One of the many features available for teachers to use is the group mode for activities within a course in Moodle. This post will look at how to setup groups in a Moodle course.
What to Use the Group Mode For?
As with other features in Moodle, the challenge with the group mode is that you can use it for almost anything. The unlimited variety in terms of the application of the group mode makes it challenge for novices to understand and appreciate it. This is because as humans we often want a single clear way to use something. Below are several different ways in which the group mode can be used in a Moodle course.
- If the same Moodle course is used for two or more different sections the group mode can be used to put students in the same moodle course into different groups by section. For example, if a teacher is teaching two sections of English 101, section 1 would be one group and section 2 would be the other group.
- Groups can also be used so that only certain groups see certain things in a Moodle course. In Moodle, you can limit who sees what be restricting to a certain group.
- A more traditional use is to have students placed in groups to complete group assignments. Placing them in groups allows the group to submit one assignment that Moodle gives all members of the group credit for when it is marked.
If this is not confusing enough, you can also have students in several different groups simultaneously if you wanted. Therefore, whenever you are trying to use Moodle you need to consider what your goal is rather than whether it is possible to do it in Moodle. As stated before, the problem is the flexibility of Moodle and not its inability to facilitate a learning task.
In this post, we are only going to learn how to make groups. In a future post, we will look at using groups in terms of teaching and assignments.
Creating Groups in Moodle
- After logging into Moodle and selecting a course, you need to go to course administration->users->groups. If you do this correctly you should see the following
2. There are several things to mention before continuing
First, there are two different ways to create groups. You can create them manually by clicking on “create groups” or you can have Moodle make the groups using the “Auto-create groups” button. The auto-group option will be explained in a later post as welling as the grouping feature.
Second, there is a tab called “grouping” this is a feature that allows you to create a group of groups. In other words, several groups can be assigned to a grouping. This allows you to assign several groups to an activity simultaneously rather than having to add each on manually. This is a great feature for a course that has two sections and each section has group activities. For now we will learn how to make groups manually.
Lastly, the column on the left, called “groups” will display the name of any groups that are created while the column on the left, called “members of” will contain the names of people who are a part of the group. Right now both are empty because there are no groups yet.
3. Click on the “create group” group button and you will see the following.
4. You now need to give the group a name. You also have the privilege to add other information if you want such as description or even a picture to represent the group. After providing the needed information you need to click “save changes” in order to see the following.
5. To add members to our practice group we need to click on the “add/remove” button. After doing this, you will see the following.
6. There are two columns, “potential members” and “group members.” To add people to the “group members” section just highlight whoever you want in the “potential members” side and click “add”. Below is an example of this
Just a note, at the bottom of both the “group member” and “potential member” list is a search function that can be used to find specific people in either section.
7. After placing people in the group, you can click on the “back to group” button. You will see the following.
The group name is displayed on the left and the members of the group are displayed on the right.
In this post we learned how to create groups. However, we have not learned yet how to use groups in a moodle course yet. This will be explained in a future post.