Canvas Groups (Instructors)



This article describes what groups are, why you might use them, and how to use them in Canvas.

1. Why use Groups in Canvas?

Why might an instructor use Groups in Canvas?

  • Set up student group configurations at the course level for assignments and in-class work, both graded and ungraded.

  • Facilitate semester-long projects so that students can communicate and iterate on documents together.

  • Facilitate faculty professional development and institutional committees or activities.

  • Facilitate student-run study groups within courses or at the account level.

Within Groups, instructors can:

  • View all activity within all the groups within their course, including groups created by students as noted in the instructor's Student Groups tab (by default students will be allowed to create their own groups as noted in the Course Details tab)

  • View all created groups within the course

  • Manually or automatically create groups within a group set

  • Manually or automatically assign students to groups within a group set

  • Assign group leaders to each group

  • Allow students to sign up for their own groups

  • Expand and collapse subgroups

  • Move students into different subgroups

  • Create group collaborations


Bonus #1: Instructor Overview Video

Groups allow you to split students into smaller groups for things like projects and papers. Each group will have their own calendar, discussion board, and other tools available.

2. Create Group Sets

Create Group Sets

There's usually no reason to create a single group in a course, so Canvas requires you to create a group set in order to create a group.

  1. Go to the People page in Canvas.

  2. Click + Group Set in the top right of the page.

  3. Define a name for the group set. (Example: name of the assignment “Group Presentations”)

  4. Allow or disallow students signing themselves up for groups.

  5. You can require group members to all be in the same section if necessary.

  6. Define the number of groups created and, if necessary, limit the group size.

  7. Allow or disallow the system to define a student group leader.

  8. Click Save.

This will create the group set with the number of groups defined by you in step 5. Each group will be called the name of the group set with a number appended to the end.

When you create a group set, you will automatically be navigated to the tab in the People page for that group set. To get back to it again, click on the tab with the same name as the group set that was created.

Edit Group Set

  1. Click three dots next to the + Group button in the top right of the correct group set tab within the People page.

  2. Click Edit.

  3. Make the changes you need to make and click Save.

3. Create Groups

Create a Single Group in a Group Set

  1. Click + Group in the top right of the correct group set tab within the People page.

  2. Define the group name and member limit.

  3. Click Save.

Edit Groups

If you want to change the name of a group, you can click the three dots to the right of the group set and click Edit. In this page, you can change the group name and member limit.

4. Add / Remove Users

Assigning Students to Groups

  • If you decided not to automatically add students and you want to add certain students to certain groups, you can do this by dragging their name from the Unassigned Students column on the left of the page to the group that you want the student to be added to.

  • They will be added to the group immediately.

  • You can remove students from a group by dragging them from the group to unassigned students.

5. Make a Group Assignment / Discussion Board

  • When making a group Assignment or Discussion Board, select the setting: Group Assignment when creating the particular assignment.

  • Groups that are already created will appear in the drop-down menu to select from.


6. Canvas Journals

7. Grading Groups

8. Give one user a lower grade in a Group


Bonus #2: Student Overview of Canvas Groups

Discover what the student group experience!