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Brightspace Group Tool

Brightspace Group Tool

Each group in Brightspace at the moment has a maximum capacity of 200 participants and is restricted to 200 groups per category.

The Brightspace Group Tool enables you to divide the entire class into groups or to group only some of the students. You can group students for administrative purposes or to have them work on assignments together. You can group students manually, automatically divide students in groups or let them self-enroll in groups.

Tip: If you want to have self-enrollment groups with different sizes or if you want to have a waitlist, you can use the Group Self Enrollment Tool.

Creating groups

  1. Go to Course Admin and click on Groups, or simply click on Collaboration and select Groups in the navigation bar.
  2. Create a New Category, give it a Name and fill in a Description.
    Be aware of the fact that after publishing the groups, the description is no longer visible for students.
  3. Choose the Enrollment type. The following options are available: groups with manual enrollment and groups with self enrollment.
    Note: the Restrict Enrollments To option allows instructors and course managers to restrict Group enrollment by groups. This option is used when creating subgroups. Please scroll down for more information in how to do this.
  1. Optionally define Advanced Properties.
    These differ per enrollment type. You can find more information in the accordions about Groups with manual enrollment and Groups with self enrollment below.
  2. Complete the fields provided and give the Group a name (prefix), for example ‘Workshop’.
    Brightspace will then create groups called ‘Workshop 1’, ‘Workshop 2’, and ‘Workshop 3’. You can change these names to be something more specific, for example, ‘Monday Workshop’, or ‘Solar Energy Workshop’.
  3. Decide if you want to make Lockers, Discussion areas and Assignment submission folders available.
    This will depend on the purpose of the groups.
  4. Click Save.

Enrollment types

The Enrollment Type dropdown menu lists the existing types of group membership. The first three listed options are the ones where you as the instructor or teaching assistant manually assign students into the groups. (see screenshot below)

When choosing for ‘Groups #’ or ‘# of Groups’ the system will automatically and randomly enroll students in a group.

Reminder: Once the groups are published, the descriptions will no longer visible to students.

The Enrollment Type dropdown menu lists the existing types of group membership. The last three listed options are the ones where students can choose to enroll themselves in a group. (see screenshot below)

  • If you select any of these options, students also have the ability to un-enroll from the group and re-enroll themselves in another. There is a start date and cut-off date and time by which they need to do so, you can set an expiry date until when students can choose to self-enroll.

  • When you create a group with self-enrollment, you can set the start date and a deadline for students to decide which group they want to be in within the Advanced Properties. You can let the system enroll the remaining students once the deadline has been reached.

  • The capacity of self-enrollment groups can be changed after they are created, and prior to the group sign-up expiry date. Decreasing a group size to an amount smaller than has already signed up for a group will not re-allocate users to other groups.

Enrol students

Once the groups are created you can modify their Names and add a Description to each. Next, you can Enroll students in the Group as per described below. If you wish to switch a student from one group to another, you can easily do this by following the instructions described in step 4.

  1. Go to Course Admin and click on Groups, or simply click on Collaboration and select Groups in the navigation bar.
  2. Click the Group name to find the options View Enrollment and Enroll Users 
  3. Click on the Enroll Users button.
    Here you will find the option to Filter the list of students according to those who are currently enrolled or not enrolled in a group. You can also come back to this field later to change the group members.
  4. In Groups, click the dropdown menu of the group category and select Enroll users. This will open a new page with all group Enrollments where you can easily change students from one group to another.
    Note: If you create large groups, the list of group members can be very long and may not show the entire class on one page. Simply click to go to the next page, for example, 2/3, 3/3 etc.

How to create subgroups

It is possible to create one or more subgroups within a specific group. Imagining an instructor needs to create 5 subgroups, with max. capacity of 2 students, within the Workshop Group 1.

  • Start by creating a new group category as described above.
  • Give it a title,  for instance ”Workshop Group 1 Subgroups”.
  • After defining the type of group, number of students and capacity, as described above, it is important to restrict enrollment to the members of Workshop Group 1. This way, only the students that are enrolled in Workshop Group 1 will be able to find and enroll in the groups belonging to ”Workshop Group 1 Subgroups”.

You will notice that it will possible to apply only one enrollment restriction and that once the group is selected, it will add the title of the selected group automatically to the Group Prefix field.

  • Save and close when you are done with creating your group.
Subgroups appear in the group list (both for students and instructors) not directly under the groups they relate too, but as a separate group, as any other group. Therefore it is important to give it a title that clearly shows the relation between main groups and subgroups.

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