[Groups] Close self sign-up to groups on a specific date

Currently if instructors create a group assignment, and a group set, they can enable self sign-up within that group set. This is desirable as often they want students to self-organise into groups of common interest.


It is clear that students changing groups after submissions have been made can cause trouble and confusion in Canvas.


To prevent this, instructors have to remember to manually edit a group set and disable self self-up on a date that comes before students start submitting.




When enabling self sign-up, allow the instructor to set a date and time at which self sign-up becomes disabled or closed. For example: self sign-up might become disabled on October 10, at 11:59pm.


If this date is set, place an event in students' to-do lists and calendars, set for that date and time, reminding them that they have to join a group if they haven't already. Once they join a group within that group set, remove the to-do list item.

Added to Theme

Community Champion

Voted! Another great idea submission,  @jeremy_stevens . For me, the ideal implementation would be to use available From and Until dates on a group set, for consistency with availability-setting by Teacher/TA/Designer elsewhere in Canvas.

Community Contributor

Great suggestion, Rob! I agree. This would allow those group sets to be set up by instructors early on, without them worrying about students signing up to the groups before they know about the assignment, have been to the first class of the teaching period, etc.

Community Participant

I agree as well, it should be an option to set the from and until date.

Community Novice

I suggest an alternative setting: As soon as someone submits something from a group, that group becomes locked for self-signup. Would that be possible to implement?

If assignments come early on in a course it might not be possible to have a long enough time window to sign up before the assignment is open for submissions.

Community Contributor

I had not found this idea before putting mine in, I was also recommending open dates too since some professors would like to make the sign-up only available during class time. This prevents absent students from getting into a group that wasn't discussed in class about.

Community Participant

We like this suggestion. To clarify, it might be better, however, to close the group automatically as soon as something has been uploaded rather than submitted (so students can't copy any partial work unnoticed). 

Community Participant

As part of the feature set that might be employed to help alleviate the current shortcomings of group self-enrollment, we'd like to suggest that students who have already signed up for a particular group be notified when someone else joins or leaves the group. That way, they know if another student has seen any work they've done and would be aware if someone came in to the group, viewed their work, then left. (This functionality might serve as a deterrent to copying work.)

Community Contributor

I couldn't agree with this more. This sounds like a crucial feature addition.

Community Participant

I had a previous student switch project groups after the group she switched to was submitted and graded, so she got their grade without doing any work! I had another student sign-up in a group, download that group's submission, and submit it to the old group. This absolutely needs fixed. I think we should have the ability to lock the group after an upload has occurred and also to lock it according to a date. I like the available from and to idea.

Community Member
Problem statement:

Hi – there is a pretty big safety hole that has been in place for some years. I wonder if we can work on patching it. If an instructor defines a group set with groups that students can join and leave as they please, and then sets up a group assignment with that group set, one group can hand in an assignment and then another student can join the group, copy the assignment and then leave the group. In other words a student can switch groups, copy another group’s work, then go back to the original group have basically stolen others’ work. This is a problem – at least for our university.

Proposed solution:

We advise our teachers to turn off the self sign-up before students are allowed to start hand-ins. If this could be automated - not relying on intervention by the teacher - it would be a big plus, reducing the chances of cheating for all.

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