Is there a way to batch create groups and associate users to a group in Commons?
Eric, this is an interesting question and not covered in the user guide - How do I create and manage Groups in Commons? - so I'm guessing the only way this might be possible is on the back-end of Canvas, possibly using the API. That isn't my area of expertise though so I'm sharing this with the Canvas Developers group in the Community to see if they can help!
That is a great question. I already have an idea of how it could be useful: I use a Google Form to collect "get to know you" information from my students, and of course I answer the same questions myself (preferred term of address, hometown/birthplace, educational goal, etc.). One of the questions relates to the themes of my course ("Which theme most interests you?"), and I use this to divide the class into groups. Since each submission to a Google Form becomes a row on a linked Google Sheet, I can sort the sheet by the theme question and am ready to start grouping students.
**Greg takes a moment to thank all those students who do not state a preference so he can put the same number of students in each group.**
We have Google Suite for Education and single sign-on, which means the Google Form collects the form filler's username. I am confident with how I divide the class into groups but do not enjoy the process inside Canvas. I will keep an eye on this question and answers to see if perhaps an API call can make the task of manual group enrollment less arduous.
Kona Jones Thank You for tagging the developers group.
Funny how sleep makes things clearer. My reply was focused on groups within a class, not Commons, and so is not exactly a relevant example. Being able to batch create groups of faculty users there would be awesome. I think certain departments might appreciate how Commons groups provide an easy way to share stuff, and it would be great if we could batch manage the membership so that each semester faculty currently teaching could be enrolled semi-automatically. I did not know groups were possible in Commons. Thank you Eric for helping me learn something new about Commons.
We've been looking at ways to automate group creation and automate the management of memberships. There is an API, however, it's a bit more challenging to work with than the normal Canvas API. Creating groups is pretty straightforward, where we are running into an issue is around group membership. If a user hasn't accessed commons they don't exist in the system which creates a bit of problem when adding users to groups.
We are still wrestling with it but we are moving forward with using commons as our primary method of delivering course templates to courses with more than one section. The flexibility, level of instructor control, and ease of use are worth the effort of manually managing the groups.
Our current workflow involves a service request through our ticket system from the department or program. This request will provide a group name, manager, proxy, and initial group membership. We then create the group and add the manager and proxy. Then we will process the initial membership. After that, we turn it over to the manager and/or proxy to manage.
Ideally, we'd process the group memberships from the course assignments in Banner, but without being able to create the user accounts and link them to our Canvas instance it's been a manual process.
Canvas Commons REST API Documentationhttps://lor.instructure.com/docs/api/
Let me know how you make out.
It looks like you are trying to do the same as we are with course templates and departmental/division shared information. I'll give the API a shot and let you know how that goes with creating groups; thanks for the link to the documentation. I did not realize the user account is not available in Commons unless a user accesses it first. This being the case, the ticket system might work best for user management for us as well; thanks for the idea!
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