Groups & Discussions

1. How do I set up Groups?
2. What's the difference between group available "yes" and choosing "sign-up sheet only"?
3. Does the sign up button disappear after a student signs up for a group?
4. What is the difference between a "Single Group" and a "Group Set"
5. How do I find who has signed up for a group?
6. How are groups and the available tools visible to instructors and to students?
7. How do I use the Discussion tool in my course?

1. How do I set up Groups?

Groups are set by accessing this option in the Control Panel (left side) > Users and Groups > Groups

Decide on a Single Group creation or the Create Group Set.

Download the PDF: Working with Groups

Note: Once groups have been created, you may also add new groups to a group set.

For example,  “manual enroll group set” can be created by doing the following:


1.       Log into your course as the instructor
2.       Expand the control panel menu if it isn’t already
3.       Expand the “Users and Groups” menu, if it isn’t already
4.       Click “Groups”
5.       In the group set column, hover your mouse over the group set you want to add more groups to (or delete groups from) and click the options menu icon that appears (the v in a circle)
6.       Select “Edit Group Set Membership”
7.       In the “Group Set Enrollments” section, either click “Delete group” to remove groups you no longer need, or “Add Group” to add a new group to this group set.


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2. What's the difference between group available "yes" and choosing "sign-up sheet only"?

  1. If available is set to "sign up sheet only" then students can sign up, but they cannot see the group. Useful if you want to set a bunch of groups at the start of term but then release them to students as the term progresses. Or useful for signing up for things like "which bus to take on a field trip" where there is no actual group activity.
  2. If available is set to "Yes" then the students can click the title to get into the group. So in the above scenario, you would initially set the group to "signup sheet only" but then when you want them to access the group you would set the group availability to "yes" later.

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3. Does the sign up button disappear after a student signs up for a group?

Yes, after students sign up, the link to the group becomes usable and the "sign up" button disappears.
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4. What is the difference between a "Single Group" and a "Group Set"

  1. A single group lets you make one group with one signup sheet, etc.
  2. A "group set" lets you create many groups at once. You can control the number of groups, or the maximum number of students who can enroll in a group.

    Note: Blackboard assumes that the groups within the group set are initially supposed to be mutually exclusive. A student can only sign up for ONE of the groups. So when they click on a group set they see the signup sheet for ALL the groups. But once they select a signup sheet, they ONLY have access to that ONE group from the group set. They don't get the option to sign into another group in the set. 
    If you want students to pick ONLY one group out of a set of groups then use the "group set". However, if you want to let students add themselves to several different groups, then you must create each group individually (not as part of the same group set).

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5. How do I find who has signed up for a group?

  1. When a group is created with the "Show Members" link selected, the signup sheet shows who has already joined the group before students sign up.
  2. After a student has joined a group the signup sheet button disappears. When students enter the group, the "Group Properties" module lists all of the group members.

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6. How are groups and the available tools visible to instructors and to students?

There are two places to see what tools a person has in the group. The "Group Tools" module on the group homepage, and the left-hand "My Groups" menu visible to students.
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7. How do I use the Discussion tool in my course?

Download the PDF: Working with Discussions


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