The groups tool allows instructors to create groups of students within a course. These course groups have their own areas in Blackboard Learn to collaborate on course work. These spaces are equipped with tools to assist in the collaborative process. Your course groups may only meet in their group areas to discuss course content or trade files, which comes in handy if you create assignments that you want students to collaborate on. By increasing students‘ interactivity with each other in task-oriented ways, they construct, rather than acquire, knowledge.
On the Control Panel, expand the Users and Groups section and select Groups.
You can create formal groups of students to collaborate on work, and create these groups one at a time or in sets. You can manually select group members or allow students to self-enroll. Each group has its own space, or homepage, with links to tools to help students collaborate. Only you and group members can access the group tools.
There are two group creation options:
- A single group
- A Groupset
- Access the Groups listing page and point to Create Single Group on the action bar to access the dropdown list.
- Select Self-Enroll or Manual Enroll.
- On the Create Group page, type a Name and optional Description.
- Select the Yes option to make the Group available. If you do not want the group to be available at this time, select No.
- Select the check boxes for the course tools you want to make available to the group.
- Select the Grade option and add points possible for Blogs, Journals, and Wikis, if you want to grade student submissions.
- Select the checkbox for Allow Personalization to allow students to add personal modules to the group homepage. Only the group member who added the modules can view them.
- For self-enroll Sign-up options, type the Name of Sign-up Sheet. Type the Maximum Number of Members. Select any other Sign-up options you want to include. You might tell students that they cannot unenroll themselves from groups.
For manual enroll Membership section, select the students from the Items to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to add the selected names to the Selected Items box.
- Click Submit
The newly created group appears on the Groups listing page.
- Access the Groups listing page and point to Create Group Set on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
- Select Self-Enroll, Manual Enroll, or Random Enroll.
- On the Create Random Enrollment Group Set page, type a Name and optional Description.
- Select the Yes option to make the Group Available. If you do not want the group set to be available at the present time, select No.
- Select the check boxes for course tools you want to make available to the group set.
- Select the Grade option and addpoints possible for Blogs, Journals, and Wikis, if you want to grade student submissions.
- Select the checkbox for Allow Personalization to allow individual group members to add personal modules to the group homepage. Only the group member who added the modules can view them.
- For self-enroll Sign-up options, type the Name of Sign-up Sheet. Type the Maximum Number of Members. Select any other Sign-up options you want to include. You might tell students that they cannot unenroll themselves from groups
For manual enroll Group Set Options section, type the Number of Groups to create.
For random enroll Membership section, type the Number of Students per Group to create or the Number of Groups. Select an option to Determine How to Enroll any Remaining Members in the groups.
- Click Submit.
Self-Enroll allows students to add themselves to a group using a sign-up sheet. You can make sign-up sheets available to students on the groups listing page or by adding a link to a course area, such as a content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder. When you create a group using sign-up sheets, you can make the group immediately available to use or available after all members have signed up. Self-enrollment is an option available for both single groups and group sets.
Note: Students cannot unenroll themselves from groups.
Manual Enroll allows you to assign each student in your course to a group. Manual enrollment is available for both single groups and group sets.
Random Enroll is available for group sets only and automatically distributes membership into groups based on a designated number of students per group or the designated number of groups. Random distribution applies only to students who are currently enrolled in your course. You can enroll additional students manually. When naming a set of groups, the name of each group has a number added to it when they are first created. For example, a set of groups named “Research” results in groups named “Research 1,” “Research 2,” and “Research 3,” depending upon the number of groups in the set. After creation, you can edit the group names.
If you set availability to no when you created your groupset, you will have to edit the groupset later to make it available. To do this:
- Enter your “Groups“ area. You will see a list of groups with the Groupset they belong to.
- Place your mouse over the groupset you wish to make available, and click on the down arrow that appears
- Select “Edit Group Set Properties“
- On the next page, set “Group is visible to Students“ to “yes“
- Click “Submit“ to save your changes.
Students access the tools added to a group homepage in the Group Tools section. Only you and the group members can access tools enabled for a group, with the exception of the group blog and group wiki tools. Group blogs and wikis appear to all course members when the tools are accessed on the Tools page.
The following list describes the available group tools.
- Group Blog: Users within a group can add entries and comments to the group blog to share ideas. You can grade group blogs, but after you enable grading for a group blog, you cannot change that setting. When you add a grade for a group blog, the grade is automatically given to all the members of the group and is populated in the corresponding column in the Grade Center for each group member. All members are assigned a grade, regardless if a member did not contribute. You can edit an individual member‘s grade to assign a different grade than the group‘s.
- Collaboration Tools: Users within a group can create and attend real-time chat or virtual classroom sessions.
- Group Discussion Board: Users within a group can communicate as a group, as well as create and manage their own forums. The group discussion board is available only to group members, not to the entire course.
- File Exchange: You and group members can use this tool to upload documents to the group area, and delete files, regardless of who added them. Files appear in the order they were uploaded. This tool is only available to groups.
- Group Journal: Users within a group can share their thoughts with each other and communicate with you. Journal entries made in the group journal are visible to all group members and the you. You can grade group journals, but after you enable grading for a group journal, you cannot change that setting. When you add a grade for a group journal, the grade is automatically given to all the members of the group and is populated in the corresponding column in the Grade Center for each group member. All members are assigned a grade, regardless if a member did not contribute. You can edit an individual member‘s grade to assign a different grade than the group‘s.
- Group Tasks: Users within a group can define and separate the workload into tasks, while distributing the list to the entire group. Each task has a status and a due date to help keep members on track. Group members can view the group assigned tasks in the group tasks tool or in the course tasks tool. You and other course members will not see tasks for groups they are not enrolled in when viewing the course tasks tool.
- Group Wiki: Use group wikis to create a collaborative space for group members to view, contribute, and edit content. By default, all course members can read group wikis, but only members of the group can make a comment on their group wiki page. You can change the default setting to allow only group members to view a group wiki. You can grade group wikis, but after you enable grading for a group wiki, you cannot change that setting. When a grade is added for a group wiki, the grade is automatically given to all the members of the group and is populated in the corresponding column in the Grade Center for each group member. All members are assigned a grade, regardless if a member did not contribute. You can edit an individual member‘s grade to assign a different grade than the group‘s.
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 in a group have access to the assignment. The overall grade for an assignment can appear to users as a numeric value, letter grade, percentage, text, or as complete/incomplete, depending upon the primary display choice for the column created automatically in the Grade Center for the assignment.
Prerequisites and Cautions
You can manually add links to individual groups and sign-up sheets in content areas, learning modules, lesson plans, and folders. You can set up a content area to include all the content and tools your students need for the week. After reading the weekly lecture, and viewing the slide presentation, students can also access the groups tool to complete the group assignment. Students do not need to navigate anywhere else in your course to complete all the required activities for the week.
When you add a link to a specific group in a content area, all students will see the link, however, if a student is not a member of the group, he or she will not be able to access the group homepage. You can follow the same steps for adding link to learning modules, lesson plans, and folders.
- Change Edit Mode to ON and access the course area where you want to add a group link.
- On the action bar, click Tools to access the drop-down list.
- Select Groups.
- On the Create Link: Group page, select the type of link: Link to the Groups page, to a group, or to a group set. If linking to a group or group set, select it from the list.
- Click Next.
- On the next Create Link: Group page, complete the Link Information to specify how it will appear in the content area. Select Options, if you want.
- Click Submit.
Navigate to the content area, and click the group link to access the group homepage.
Sometimes you need to remove members from a course group. This can only be done by course instructors and Blackboard administrators. Students cannot remove themselves from a group. Students cannot remove other students from student-created groups.
- On the Groups page, access the group’s contextual menu.
- Select Edit.
- On the Edit Group page, go to Membership. Remove the member by selecting the name and clicking the left-pointing arrow to move the name out of Selected Items box.
- Click Submit. The group member is now removed from the group. To verify that the user has been removed, go to the group homepage to check the list of members.
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