Improve critical thinking, problem solving, adaptability, and communication.

In Blackboard Open LMS you can assign activities to groups of students. You can also create groups of groups called Groupings.

More on groupings on the Moodle website (may be available in English only)

With group activities each group member works in his or her own group. You decide if they can see other groups. You can also decide if some resources and activities are only visible to certain groups.

More on group modes and Restricting group access

Want your students to work on an assignment as a group? Jump to Group assignment.

If you want students to work on a project together, give them an area to work in together. Forums, wikis, and databases are ideal activities for group work. Don't forget to tell your students about the required group work. Let them know about the activities they can use to get them started.


Create groups

Steps in Snap: Admin > Users > Groups

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Admin > Course administration > Users > Groups

How it looks in Snap
How it looks in another theme

You can create your own groups or allow Blackboard Open LMS to create groups for you. From the Groups page select Auto-create groups or Create group.

  • Auto-create groups: If you choose to auto-create groups, Blackboard Open LMS names the groups for you. Enter the number of group members you want in each group in Group/member count and select Submit. Students are randomly assigned to the groups for you.
  • Create group: If you choose to create your own groups, type a name for each group and select Save changes. Optionally, you can add a description of the group and an image to represent the group. Next, you assign students to the groups.

You can also type an Enrollment key. An enrollment key gives access to the course. Only those who know the key can enroll. If you type an Enrollment key in the group page, participants join this group when they use the key to enroll.


Assign members to groups

Steps in Snap: Admin > Users > Groups

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Admin > Course administration > Users > Groups

  1. After you create groups, assign members to them. Select a group and select Add/Remove users.
  2. Select the users you want to put in the group. If your list is long, you can search for a specific user. Enter a name in the Search field. Select the user.

    There is a number in parenthesis by each users name. This tells you how many groups the user is already in. If it is "0", they are not in any groups.

  3. Select Add.
  4. After adding all members, select Back to groups.

For a quick snapshot of what groups students are in, select the Overview tab. Overview shows a list of all groups and group members in one place.

If any students join your course after creating the groups, don't forget to add them to a group. You don't need to do anything if students leave your course. They leave the group when they leave the course.

How do my students know who is in their group?

Students may not know they are in a group if you don't tell them. It is good practice to tell your students the following:

  • The group they are in
  • The group members
  • The activities and resources for their group

In Snap, students can see who is in their group from the Participants page in Course Dashboard.

If you are using another theme, you must add the People block to your course. This makes the Participants page available to your students. To learn more, see Blocks.


Group modes

Before creating group activities it is important to understand group modes. Group modes determine the groups that can view and submit to a particular activity. In most activities group mode does not change how the activity functions. There are some exceptions mentioned in the following list.

  • Separate groups: Each group member can only see and work in their own group. Other groups are invisible.
    • Open forums: Students can only see and reply to their group.
    • Assignments: Students can only see their own submission and group name. If you want students to see submissions by everyone in their group, see Group assignment.
    • Chat: Students can only see and chat with their group.
    • Wiki: Students can only see and work in their group wiki.
  • Visible groups: Each group member works in their own group. They can see other groups but can't work in them.
    • Open forums: Students can see all group forums. They can only reply to their group.
    • Assignments: Students can only see their own submission and group names. If you want students to see submissions by everyone in their group, see Group assignment.
    • Chat: Students can see all group chats. They can only chat with their group.
    • Wiki: Students can see all group wikis. They can only work in their group wiki.
  • No groups: There are no groups.

As a teacher, you see all student work no matter what the group mode setting is.


Create group activities using group mode

Steps in Snap: Create learning activity or resource > Select an activity > Add > Common module settings > Group mode

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Add an activity or resource > Select an activity > Add > Common module settings > Group mode

You must have groups in your course before you can create group activities.

From the activity settings page, select Common module settings. From the Group mode menu select Separate groups or Visible groups.

Can I set group mode for my entire course instead of by activity?

You can set a group mode as the default for your entire course in course settings. Set the group mode and select Yes to force it.

  • Steps in Snap: Admin > Edit settings > Groups
  • Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Admin > Course administration > Edit settings > Groups

Group assignment

Steps in Snap: Create learning activity or resource > Assignment > Add > Group submission settings

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Add an activity or resource > Assignment > Add > Group submission settings

Create group assignments using the assignment Group submission settings.

Set up activities for students to collaborate in when working on their group assignment. For example, Chat and Open forum.

  • Students submit in groups: Select Yes. Students are assigned groups based on the default set of groups or the groups you created. A group submission is shared among group members. All group members see each others changes to the submission.
  • Require group to make submission: If you select Yes, students must be in a group to make a submission.
  • Require all group members submit: This is off by default. When off the group assignment is complete as soon as any one member of the group selects Submit. Select Yes to make all group members select Submit before the assignment is complete.

Once a submission has been made on an assignment, the Group submission settings cannot be changed.

Want to know more about creating assignments? Jump to assignments.


Restrict access by groups

Steps in Snap: Create learning activity or resource > Select an activity > Add > Restrict access > Add restriction > Group

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Add an activity or resource > Select an activity > Add > Restrict access > Add restriction > Group

You can hide or show activities and resources to certain groups in your course.

  1. From the resource or activity settings, select Restrict access and Add restriction.
  2. Select Group.
  3. Decide how a student matches the group you choose.
    • Must: Only members of the selected group can see the activity or resource in the course.
    • Must not: Members of the selected group can't see the activity or resource in the course.
  4. From the Group menu select a group.

You can add more than one group as a restriction.