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Course Connect - For Faculty & Staff: Groups


What are Groups in Course Connect?

You can have several classes/groups working in a single course with different (or the same) teacher. Group Mode is a way of filtering the students so that work and grades can be accessed separately, both by the teacher(s) and students. You can choose between three group types in Course Connect: No Groups, Separate Groups, and Visible Groups. The group mode you choose will determine how students interact with other groups as well as what students can see and access in the course. Group Mode can be applied for an entire course or for individual activities.

Click here for Group Mode FAQ.


Topics on this Page: 

Separate Groups & Visible GroupsCreating Groups; Group Mode - Activity LevelAdding & Removing Users; Group Mode - Course Level; Auto-create Groups; About GroupingsCreating Groupings

Separate Groups & Visible Groups

Separate Groups

Each group can only see their own group, others are invisible.


Visible Groups

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

With visible groups, students can see which other groups are doing the same activities as they are; with separate groups, they do not know which other groups are doing the same activities. Additionally, enabling either separate or visible groups on an activity enables the teacher to filter the student submissions to see only those from a particular group. The gradebook can be similarly sorted by group. 

Example: Using groups with discussion forums allow teachers to restrict interaction between students. Separate groups mean only students in the same group can see and participate in discussions within a particular forum. Visible groups allow students to see other group's discussions, but only participate in their own group's discussions.

Group Mode – Activity Level

Group Mode at the Activity Level

If you want to set individual activities to Group Mode, you can do so within the activity's settings page. Group mode is compatible with all Moodle activities except for Glossary. There are two headings that you will want to make adjustments to within your activity: Common Module Settings and Restrict Access

To access your activity settings, turn on Edit Mode and then select the three vertical dots to the right of the activity. Select Edit Settings from the menu. 

Common Module Settings

To turn on Group Mode at the activity level, scroll to the heading Common Module Settings. Use the Group Mode drop-down menu to select your preferred group type (see red box below). 



Restrict Access

If you would like to hide or reveal an activity for a specific group, you should add a restriction under the heading Restrict Access (see blue box above). To do so, select the Add Restriction... button and you will see the following pop-up:



Select Group from the menu; the image below shows the options you have for restricting access by group:



  • In the red box you can choose if the group must or must not match the conditions you apply. 
  • In the green box you will choose the group you would like to apply your restriction to. 
  • In  the blue box you will see the eye icon;
    • If the eye does not have a line through it, the activity will be displayed for all students but only the group you have chosen will be able to interact with and complete the activity. 
    • If the eye does have a line through it, the activity will be hidden entirely if the student is not in the group defined in this restriction.

 After choosing your group mode and setting your restrictions, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the settings page and select Save and Return to Course, or Save and Display

Auto-create Groups

Auto-Creating Groups

It is possible to have Course Connect automatically create your groups for you.

  • From your course page, navigate to the Participants tab.
  • On the following page, use the Enrolled Users menu to select Groups.
  • On the Groups screen, select the Auto-Create Groups button under the box on the left. 



  • You will be brought to the settings page where you can choose parameters for your automatically created groups. 


Settings, General

  • naming scheme can be created automatically. # is replaced by sequential numbers, and @ by letters. For example:
    • Group @ (the default) will create groups with a naming scheme Group A, Group B, Group C . . .
    • Group # will create groups with a naming scheme Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 . . .
  • In the field Auto Create Based On you can choose to create either a specific number of groups (the default), or you can choose to create groups with a certain number of students ('Members per Group').
  • In Group/member Count, enter the number of groups you want to create or the number of students who should be in each group, depending on your settings for the Auto Create Based On section. 
  • You can enable group messaging by setting the Group Messaging menu to Yes


Settings, Group Members

  • Leave the default setting for Select Members with Role set to Student
  • Leave the setting Select Members from Group set to None
  • In the Allocate Members section, you can choose to divide your students into groups based on one of the following criteria:
    • Randomly
    • Alphabetically by first name, last name
    • Alphabetically by last name, first name
    • Alphabetically by ID number
  • If you have selected Members per Group as your preferred method of auto-creating groups, depending on the number of users in the course the last group can end up with significantly fewer members than expected. You can select Prevent last small group* to avoid the situation. If the last group would be smaller than 70% of the expected size, it will not be created. Instead, Moodle will allocate additional members to existing groups rather than create a new group with few members.
  • The Ignore Users in Groups checkbox should be ticked if you only want to select group members from users that are NOT already in a group in the course. 
  • Leave the box labeled Include Only Active Enrollments ticked (the default). 

*Prevent Last Small Group Examples

Example 1:

You have a course with 80 students and you let auto-create groups with 30 members per group. There would be just 20 students in the third group which is 66% out of expected 30. Moodle will auto-create only two groups with 40 students in each.

Example 2:
You have a course with 81 students and you let auto-create groups with 30 members per group. Moodle will create three groups with 30, 30 and 21 members respectively because 21 is 70% out of expected 30.

Creating Groups

Creating Groups

Follow the steps below to create groups in your course:

  • From your course page, navigate to the Participants tab
  •  On the following page, use the Enrolled Users menu to select Groups


  • You will see the screen below; select the Create Group option. 



  • Next, you will see the page below; give your group a name. You may adjust any other settings you feel are relevant, but only a name is required. 



  • After you have selected Save Changes, you will be brought back to the Groups page.


Repeat the steps above until you have added all of your groups. See Adding & Removing Users for more information on assigning students to specific groups. 

Adding & Removing Users

Adding & Removing Users

Access the Groups page by navigating from your course page to the Participants list, and then use the Enrolled Users menu to select Groups. On the Groups screen, you will see the groups you have created (see: Creating Groups). 


  • In the box on the left, click on the name of the group that you want to modify and then select the Add/Remove Users button under the box on the right (see image below). 


  • On the following screen, you will see two boxes. The box on the left contains the current group members, and the box on the right shows potential members.
    • To add a member to your selected group, click on the user's name in the Potential Users box and then select Add; you will now see the user listed in the Group Members box.
    • To remove a user, click their name in the Group Members box and select the Remove option. 

Note: To add or remove multiple users at one time, press the Ctrl key on your keyboard as you click each name. 



When you have added all users, select Back to Groups at the bottom of the screen to return to the Groups page. Repeat the above steps for each group. 

Group Mode – Course Level

Group Mode at the Course Level

The group mode defined at the course level is the default mode for all activities defined within that course. 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 for activities. 

To set your entire course and all activities to Group Mode, navigate to your course and then to the Settings tab located beneath the title of your course. On the following page, scroll to the Groups heading and use the Group Mode drop-down menu to select your preferred group type for the course (see: Separate Groups & Visible Groups). When you are done, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page and select Save and Display


About Groupings

About Groupings

A grouping is a collection of groups within a course. Using groupings allows you to direct tasks at one or more groups in your course, so that they can work together on the tasks.


You teach students in a course called 'The Art of Language'. Your students are divided into four groups, Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing, and for much of the course they work in these groups.

You wish the students to work on a project, exploring passive and active language. You create a grouping called Passive Language and assign the Listening and Reading groups to this grouping. You create a grouping Active Language and assign the Speaking and Writing groups to this grouping.

Using the Restrict access feature you set certain tasks only for the Passive Language grouping and other tasks only for the Active Language grouping. Now the groups can work together, within their grouping, on their respective focus areas. At the end of the project you can bring the groups together in an activity for all participants to share their learning.

Creating Groupings

To create a grouping, navigate to the Participants tab and on the following page use the Enrolled Users menu to select Groupings. On the net page, select Create Grouping. Give your grouping a name and optional description and ID number, then select Save Changes. Repeat until all groupings have been created. 

To assign groups to your grouping, return to the Groupings page and select the people icon ('Show Groups in Grouping').


On the next page you will see a screen similar to the page pictured in Adding & Removing Users. Click on the groups you would like to add to the grouping in the Potential Members box on the right and select the Add button to move the group into the Existing Members box on the left. To remove a group, click on the group name in the box on the left and select Remove

When you are done, select Back to Groupings at the bottom of the screen. Repeat until all groups have been assigned to the appropriate grouping. 

Visit the Group Mode - Activity Level section to learn about restricting activities to specific groups or groupings. When setting a restriction, simply choose Grouping instead of Group in the pop-up window pictured under the Restrict Access heading. 

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