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Why groups are useful

Groups are a great way to help instructors manage larger classes inside a single Moodle course. Groups can especially be helpful in courses where multiple sections of students are linked together. Using groups allows teachers to filter activities and the gradebook one section (group) at a time; and/or restrict access based on group membership to a particular activity, resource, or topic section so that only the students with given group membership can see it. Groups can be used at both the course level and activity level. One important detail to remember is that using a Group Mode allows the exact same activity or resource to be presented to groups in a course for smaller working groups. For example, you can have different due dates for each group in the same assignment; or make the same quiz available at different times for each group. This helps keep your gradebook clean and organized and also avoids the need to duplicate large activities in a single course.

Additional information and documentation is available from Moodle directly.

Creating groups

To view/edit/create groups, go to your Course Site course from from the Administration block go to Course administration > Users > Groups.

Click the Create group button.

Provide group information. Group name is required but the remaining fields are optional. You might want to make note of the Group messaging option which, when enabled, allows members of the group to send messages to other members of the group via their Moodle messaging feature.

To edit group settings in the future, simply return to the same groups page in your Moodle course and select the group you wish to edit from the list of available groups, and click Edit group settings.


Add/Remove group members

From the main groups page, select the group you wish to add/remove users to/from, then click the Add/remove users button.

Adding members to a group

The left Group members panel lists current members of the group while the right Potential members panel shows individuals enrolled in the course that are not currently members of the group. When you select a potential member to add, any existing group memberships for that person will be displayed to the right under Selected user's membership so you can verify before actually adding them to the current group. To add the individual, click < Add and the selected individuals will be moved over immediately.

Removing members from a group

To remove a member from the group, simply select the group member you wish to remove from the left Group members panel, then click Remove > and the selected members will be moved over immediately.

For larger sets of group members or potential members, you can use the search filter at the bottom of each respective panel.

Once you are finished editing the group membership, click Back to groups or simply navigate away to another page.

Back on the groups page, when you select your group, you will see its members listed in the right panel, reflecting any changes you have just made.


Activating groups

Group modes can be set at two levels:

  • Course level - setting a group mode at the course level sets the selected group mode as the default mode for all activities within your course. This is useful if you are sure that you want to use groups for most or all of your course activities.
  • Activity level - each activity that supports groups can also be set to a desired group mode. Please note, if you set "Force group mode" (found in Administration > Course administration > Edit settings) to Yes (default in all courses is No), then you will not be able to edit the group mode at the activity level. It is also important to note that some activities handle groups a little differently, so be sure to read the tooltips (identified by the blue question marks) in the different activities to make sure it is the behavior you expect.

There are three group modes:

  • 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. (Most typically used)
  • Visible groups - Each group works in their own group, but can also see other groups. (The other groups' work is read-only)

To set a group mode:

Course level setting

Go to Administration > Course administration > Edit settings. Under the Groups section, select an option from the Group mode drop-down menu (see above for option explanations).

Activity level setting

Turn editing on in your course, then locate the activity you wish to activate groups for, then click Edit > Edit settings. Then under Common module settings select an option from the Group mode drop-down menu (see above for option explanations). Also, be sure to check for additional group settings for the specific activity. For example, in the assignment activity, there are Group submission settings that can additionally be set that allow a group to submit one submission or require all members of a group to submit, etc.


Using groups filter

Once you have groups turned on for an activity and/or gradebook, you can now filter submisstions/students/grades by group using the groups filter that appears. Simply select the group you wish to view from the drop-down menu.


Using Groups to Restrict Access to Content

Please see Advanced: Adding Access Restrictions to Moodle Assignments for details about using groups to restrict access to Assignments. For other activities, resources, and topics areas, use the Restrict Access section to add restrictions based on group membership, among other criteria.


You will be able to filter your gradebook to show only a certain group.

Send email via Quickmail to specified groups


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