Gregory Beyrer

Self-select Groups and Sections

Blog Post created by Gregory Beyrer Champion on Sep 7, 2017

Our instructors use the cross-listing tool to put multiple classes into the same Canvas course. One has a group activity where her students who pick the same topic work together to submit a group assignment. Since she has cross-listed two face-to-face courses, she wanted to know what would happen if she used the Canvas groups tool, allowed self-select, and also limited the groups to students in the same section. That way she could count on all students in a group being present during that part of the class meeting set aside for group time.


In our exploration we discovered that any student can join any group, and the first student to join a group locks that group so that the members must be enrolled the same section. To discourage all groups being locked by students in the same section, she will include the meeting pattern as part of the group name (e.g., "M/W Cardio Systems Project") and encourage students to join a group that matches when they attend class. In addition, she will turn off the self-select option and then manually move students if they joined a group with the incorrect meeting pattern.


In the embedded video I demonstrate how to create a group set that has the options for self-select but is limited to the same section. I also show a student user joining a self-select group and what happens when a student from another section in that course views the list of self-select groups. Students from other sections can see who is enrolled in a group even if they cannot join it.