Your institution controls which tools are available in the Original Course View. Assignments are always available to instructors in the Ultra Course View.

Before assigning group work

You don't want students to see group activities as busy work. If group work doesn't enhance your learning objectives and provide value, consider alternative teaching techniques. Only use group work for projects an individual student can't do as well alone and finish in the intended amount of time.

Research shows that students work harder when others rely on them. To encourage this interdependence, create group assignments that require the students to divide the work to meet the goal, question and challenge each other's ideas, and share feedback and encouragement.

Before incorporating group work into your course, consider these questions:

  • Will the group work further my course objectives?
  • What introductory material or group resource information can I provide to help students succeed?
  • How will the groups be formed?
  • Will students be involved in planning the groups?
  • How will I assess students' learning and maintain individual accountability? Will I require a group deliverable?
  • How will I handle concerns and problems?

Source: 1"44 Benefits of Collaborative Learning." gdrc.org n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2014.

Create group assignments

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about creating group assignments.

To be sure students do collaborate and interact, you can use the groups tool and group assignments to foster an interactive online environment.

More on creating groups

You can create a group assignment and release it to one or more groups within your course. Each group submits one collaborative assignment and all members receive the same grade. You can create a single assignment and assign it to all groups, or create several unique assignments and assign them to individual groups. Only you and the members of a group have access to the assignment.

Before you begin

  • A course group must exist before you create group assignments for it.
  • Students who are enrolled in more than one group that receives the same assignment will be able to submit more than one attempt for this assignment. You may need to provide these students with an overall grade for the assignment.
  • Students who aren't enrolled at the time that a group assignment has been submitted don't have access to that submission. These students only see that the submission occurred.
  • Students who you remove from a group can't see the group assignments. They can access their submissions from My Grades.
  • If you edit the assignment between creation and the due date, the entire group may lose any work already in progress.
  • If you delete a group from the assignment after students have started an attempt but before submission, they'll lose access to the assignment and lose their work.

You create a group assignment in the same way you create an assignment for students to complete individually. When you create a group assignment, a gradebook item is created automatically. You can create group assignments in content areas, learning modules, lesson plans, and folders. The group assignment appears in the course area where you create it and on the group homepage.

On the Create Assignment page, expand the Submission Details section to deliver an assignment to groups.

  1. Select Group Submission.
  2. In the Items to Select box, select the group or groups to receive this assignment. Select the right-pointing arrow to move the selection into the Selected Items box. To select multiple groups at once on a Windows computer, press and hold the Shift key and select each group. To select groups out of sequence, press the Ctrl key and select each group. For Macs, press the Command key instead of the Ctrl key. Use the Select All function if you want to include all groups.
  3. Select the number of attempts. You can allow more than one attempt on a group assignment.

ULTRA: Watch a video about group assignments

The following unnarrated video provides a visual representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.


Video: Group Assignments shows how you can deliver assignments to groups of students.


ULTRA: About group assignments

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about group assignments.

Collaborative learning offers many benefits over traditional instruction. Studies show that when students work as a team, they develop positive attitudes, solve problems more effectively, and experience a greater sense of accomplishment.

You create a group assignment nearly the same way you create assignments for students to complete individually. Gradebook items are created automatically.

If students with accommodations are in a group, all students in that group inherit the accommodation for that item. For example, you create a group assignment and one group member has a due date accommodation. That group's work isn't marked late if they submit after the due date.

More on accommodations

For a specific group assignment or group test, you can give an individual group an exception for extended access only. Multiple attempts aren't allowed for group assessments at this time.

More on group exceptions

Students can hold virtual meetings with their group members if Collaborate Ultra is available in your course and you enable conversations for the assignment.

More on using Collaborate Ultra in your course


ULTRA: Create a group assignment

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about creating group assignments.

On the New Assignment page, select the Settings icon to open the Assignment Settings panel. Provide a due date and select the settings you want to apply to the group assignment:

  • You can allow class conversations for a group assignment. Students can choose between a conversation with the class as a whole or among only their group members.
  • You can also choose to collect submissions offline that don't require groups to upload submissions. You can add instructions, files, a rubric, and goals so the groups can prepare for the offline work. You can also enable conversations for offline work, but you can't add questions or grade anonymously.
  • At this time, you can't create a group assignment with multiple attempts, a time limit, or hidden names.

Select Assign to groups.

On the Assign Groups page, a partial list of your students appears in the Unassigned Students section. Select Show All to view the entire list. You can create multiple groups to deliver the assignment to. You can also select the plus below the student list to create a custom group and add students.

Students who aren't assigned to a group won't have access to the group assignment because it won't appear on their Course Content pages.

You can divide your students among groups manually or choose how to form groups automatically:

  • Randomly Assign
  • Custom
  • Reuse working groups

Randomly Assign

Students are randomly assigned to the number of groups you choose.

  1. In the Group Students menu, select Randomly Assign.
  2. In the Number of Groups menu, select how many groups to create. Students are equally assigned to the number of groups you choose. To remove all students from the current group set, select Unassign All at the top of the page. The setting changes to Custom if you move students to different groups after they're grouped and before you save.
  3. Edit each group name if you want to change the default naming.

Select the plus sign wherever you want to create a group in addition to the groups the system created.

Custom groups

You can create as many groups as you want, with any number of students in each group. You can also create new groups or remove groups based on how many you want for this assignment.

  1. In the Group Students menu, select Custom.
  2. Select each student's name to select them at the same time. The selected students' names are highlighted with a purple border. Select a student's name again to remove the selection.
  3. After you select the students, access the menu next to one of their names and select Create a new group.
  4. Edit the group name if you want to change the default naming.
  5. Select the plus sign wherever you want to add another group.

You can also move multiple students to a group listed in the menu.

Reuse working groups

Want to reuse groups from a previous assessment? Choose the assessment name to apply those groupings to the new assignment.

  1. In the Group Students menu, select a title from the Reuse working group section.
  2. The same students are added to your new assignment. You can move students between groups as you need. Changes won't affect the original working group you copied.
  3. Edit the individual group names as needed.

At this time, course groups you've created won't appear as working groups to choose from.


ULTRA: Manage individual groups

After you create a group assignment, you can add or delete individual groups and manage student membership. You can also edit group names and send messages to your groups to kick off collaboration!

You can't add to or change membership in groups that have submitted work.

Add and delete groups

Select the plus sign wherever you want to add a group.

If you no longer need a group, access the group's menu and select Delete group. The students in that group are unassigned automatically and appear at the top of the page. You can manually assign these students to new groups. Or, you can randomly assign all students—not only the students you unassigned—to the number of groups you choose.

Manage student membership

If groups haven't submitted work, you can move students between groups and add new students added to your course. New members can access the work the group has saved up to that point. New group members can also submit work on behalf of the group.

Access the menu next to a student's name to access these options:

  • Start a new group with the student as a member.
  • Select Unassign to remove the student from the group. Unassigned students appear at the top of the page. Reminder: Students who aren't assigned to a group won't have access to the group assignment because it won't appear on their Course Content pages.
  • Assign the student to a different group that already exists. Select the group's name in the menu.

You can also move multiple students to a different group in one action, create a new group for them, or unassign them all from the group.

To remove all students from all groups, select Unassign All at the top of the page. Unassign All disappears after groups submit attempts.


ULTRA: Group assignment appears on the Course Content page

You can view how many groups you assigned and open the link to view the members. After students start the assignment, you can't change the groups. If you've enabled group discussions, an activity icon appears for new discussion activity.


ULTRA: Ready to grade?

You can assign one grade for each group or grade students on their individual contributions.

More on grading a group assignment


ULTRA: Student workflow

On the Course Content page, students can see the group name listed with the group assignment. When they access the group assignment, they can see the group members. Each group member can edit and update the draft saved in the group assignment.

Students who aren't assigned to a group won't have access to the group assignment because it won't appear on their Course Content pages.

Some students may have anxiety about opening a group assignment. They may think that they have to submit the group assignment if they open it. You might tell students that when they select View assessment, they can just view the assignment or add some work.

Group members can add work, save a draft, and let other members work on the assignment also. After a group member views the assignment or adds some work, the member selects Save and Close in the panel. Their work on behalf of the group is saved and not submitted. Another group member can resume working on the assignment later. Everyone in the group can keep track of the latest version of the work.

When the work is finished, only one student in the group needs to submit for the group.

More on the student workflow