click to enlargeGroup work is a standard classroom practice and the CLE allows you to extend this practice to your online courses with Groups and Groupings features. You can set up Groups to facilitate student collaboration or as a grading administrative tool.

It’s important to understand the difference between Groups and Groupings and how they can be used in the CLE. The following tabs will give you more details about how Groups work, examples of how to use them, and instructions for applying them to your courses.

Resources: Click the appropriate tab above or use the buttons below to learn more about Groups and Groupings.

Moodle Docs What is a Grouping?

groups-and-groupings-2The graphic on the right illustrates few different ways to use Groups and Groupings.

What is a Group?

A Group is a collection of one or more individual users. Users are usually students, but you can also assign instructors or assistants to be part of a Group. Groups enable instructors to split the students into sub-sets to view resources or work on an activity together.

Types of Groups

There are three different Group modes you can apply to resources and activities:

  • No Groups – There are no sub groups, all participants are part of one big community.
  • Separate Groups – Each participant can only see their own Group, others are invisible.
  • Visible Groups – Each participant works in their own Group, but can also see other Groups. (The other Groups’ work is read-only.)

Use cases for Groups:

  • Create an assignment and apply separate Groups. This will allow students to access the activity and only see their own Group’s work and will allow them to submit the assignment as a Group.
  • Within collaborative activities such as Forums or Wikis, the Group mode can be used to engage students in Group work (i.e. each Group has their own collaborative work space).
  • Use Groups to as a way to filter the gradebook and view assignment submissions, or other activities for only a particular section of students.

Example for using a Group

You don’t need to create separate activities for different Groups of students; you can create a single activity and configure it be Group-based. For example, if you want to split students into groups to participate in a discussion activity, create a standard forum and configure it for separate groups. This will give you the option of adding a new discussion topic for all participants or for a selected Group. Students will only be able to start discussions for their own Group and will only be allowed to reply to discussions started by other Group members or their own instructor.

Creating Groups

There are three different ways to create Groups:

  • Create Groups and add students manually.
  • Automatically create Groups and add students randomly.
  • Create Groups and allow students to self-enroll into them with an enrollment key.

Create a Group

  1. Go to the Administration block >Course Administration>Users>Groups.
  2. Click the Create Group button.
  3. Add a Group name. The description (displayed above the list of Group members on the participants page), enrollment key, and picture (displayed on the participants page and next to forum posts) are all optional.
  4. Click the Save changes button.
  5. Select the Group to which you want to add participants and click add/remove users.add-remove-users1
  6. Then, in the Potential Members list, select the users you want to add to the group. Multiple users may be selected using the crtl key.
  7. Click the Add button to add the users to the group. Click Back to groups.


Assign an Activity to a Group

Restrict access can be used in a variety of ways in the CLE to limit the access to your activities:

  • Restrict access can be used to assign an activity to a particular group without having to use a grouping. For example, you can create an activity for only one section of a multiple-section course, such as an honors or graduate section.
  • You can also use Restrict access to assign an activity to course members who are not in a particular group or grouping, or, by adding multiple restrictions, a mix of Groups or Groupings.
  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on
  2. Add the activity you will assign to groups, or if the activity has already been added to the course, click Edit (at right of activity), then Edit settings. The activity’s Settings page will open.
  3. Configure the settings for the activity but do not set Common module settings as you normally would when assigning an activity to a grouping.
  4. Under Restrict access, click Add restriction…. The Add restriction window opens.
  5. In the Add restriction… window, click Group or Grouping. A new restriction will appear on the Settings page and the pop-up will close.
  6. For Access restrictions, from the Student drop-down menu, select whether the student must or must not match the group.
  7. From the Group (or Grouping) drop-down menu, select the name of a group (or grouping).
  8. (Optional) To add an additional restriction, click Add restriction.
  9. Click Save and display to save and open the assignment or click Save and return to course to return to your course pageNote: When using Restrict access, be careful to check Common module settings for conflicts. For example, if you select a grouping in the Common module settings, and also use Restrict access to restrict the activity to a group that doesn’t belong to that grouping, no one will be able to access the activity.

A Group can be used on two levels:

  • Course level – The Group mode defined at the course level is the default mode for all activities defined within that course. To use Groups you need first to set a Group mode in the Administration block > Course administration > Edit settings.
  • Activity level – Each activity that supports Groups can also have its own Group mode defined. If the course setting Force Group mode is set to Yes then the option to define the Group mode for individual activities is not available. If it is set to No, then the teacher may change the Group mode.


Resources: Click the appropriate tab above or use the buttons below to learn more about Groups and Groupings.

Moodle Docs What is a Grouping?

Watch the video below to learn how to use and apply groups in your course: