en Werkc-4).
Optional: Set the start and end date and time for Self Enrollment.
- Check the box Allocate unenrolled users after Self Enrollment Expiry Date in case you want students to be automatically enrolled after the deadline has passed
- You can check one or more of the boxes below Additional Options to add the following:
- Click on Save. If you have chosen one of the additional options, you will now go to the tool that enables you to create said options. You will now return to the Manage Groups page.
Restrict Enrollments To
In addition, you can choose from which groups or sections you want to restrict enrollments from when you are creating new groups, you can do this via Restrict Enrollments To. This means that students can only be enrolled for a group if they are enrolled within the selected group or section.
Note, this can only be done if the course has sections or if you have already created groups. If the course does dot have sections or if you create a group for the first time, Restrict Enrollments To will not be an option in the settings.
Manage your groups via Manage Groups
In Manage Groups, you can:
- View your group categories and groups.
- Create new categories.
- Edit categories and groups.
- Check which students are enrolled in what group.
- Delete categories and groups.
- Send an email to all the students in a specific group.
- Click on the arrow below View Categories to go to a specific category and see the groups it contains.
- The number behind the name of the category (Werkgroepen serie 1 (6)) indicates the amount of groups that are currently in said category. The arrow behind the name of the category allows you to:
- Edit the category (Edit Category). You can use this function to add a discussion topic or locker when you have already created the category and did not add them initially.
- Add a group (Add Group).
- Add students to groups (Enroll Users). This option will open a screen that enables you to enroll the students from the classlist in the groups in this specific category.
- If you want to create another Group Category (for instance for a lecture or practical session), you can click on New Category and repeat the steps that are explained above.
- Click on the number in the Members column to see which students are enrolled in a group.
- If you want to delete a group or send every member of a group an e-mail, you simply check the box for a specific group and select either Delete or Email. Note that when you send an email, all the recipients’ email addresses will be in the BCC field to ensure the privacy of the students.
- You can change and/or add a description of a group by clicking on the name of said group.