Canvas for Faculty


The Student Groups feature in Canvas divides students into small groups within the course. Upon creation, student groups will have their own discussion boards, collaboration tools and calendar, making them ideal for working on group projects or other assignments.

To get to your groups, click on People in the left sidebar menu and then click on the
View User Groups button found on the top-right portion of the page.

The tutorial on this page will review how to create groups and separate students into them. If you would like to learn more about the group tools that are included in groups, please view our page on Group Tools.


Creating a Group Set

To create a new set of groups, select the People tab from the course menu.

People button

From the People page, you will be able to see all users in your course. Click the button in the upper right corner of the page reading View User Groups.

From this page, you can see all of the user groups in the course. To make a new set of groups, click the button in the upper right corner of the page reading "+ Group Set".

Group set button

A window will pop up, prompting you to fill out some information about your new group set:

Create group set in canvas

  • Give a name to the group set.
  • Allow students to assign themselves to groups or not.
    • If this is checked, you will receive more options to require group members to remain in the same section, create a certain number of groups, and set the maximum number of members per group.
  • Structure the groups where students will automatically be split into a specified number of equal groups or you can manually create them.

When you are finished, click the Save button and your new group set will be created and located as a tab at the top.

Presentation groups tab

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Accessing Student Groups Pages

To access the student group pages:

  1. Go to your course's People page then click on View User Groups
  2. In the Groups(#) section of the page where the list of your student groups are found, click on the gear icon and then click on Visit Group Homepage.

visit groups homepage option

Within the group homepage, students are able to collaborate and work on projects, assignments, and other course-related work with the tools found in a normal Canvas course.

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Self-Assigned Groups

To create self-assigned groups, create a group set and check the box saying Allow self sign-up. This will make it so that individuals can choose their own groups. If this box is checked, you can then decide how many groups you want to create and the maximum number of students in each group. Click Save when you have finished filling out the required fields.

Create group set interface

The groups will be created, and you will be able to see which students have signed up for a group and which students have not.

presentation groups tab interface

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Instructor-Assigned Groups

To create groups that you will manually assign, create a group set and skip over the Self Sign-Up section. Instead, under Group Structure select betwee between Split students into __ equal groups or I'll create groups manually. The first option will split students into the specified number of groups for you, while the other will allow you to choose who goes in which group.

Group structure options

When you have chosen, click the Save button.

Randomly generated groups will create the groups for you. Manually assigned groups require you to create groups within the set that you then add students to. To do this, go into the group set you just created and click on the "+ Group" button right underneath the blue group set button.

add group button

A window will appear where you can enter the group's name.

add group name

The group will be updated with its new name. Create all of your groups first, then add students to them. Students can be added into groups using the drag-and-drop feature. Simply select a student from the Unassigned Students column on the left and drag them into the Groups column on the right.

assignment groups tab interface options

The student will then be listed as a member of that group. To remove students from groups, simply drag-and-drop them back into the Unassigned Students column.

If you change your mind and need to change anything about the groups, simply click the gear icon next to the "+ Group" button in the top-right portion of the page and select Edit.

Message all unassigned students option

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