Learn@Illinois Moodle - Groups and Groupings Help

Learn@Illinois allows instructors to divide students who are enrolled into their course into groups and groupings. The groups feature allows groups of students to work more closely with one another and also provides instructors with some administrative capabilities, especially in large courses that are divided into sections. The groupings feature also allows activities to be restricted to a particular grouping. This could be useful for large courses in which individual sections have separate activities. Keep in mind that there are only two levels, groups and groupings. You can create the effect of a tertiary level by creating another set of groups and groupings.

For a permanent link to this information, please use: http://go.illinois.edu/MoodleUnderstandingGroups


A grouping is a collection of groups. You might want to create two assignments that use groups, but not the same groups. You would then create a grouping for assignment 1 and a grouping for assignment 2. You will populate these groupings with all of the course’s students separated into their groups. Student A may be in group 1 for assignment 1 and group 5 for assignment 2.


In addition to the automatic separation of students into groups based on course section, instructors can manually create groups of students already enrolled in their course.

There are four methods for putting students into groups:

Things to consider:

  • Using a group enrollment key only works if the students are not yet enrolled in the course.
  • Instructors can add/delete students or rename automatically created groups.

Using Groups and Groupings in Activities

Instructors can set up new or existing activities to use groups. When creating or editing an activity, instructors can enable groups under the “Common module settings” heading of the editing page. Instructors can choose between having no groups, separate groups, and visible groups.

  • No groups will mean that there are no separations by group in the activity, and in interactive activities students will see the contributions of every class member.
  • Separate groups will separate students into groups, and will limit them to contributing to their group and viewing only their group member’s contributions.
  • Visible groups allow students to see other groups’ work, but still limit students to contributing only to their group. For example, in a forum, students will be able to add new discussion topics and respond to others for their group. When they choose another group from the drop-down menu in the top left hand corner of the page they will still be able to see the existing discussions on the page but they will see a message telling them that “adding discussions to this forum requires group membership.”

Instructors can also edit the group mode through the final icon after an activity which displays when editing is turned on, which will either show one person for no groups, a person who is brownish orange and one who is grey for separate groups, or two who are brownish orange for visible groups. Instructors can toggle through the three options. Within the editing menu, instructors will also be able to choose whether an activity is restricted to a particular grouping, and in some activities, whether only students who are part of a group can access the activity.

Finally, it should be noted that groups behave differently for different types of activities. With individual activities like Assignment or Quiz, groups are just for sorting (e.g., TAs will be able to view only their students). With collaborative activities like Forum and Workshop, groups affect the student view. Glossary is a notable exception in that it is a collaborative activity that can’t be separated by group (only restricted by group). Assignment can be set up in Group submission mode, but that’s it’s own section of settings (not the Common module settings).

Related Topics

Moodle.org Documentation

Keywords:moodle, activities, enrollment, no groups, separate, visible, grading, group assignment   Doc ID:72179
Owner:ATLAS-TLT .Group:University of Illinois Liberal Arts and Sciences
Created:2017-03-30 11:45 CDTUpdated:2019-04-09 09:04 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Liberal Arts and Sciences
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