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Assign an Activity to a Group or Grouping in Moodle

Using Groups in Moodle, you can assign a particular activity (or all course activities) to groups of students. Groups can be especially useful for activities where students interact. With forums, wikis, and databases, students in the same group can post and reply only to each other. Each group member always works in their own group, but you can control whether or not they can see other groups.

With assignment activities, there are two ways to use groups:

  • Each student in a group submits individually
    If you follow the instructions below for an assignment activity, each student will make their own submission(s), and will not be able to interact or see other student's postings. If you want students to be able to see each other's work, consider using a forum, wiki, or database instead of an assignment.
  • A group of students works together to make a common assignment submission
    See Configure & Grade Group Assignments in Moodle if you want students in a group to make a common submission that represents their joint work. The group submission will not be visible to other groups. If you want students to be able to see each other's work, consider using a forum, wiki, or database instead of an assignment.

Assign a Specific Activity to a Grouping

Groupings are a collection of groups, and you can assign activities to specific groupings as needed. 

  1. To assign a specific activity to a grouping, you must first set up the grouping.  For instructions on making a grouping, refer to Create Groupings in Moodle.
  2. On your course home page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing icons and links will appear.
  3. Add the activity you will assign to groups (see About Adding Activities to a Moodle Course), or if the activity has already been added to the course, click its Update icon (Update icon - looks like a gear) to open the Settings page for the activity.
  4. Click Common module settings to view and adjust the settings. 
  5. In the Group mode drop-down menu, select either separate groups or visible groups.
    • Visible groups allows non-group members to see the work of other groups
    • Separate groups allows only group members to see work within the group
      Screenshot of Common module settings  (Click to enlarge)
    For a detailed explanation of group modes, see Group Modes in Moodle.
  6. In the Grouping drop-down menu, select the name of the grouping you wish to use.
  7. (Optional) To prevent students who are not in the grouping from seeing the activity link, select Available for group members only.
  8. To preserve your changes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save and return to course. Your course page will load, and you will see the name of the grouping in parentheses next to the activity.
    screenshot of Forum assigned to groups

Assign a Specific Activity to Groups

Follow the steps below when you want to assign an activity to only one group if students in a course, for example when creating an activity for only one section of a multi-section course, such as an honors or graduate section.

  1. To assign a specific activity to a group of students, you must first set up a grouping with a single group. Refer to Create & Modify Groups in Moodle for instructions.
    Note: When your course is created, a group is automatically created for each SPIRE class section with members of that section added to the group. Any group that starts with a tilde (~) is one that is created through a connection to SPIRE. 
  2. On your Moodle course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing icons and links will appear.
  3. Add the activity you want to assign to groups (see About Adding Activities to a Moodle Course), or if the activity has already been added, click its Update icon (Update icon - looks like a gear). The Settings page for the activity will open.
  4. Click Common module settings to view and adjust the settings. 
  5. In the Group mode drop-down menu, select either separate groups or visible groups.
    • Visible groups allows non-group members to see the work of other groups
    • Separate groups allows only group members to see work within the group
      Screenshot of Common module settings  (Click to enlarge)
    For a detailed explanation of group modes, see Group Modes in Moodle.
  6. In the Grouping drop-down menu, select the name of the grouping you wish to use. 
  7. (Optional) To prevent students who are not in the grouping from seeing the activity link, select Available for group members only.
  8. To preserve your changes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save.

Group Mode Icons

Group mode icon when editing is on Note: Once you have added an activity, when editing is on, a Group mode icon shows on your course page after the link to the activity. If you click the icon, the Group mode will toggle through 3 states:

No groups No groups: In collaborative spaces such as Forums or Wikis, everyone can see what others are posting. For Assignments, Quizzes, and other individually submitted activities, all students are assigned the same activity.

Separate groupsSeparate groups: In collaborative spaces such as Forums or Wikis, only the members of the group (and instructors) can view submissions.

Visible groupsVisible groups: In collaborative spaces such as Forums or Wikis, group members can contribute only to their own group, but can view submissions made by other groups.