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Managing Groups in Brightspace

This resource overviews the groups tool in Brightspace outlining why one would use it, how to create groups in Brightspace, the use of group assignments and discussions.

Enabling group work within a module may offer a means to support both inclusive and active learning, opening up opportunities for focused participation (through dedicated activities and assignments) and promoting other modalities for learners to engage with one another, sharing information through tasks, and a variety of media. 

Group work promotes various types of learning such as; active, authentic, collaborative and problem-based learning. When used effectively, it can be one approach in developing student's transferable skills for lifelong learning, for example; teamwork, project management and leadership skills. In addition, it can also be a pragmatic way of dealing with large cohorts of learners by dividing them into smaller and more manageable subgroups so they can  engage and complete learning activities and assessments. 

Why use groups in Brightspace?

The groups tools can be used for:

  • Any group assignment, discussion or activity that requires learners to interact, submit or share resources within their module in Brightspace.
  • To facilitate collaborative, team and problem-based group activities and projects.
  • To enable peer feedback and editing.
  • To create smaller sub-groups of learners within a module for discussion or learning activities.
  • To enable students sign up for presentations or times (i.e. via a self-enrol group).

How to create groups in Brightspace

Firstly, consider the context and purpose of the groups you want to create in your module. The groups tools enable you to divide a cohort of students into groups assigning them as follows:

  • Automatic enrollment - Brightspace adds the members to the groups
  • Manual enrollment - you as instructor adds the members to the groups
  • Self-enrollment - the students self-select their groups

Regardless of the initial method of group enrollment you as the instructor can always manually assign or re-assign students to groups. 

You can decide what additional functionality you wish to make available to groups i.e. discussion areas, assignment submission folders etc depending on the purpose of the group. This Brightspace tutorial ‘Create a Group’ demonstrates how to setup a group.

Practical Tip

If you have a large class (greater than 50) UCD IT Services can assist in creating groups, please contact the IT Helpdesk; https://www.ucd.ie/ithelp  

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