Create a Group Category and Group Workspaces

To organize and manage related groups, use categories. For example, you can have a category for Weekly Discussions, Journals, and Projects.

Before you create a new set of groups, you must set up a category and create restricted work areas for the groups.

Create a Group Category

  1. On the nav bar, click the People menu, then select Groups.
    People Nav Bar Groups
  2. On the Manage Groups page, click New Category.
    Manage Groups New Category
  3. Enter a Category Name and Description. Group members can see the description of their group. For self-enrolled groups, group members will see the group description at all times, including before and after enrollment. For other group types, Instructors can now choose to display the description to members of the group. This visible group description setting is off by default for non-self-enrollment groups.
  4. Select an Enrollment Type from the drop-down list. Learn about Group Enrollment Types.
    Group Enrollment Types
  5. Depending on the chosen Enrollment Type, enter the Number of Groups to create, the Number of Users per group, or both.
    Group Number of GroupsGroup Number of Users
  6. To restrict enrollments to a specific section or group in your course, select the preferred section or group from the dropdown menu.Note: Instructors can create sub-groups, based on Section or Group enrollment, within the Groups tool. Instructors can only apply one enrollment restriction to a sub-group. Sub-groups can only be added once, users cannot create sub-groups of sub-groups.
    Restrict Enrollments
  7. To apply a distinctive prefix to each group name and code in the category, enter it in the Group Prefix field. If you do not fill in this field, the prefix defaults to “Group”.
  8. Depending on the chosen Enrollment Type, to automatically enroll users to groups, select Auto-enroll new users.
    Groups Options
  9. Depending on the chosen Enrollment Type, to randomly place users in groups, select Randomize users in groups. If you do not choose this option, users are placed alphabetically based on the Classlist.
  10. If you select an Enrollment Type that supports self enrollment, you can set a Self Enrollment Start Date and Time and a Self Enrollment Expiry Date and Time.
  11. If you select Set Self Enrollment Expiry Date, but you want all learners who do not enroll before the expiry date to be enrolled, you can select Allocate unenrolled users after Self Enrollment Expiry Date to automatically, randomly and evenly distribute them into the available groups.
    • Note: This option adds group members beyond the capacity of groups, if applicable. The automatic enrollment recurs at a set interval after the expiry date to ensure that all learners are assigned to a group.
    • An instructor can increase or decrease the capacity for self-enrollment groups after they have been 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. 
  12. Do one of the following: follow the steps below to Create Workspaces for Groups or to click Save.  Note: Enable the options in the Create Workspace area only after you’ve customized your group names. The Discussions areas are then created with the customized group names right away, and you do not have to edit their names manually later.

Customize group names

To customize individual group names, click the group and enter a new group name. Click Save.


Create Workspaces for Groups

The following steps can be completed from the Create a Group Category page upon category creation, or at a later time, by selecting the context menu next to the category name, then click Edit Category.

  1. In the Create Workspace area, check the boxes for any of the following options: Set up discussion areas, Set up lockers, and/or Set up assignments.
    Groups Workspace Areas
  2. If Set up discussion areas is checked:
    • Select or create a Forum for the discussions.
    • Then select either
      • Create new topic to create a new topic to restrict with this group category
      • or Attach to existing topic to create a group-restricted thread in an existing topic. This option is only available for empty topics without previous group restrictions or posts.
        Groups Setup discsusion areas forums
  3. If Set up assignments is checked:
    • Select the assignment type: Text, File Submission, On paper and Observed in person submission
      Groups Set up assignments type
  4. Click Save.

Group Discussion Areas

If Set up discussion areas was checked on the previous page instructors will be prompted to Create Restricted Topics.

  1. Select the Topic Type (Note: You cannot edit the topic type once you save the topic).  Choose either:
    • Create one topic per group (# topics total): Each group has a separate, restricted topic.  Use this option if you want to manage each topic individually. Note: If you choose this type of open topic, you can access the Group Restrictions area on the Restrictions tab of the discussion. This will not, however, allow you to assign the group discussion topic to a single Grade Item.
    • (Default option) Create one topic with threads separated by group: Groups share one group-restricted thread in a single topic. This is the most common select and allows for only one grade item in the Grades tool.
      Group topic type
  2. Add/edit the Topic title. Note: the Topic title is auto-populated with the category name. Modify this as needed.
    Group Title Description Create
  3. In the Description box, type the discussion prompt. This is where instructors should pose their question(s) to which students will respond.
  4. Click Create and Next, or click Add Another (if you wish to add multiple discussion topics).

Group Assignments

If Set up assignments was checked on the Create/Edit Category page, instructors will be prompted to Create Assignments.

Group assignments enables you to have one submission per group. Any group member can submit and view files for a group assignment. This will allow you to post one grade and assignment feedback that will automatically go to all members of the group.

  1. Enter a Name. Note: Naming convention is important. Make sure the assignment name matches what you have in your syllabus.
    Name
  2. Provide instructions to students in the Instructions text field. Enter your instructions, expectations and requirements for the assignment.
    Assignment Instructions
  3. Optional: To add attachments in the Attached Files area, click any of the buttons. If desired, add Attachments: File, Link, Existing Activity, Google Drive; Record Audio; or Record Video.
    Assignments Add Attachment
  4. Select a Submission Type. Once you have determined the type of assignment, it cannot be changed. You will have to create a new assignment. Choose one of the following:
    • File submission – Students will upload a file. See the list of approved file types for the Assignments tool. Select this option to collect papers or homework online. This is the default setting.
    • Text submission – Students will type or paste content into the html editor (text box); students will not be able to upload files. Select this option if you need students to submit a link or another small piece of data (such as a group name or presentation date preference).
    • On paper submission – Students will physically submit their paper to the instructor; students will not be able to upload files. Select this option if you will collect papers in person or if the student work is not able to be uploaded to TCU Online, but you still wish to leave feedback for students in the Assignments tool.TCU Online displays information to students that indicates if this item has been completed. Since there is no physical submission, you will then select how this determination should be made: manually by learners (students themselves click a button to make TCU Online show that this item has been completed; this is the default setting), automatically on evaluation (TCU Online will show this item has been completed once you publish a score or feedback for this item),  automatically on due date (TCU Online will show this item has been completed on the due date associated with this assignment; you must enter a due date in the restrictions tab for this assignment). Once you have determined the method for marking an item as complete, it cannot be changed. You will have to create a new assignment.
    • Observed in person – Students will perform or deliver their work to their instructor; students will not be able to upload files. Select this option if you will evaluate in-class presentations, productions, or works of art and you wish to leave feedback to students in the Assignments tool.TCU Online displays information to students that indicates if this item has been completed. Since there is no physical submission, you will then select how this determination should be made: manually by learners (students themselves click a button to make TCU Online show that this item has been completed; this is the default setting), automatically on evaluation (TCU Online will show this item has been completed once you publish a score or feedback for this item),  automatically on due date (TCU Online will show this item has been completed on the due date associated with this assignment; you must enter a due date in the restrictions tab for this assignment). Once you have determined the method for marking an item as complete, it cannot be changed. You will have to create a new assignment.
  5. Set your preferences for Submissions. These vary based on which Submission type you set in step 5.
    • If you selected File Submission: Select your preference for Files Allowed Per Submission: Unlimited or One File. Select your preference for Submissions: All submissions are kept, Only the most recent submission is kept, or Only one submission allowed.
    • If you selected Text submission:  Select your preference for Submissions: All submissions are kept, Only the most recent submission is kept, or Only one submission allowed.
    • If you selected On paper submission: Select your preference for Marked as completed: Manually by learners, Automatically on evaluation, Automatically on due date.
    • If you selected Observed in person: Select your preference for Marked as completed: Manually by learners, Automatically on evaluation, Automatically on due date.
  6. Optional: To receive an email message when a new submission is uploaded to this assignment, enter your email address, or a comma-separated list of email addresses in the Notification Email field. Enter your email address if you wish to receive an email each time a submission is made to the Assignment by a student.
  7. Do any of the following:
    • Optional: To associate the assignment with a category, select a Category or click New Category.
      Assignment New Category
      Set the Category or Name in the New Category (click Save after entering a name) if you wish to associate your Assignment to an Assignment Category. (Example: If you want to organize all homework assignments into one place in the Assignments tool, you might want a category called Homework.)
      Assignment Category Names
    • To assign a score, enter a value in the Out Of field. If there’s also an associated grade item, maintain consistency by matching the value of the Out Of field to the grade item’s Max Points value. Set the Out of score. This would be what the maximum points are for this assignment. Make sure the out of score also matches your syllabus.
    • To associate the assignment with a grade item in your grade book, select a Grade Item, or click New Grade Item to create a new item. Note that only numeric grade items can be associated with assignment. Set your Grade item. This can be set to None if you do not wish to associate the assignment with a Grade item.
    • To change the display settings for the assignment’s grade item, click the Student View Preview context menu, then Edit Display Settings.
    • To associate a rubric to the assignment, click Add Rubric, or Create Rubric in New Window. Add Rubrics if desired.
  8. Optional: Instructors can choose to enable Anonymous Marking, which will hide students names during assessment. Select the checkbox to turn on Anonymous Marking for this assignment. Learn more about how to use Anonymous Marking and important tips before using.
    Enable Anonymous Marking
  9. Optional: To allow students to add the assignment to their ePortfolio as an artifact, select Allow users to add this assignment to their ePortfolio.
  10. Click Create.

A Workspace Summary will display with confirmation about how many Discussion forums and topics, Lockers, and Assignments were created. Click Done.

Need to create more groups within a category? Follow these steps: Create a group