Group Sets and Groups

Groups can be made once group sets are created.  Selecting "Custom" group sets allow for the creation of groups by choosing the students in each group,  randomly assigned groups can be made using the "randomly-assigned" group set, or use a "self-enrollment" set to allow students to pick their group.

View Groups

On the top navigation menu of your course, select the Groups tab in the upper right. Groups and group sets that are made will appear on this tab. If there are not any group sets made, you will be prompted to create a group set.

Add a Group Set

To add  a group set, Press the (plus) icon on the upper right side to add a new custom group set. A new group set panel will appear. Enter the  title at the top left of the panel. Group sets can be set to visible by students by clicking on "hidden from students" in the upper right of the panel then by selecting "visible to students"  from the drop down menu. This is necessary to be able to use the "self-enrollment" option. If the group is hidden to student,  then selecting "self-enrollment will not be possible and it will appear in a light grey color. The dropdown menu next to "group student" has three options.

Custom:  Create specific groups needed for that particular project or discussion

Randomly assigned:  Blackboard's system will assign students at random based on set number of group members

Self-enrollment:  Allow students the option to join a group of their choosing, with a limit on the number of students that can enroll in each group.

Dropdown menu of options for group assignment

Creating each type of group set

Custom Group Set

The Custom group set is most useful when you want to select which students are in each group. Students can be added to existing groups or to a new group at any time.

Adding students to a custom group

When a new group set is created, all students who are not yet assigned to a group are listed at the top in grid view. To assign students to a group, click on the tile with the student's name to select them. Multiple students can be selected at once.  Once you have selected the students you want to be in the group, click the three dots to the right of the students name in any one of the highlighted student's box and select + "Create a new group" or add them to an existing group. All selected students will be added to the group. You can name the group and add a description (if desired) by clicking on the edit/pen icon at any time.  Then repeat the process with the remaining students if necessary. 

Note: not all students in a group set need to be assigned. For example, in a merged 400/600 level course, you could create one or more groups and assign all of the 400 level students, but leave the 600 level students unassigned.

Moving students between groups

If you want to move a student into a different group, click on the three dots next to the name of the student you want to reassign and select the new group name from the list.  You can also choose to create a new group with the student as a member, or unassign the student from a group without reassigning them to a new group

Select "Save" on the bottom right  to lock in any changes that you have made.

Randomly-Assigned Group Set

This group set is most useful when you want to quickly create groups with random assignment of students to those groups.  With the randomly-assign option, you can select the number of groups and number of members per group you would like from the drop down menu.  Once you have selected the number of groups you want to randomly create, you can rename the "New Group 1", "New Group 2", etc. with a name of your choice.

Randomly-assigned group set with dropdown menu showing grouping options for 2 groups, 3 groups etc

Select "Save" on the bottom right  to lock in any changes that you have made.

Self-Enrollment Group Set

You MUST make the group visible to students before you can select the self-enrollment option. Making groups visible to students by default is recommended.

First, make the group visible to students, then select "self-enrollment" from the drop down menu.

Self-enrollment menu for a new group set

Select the Advanced Options in the upper right to set the parameters for student self enrollment. You can set the following limits: 

  • Self-enrollment start and end dates
  • Maximum number of members per group
  • Show/hide enrolled members.  When you check the hide enrolled members box, students will not be able to see the name of other students in the group before enrolling. 

advanced options for self-enrollment options with description, enrollment start state, enrollment end date, maximum members per group,  and option to hide enrolled members

To add groups to the group set, click on the plus sign in the bottom middle of the screen. Edit the name of each group you add by clicking on the current name of the group.  Click on the three dot menu on the group to open a menu where you can select to message the group, unassign members, delete the group and enter group space.  Entering the group space as an instructor allows you to see a list of the group content, e.g. group assignments and discussions from the student's perspective.

Actions menu for an individual group including message, unassign, delete, and enter space

Select "Save" on the bottom right  to lock in any changes that you have made.

How do students self enroll in a group?

When students log into the course, they will see a pop up announcement notifying them to join a group. This announcement will say "Join a Group to participate in (group set name)".

New group self-enrollment announcement as seen from student perspective

Students can access the course groups from the top navigation menu by clicking on "Groups" on the right side of the menu. Student will see the names of the groups that they can elect to join. They can join by clicking on the "Join" button on the right side of the panel. 

For Students - How to view members of a group?

To view members of a group, click the dropdown menu on the group and then click "show members". Then the members will appear to the right of the screen on a pop up list.

A pop up menu will appear and will show a list of the group members names. The search bar under the title of the group can be used to look for specific members by searching for their name. Under the search bar is the list of the students in the group.

search box for looking for specific group members in group

Video- How to create group sets and groups

Blackboard has more information on creating groups