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How do I create Groups? | Administration | Groups

Groups

The Groups tool enables you to split up the students enrolled in your course into smaller groups. This allows you to let the students work on, for example, an assignment together or for administrative reasons. You can choose to divide everybody into groups or just a specific amount of students.

There are three options to create groups:

  1. Create groups in OSIRIS
  2. Create groups in Brightspace
  3. Create subgroups in Brightspace.

You can manage your groups with the Manage Groups tool.

Register Groups in OSIRIS

An instructional video is included for this subject. This instructional video will provide a step-by-step explanation about how to transfer the groups in OSIRIS to Brightspace. A written manual can be found below the video.

Does your course make use of multiple teaching methods, for example lectures, practical sessions or study groups? You can design your course by registrating these methods in OSIRIS. If you choose to transfer these methods to Brightspace (by selecting the box for Groups to LMS? for each method), the link between OSIRIS and Brightspace will automatically create a category under Group Categories in Brightspace. The Group Categories will then be divided in one or more Groups, depending on the number of groups you submit in OSIRIS.

This allows you to have multiple Group Categories in your course: a Group Category for tutorials, a Group Category for projects and a Group Category for practical sessions. It is possible to divide the eighty students who participate in your course over all three of the categories. You could have a Group Category for tutorials with four groups of twenty students, A Group Category for practical sessions with two groups of forty students and a Group Category for projects with eight groups of ten students.

  • The link between OSIRIS and Brightspace works in real time which means that changes in OSIRIS will almost immediately be reflected in the corresponding Brightspace course. However, the synchronisation only works in one direction: from OSIRIS to Brightspace. Changes in OSIRIS will be reflected in Brightspace but any changes in Brightspace will not be processed back to OSIRIS!
  • A Group Category created in OSIRIS that has been transferred to Brightspace is named OSIRIS [code] Groups. Do not alter this name and all the other related group names in Brightspace! However, feel free to create additional groups in Brightspace that work alongside the groups imported from OSIRIS.
  • If the division of tutorials, projects and practical sessions into categories in Brightspace are incorrect (e.g. the Group Category OSIRIS PRJ Groups needs to contain ten groups instead of eight) the correction has to be made in OSIRIS. These changes will then be automatically transferred to Brightspace. If there is a Category reflecting a tutorial etc. that needs to be removed, than this should be done by an OSIRIS admin from your faculty. Also if a student has to/wants to be enrolled in a different group this should be adjusted in OSIRIS.

Create groups in Brightspace

It is also possible to create new groups in Brightspace. An instructional video is included for this subject. A written manual can be found below the video.

It is possible to create groups in Brightspace if you have decided not to create groups in OSIRIS or just want to create additional groups in Brightspace.

  • Go to Administration in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Groups. This will open the Manage Groups page.
  • Click New Category.
  1. Give the category a name (for example Werkcollege (study group)).
  2. Add a category description if needed.
  3. Determine how the groups will be created with the help of the drop-down menu below Enrollment Type. You can choose to allocate students to groups yourself, automatically or give them the option to choose their own group (Self Enrollment). You can subsequently determine the total amount of groups (# of Groups) and/or the total amount of students per group (Groups of #). You can find descriptions of the seven possible group structures below. Depending on your preferences you can now indicate the amount of groups and/or the total amount of students per group. 

Different Group Categories explained

An instructional video is included for the different Group Categories. A written manual can be found below the video.

You can create seven different types of group categories in Brightspace:

  1. # of Groups, no Auto Enrollment: n groups.
    This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create. You can fill in this number below Number of Groups. This option allows you to manually allocate students to groups.
  2. Groups of #: groups of a maximum of n students
    This option allows you to indicate the maximum amount of students per group. You can fill in this number below Number of Users. Brightspace will then automatically allocate students to groups.
  3. # of Groups: n groups.
    This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create. You can fill in this number below Number of Groups. Brightspace will then automatically allocate students to groups.  
  4. Groups of # - Self Enrollment: groups of a maximum of n students
    This option allows you to indicate the maximum amount of students per group. You can fill in this number below Number of Users. Students are subsequently allowed to enroll themselves into the group of their choice.
  5. # of Groups - Self Enrollment: n groups.
    This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create. You can fill in this number below Number of Groups. Students are subsequently allowed to enroll themselves into the group of their choice.
  6. # of Groups, Capacity of # - Self Enrollment: groups of a maximum of n students.
    This option allows you to determine the total amount of groups you want to create and the maximum amount of students per group. You can fill in the number of groups below Number of Groups and the total amount of students per group below Number of Users. Students are subsequently allowed to (un)enroll themselves into the group of their choice.
  7. Single user, member-specific groups: personal group per student.
    This option creates a single group per student. You can use this option if you want to work with blogs/journals. Students can subsequently write a blog in a personal and private discussion topic.

Options 2 and 3 allow you to change the following using Advanced Properties:

  • Auto-Enroll New Users: Brightspace automatically enrolls all students that are participating in your course after the groups have been created. (Students will always be allocated to the group with the fewest amount of participants; this option will make sure that there are no groups without any participants.)
  • Randomise users in Groups: students are randomly allocated to a group. (Students are allocated to groups in alphabetical order when this option is not selected.)

Options 4, 5, and 6 allow you to change the following using Advanced Properties:

  • Set an end date (Expiry Date) for the self-enrollment period which means that students are not able to join and/or leave groups after said date. Fill in a date or select Now to stop self-enrollment immediately. When you add a date, students will be able to enroll until 23:59:59 on the date prior to the one entered. This means that when you enter the date 18-12-19, students will be able to enroll until 23:59:59 (or 11:59:59 pm) on 17-12-19. At midnight the registration will be closed.
  • Allocate unenrolled users who did not enroll themselves in any group. This will happen automatically after the enrollment deadline has passed and will allocate students to a random group (group capacity might be ignored).

It is advised to communicate the start and end date clearly to your students in order to prevent miscommunications.

The maximum number of groups you can create for a category is 200.

The example above uses the fifth enrollment option: four groups that allow students to manually enroll themselves (# of Groups - Self Enrollment, Number of Groups: 4). The fifth options enables you to add an enrollment deadline and to make sure students are automatically enrolled after the deadline has passed (options can be found below Advanced Properties).

  1. It is possible to add restrictions for who is able to enroll themselves for a certain group below Restrict Enrollments To. An example would be that only students who are enrolled in one of the two lecture groups are allowed to enroll themselves for one of the tutorial groups. How this option works and in which specific cases this can be used is explained below the header creating subgroups in Brightspace.
  2. Fill in a group code or name below Group Prefix. This number and/or code will be shown in the Group Category menu before the number of the group (the example uses the prefix Werkc- which results in the following groups in the category Werkcollegegroepsoverzicht: Werkc-1, Werkc-2, Werkc-3 en Werkc-4).
  3. Choose a start date and time under Set Self Enrollment Start Date. From this moment on students can enroll in a group.
  4. Set Self Enrollment Expiry Date allows you to choose an end date and time for the self enrollment.
  5. You can check one or more of the boxes below Additional Options to add the following:
  6. Click Save. If you have chosen one of the additional options, you will now go to the tool that enables you to create said options. You will now return to the Manage Groups page.

Manage Groups

In Manage Groups you can:

  • View your group categories and groups.
  • Create new categories.
  • Edit categories and groups.
  • Check which students are enrolled in what group.
  • Delete categories and groups.
  • Send an email to all the students in a specific group. 
  • Click the fold-out arrow below View Categories to go to a specific category and see the groups it contains. The example above includes three categories: Hoorcollege, Practicum, and Werkcollege groups. The Werkcollege group is selected in the image and its groups are therefore visible. This group category consists out of (as was determined when they were created) four groups: Werkc-1, Werkc-2, Werkc-3 and Werkc-4. These groups are visible in the table below the name and description of the category. The groups already have a slightly different amount of members, a submission folder for assignments, a discussion topic, and a locker.
  • If you want to create another Group Category (for instance for a lecture or practical session) you can click on New Category and repeat the steps that are shown above.
  • The number behind the name of the category (Werkcollege) indicates the amount of groups that are currently in said category. The arrow behind the name of the category allows you to:
    • edit the category. You can use this function to add a discussion topic or locker when you have already created the category and did not add them initially (Edit Category).
    • add a group (Add Group).
    • add students to groups (Enroll Users). This option will open a pop-up window that enables you to enroll the students in the classlist in the groups in this specific category.
  • Click the number in the Members column to see which students are enrolled in a group.
  • If you want to delete a group or send every member of a group an e-mail you simply check the box for a specific group and select either Delete or Email. Note that when you send a mail all the recipients’ mail addresses will be in the BCC field to ensure the privacy of the students.
  • You can change and/or description of a group by clicking on the name of said group.

If you have chosen an enrolment type without self or auto enrolment, then you will have to distribute the students among the groups manually. An instructional video is included for this subject. This instructional video will provide a step-by-step explanation about how to enroll users manually.

Descriptions of individual groups are visible for students, but only when a self enrollment group is concerned.

Create subgroups in Brightspace

It is also possible to create subgroups in Brightspace. This allows you to basically divide groups into smaller groups. We use the word basically because these subgroups will not appear as such below the parent group in that specific category table. They will, instead, appear as an independent Group Category in the category overview. This happens because you will not actually create a subgroup but you create a new category that has an enrollment restriction (Restrict Enrollment To) so only members of a specific group are allowed to enroll themselves or be enrolled for this new category. This restriction can be placed on subgroups linked to parent groups that have been created in Brightspace and parent groups that have been created in OSIRIS (no changes will be made to the OSIRIS group in question).

For example: your course contains a practical session that has been registered in OSIRIS and consists out of two practical session groups: Practicumgroep 1 and Practicumgroep 2. These groups will show up in Brightspace as a category Practicumgroep that contains the groups Pracgr-1 and Pracgr-2. The group Pracgr-1 consists out of 15 students who need to be split up into three smaller groups so they can work together on the assignments. This can be done by creating a new Group Category (for instance: Pracgr-1-opdr) and adding the restriction that only students enrolled for Pracgr-1 can enroll themselves for the groups in this category.

  • A restriction added to a group category cannot be removed once the category has been created.
  • A new subgroup needs to be created for every parent group. This cannot be done in one go.
  • The restriction will also be in place for groups with self-enrollment. Students who are not enrolled in the parent group will not be able to see the self-enrollment for the accompanying subgroup.  
  • Go to Administration via the navbar of your cursus.
  • Click Groups.
  • Click New Category.
  1. Give the new Group Category a name (for instance Practicumgroep 1 opdracht).
  2. Choose an Enrollment Type and determine the accompanying Number of Users and/or Number of Groups (the example uses five self-enrollment groups each containing three students).
  3. The drop-down menu below Restrict Enrollment to enables you to choose the main group from which the students can be added to the subgroups (for example Pracgr-1).
  4. Give the subgroup a Group Prefix (Pracgr-1-opdr). 
  5. Click Save.

Subgroups will be added as an independent category in the Group Categories overview. This means that you will have to open the drop-down menu View Categories to select them. For this reason it is important to give the groups in the subcategory a subgroup prefix that is clearly linked to its parent category (just like the prefix of the subgroup in the example, pracgr-1-opdr-, clearly indicates that these groups are assignments groups within the parent group Pracgr-1).  

The image above shows you that the group category Practicumgroep is selected below View Categories. The category consists out of the groups Pracgr-1 and Pracgr-2 (which is also indicated by the number (2) behind Practicumgroep). A little question mark icon has now appeared behind Pracgr-1 and a hover over the article with your mouse reveals the text: sub-groups depend on this group, which means that subgroups are linked to this group. The question mark icon behind Prachticumgroep (2) also indicates that one of the two groups is linked to a subgroup: Sub-groups depend on Groups in this Category. The text that appears when hovering over these question mark icons only indicate that subgroups are linked to one of the groups in this category, but not which subgroups specifically. This emphasizes the importance of giving the groups in the subgroups a prefix that is clearly linked to its parent group.

The image above shows that the subgroup Practicumgroep 1 Opdracht is selected below View Categories. This category consist out of five assignment groups with a maximum of three students per group that are only accessible to the 15 students who are enrolled in Pracgr-1 (as is indicated by the prefix Pracgr-1-opdr-). This restriction created five subgroups for its parent group Pracgr-1. Because these subgroups are treated the same as every other Group Category and can therefore be edited the same way as you would edit any other category (for instance: adding students, adding lockers and discussions, etc.).