[Groups] Copy Group Settings

Group settings should be included when doing a course copy or Import.


I have a course which relies heavily on an intricate set of groups tied to assignments (it's a negotiations course) so I need to be able to copy the course over from term to term in complete form. Currently whenever I copy the course, the groups are all lost, as well as the tying of groups to the appropriate assignments. Re-creating the groups and then re-tying them to assignments takes an incredible amount of time.



Comments from Instructure


The Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-06-27) indicate that importing a course with group assignments now brings the group assignment settings to the new course; however, upon testing the group structures within a group set do not come with it.  For this reason we will keep this feature idea open for voting.  We will continue testing and update this post as soon as we have more information.


Course Settings and Grading Schemes

Importing Course Settings from a Canvas course export package also imports the grading scheme.


Explanation: When a user imported selective course content from a Canvas export package, the grading scheme was not included in the import. Importing the entire course was not affected. This behavior occurred because Canvas was not verifying grading standard copies if it was part of selected content. Canvas code has been updated to import the course grading scheme when part of selected course content.

Added to Theme

Community Contributor

I sent the link in an email to  soberoi@instructure.com and got this reply 



I do recall our conversation in terms of the necessity to be able to copy group sets and group page content from past courses to new courses and the frustration around the current implementation. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you associated with this, however, I do ensure you that this has been discussed and I had actually provided that response to Funmi. 


I have discussed your wishlist the Product Manager over Blueprint Courses as well as the development teams, and the hope has been to include this initiative with future efforts around development associated with Blueprint Courses. It just has not been prioritized for the immediate future.


As you know, we have multiple development efforts going on across the organization that we have prioritized and our efforts are concentrated around those. We certainly do believe that this effort could be beneficial to a host of institutions globally, but unfortunately hasn't gained much traction. Looking at the archived feature request, it only had one vote associated with it. The other link that you sent me around our US base requiring the feature didn't work, could you please resend? 


We certainly want to work to meet the needs that you and your institution requires, it is just a matter of prioritization. A mechanism for escalating prioritization may be to work with your colleagues in the UK and escalate it to make it a featured request from the UK HE advisory group. Garnering additional support for this initiative from a larger number of institutions will help escalate the priority. 


I hope this helps provide greater insight into the situation. I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have regarding this matter. 

Community Novice

1 vote? This has 180 votes. Probably those who use groups are a subset of those who use Canvas, and there are less people voting on group issues, so that may be a relatively large number.

Not only do I have to recreate group settings every quarter, I have to go through each group assignment to make sure they reflect the proper group, as Canvas likes to change them. I look forward to the time this change will save me, not to mention the frustration.

Community Contributor


it was my idea that had one vote and got archived as canvas people felt it was too similar to this one and others  - we (UK HEI Canvas group) are creating a groups functionality wish list and i will add you feedback there

Community Participant

I would be very glad to have this functionality. Canvas's major drawback, from my experience, is the pure number of mouseclicks everything takes. The interface looks clean, but the user experience still feels very Web 2.0 in many respects. This is one issue that would save millions of mouseclicks per term!

Community Explorer

Hi Lucas. I'd love to see the script you wrote to do this. Would you be willing to share with me? My email is ujones@champlain.edu. Thank you!

Community Novice

Hi Ursula, of course I could share with you what we made. But it's not an script. Perhaps you could do it using a shellscript executing CURL commands.

But essencially, what we do when creating a production course (destination course), is call APIs in the following order (steps) to create an exact copy of a "master course":

1) List group categories for a context: To get all group categories created in the master course (you need master course id or sis_id)

2) Create a new course: To create the destination/production course (where students will be enrolled).

3) Create a group category: We call this API as many times as group categories exists in the master course. This information is provided by result set of step 1. (you need destination course ID or SIS_ID)

4) Create a content migration: We throw a content migration from master course to destination course. (you need both, master course and destination course ids. You may use SIS_IDs instead internal Canvas IDs)

And, that's it. It works perfectly for us.

Hope to help you.


Community Member

I read through the many posts with considerate and important ideas and urgency to have Copy Group Settings as a feature in Canvas. Is this still on the radar? Thank you. 

Community Novice

HOPEFULLY! It needs to be considered! 

Community Novice

Right now, Group Sets appear to be "creatures" of individual courses. (You can't see supposedly independent Groups from outside the course where they were created.) So there appears to be no reason why Groups and Group Sets are not integrated (including Pages, Assignments and all the rest) within the larger Course architecture, and copy over with all the other stuff.

Please let us CHOOSE the course(s) with which each Group Set is linked. Re-linking the Group Set to a new course would require re-assigning all the student names to the various groups in the Group set, but that is peanuts compared to 24 operations per PAGE that has to be copied over from one course to the other manually.

Either that, or embed all features of Group Sets within the course where they are created, including group-specific pages and assignments, so that it would all copy over automatically (even better).

Blackboard was FAR more efficient for this kind of customization of assignments; if Canvas refuses to address this issue after more than THREE YEARS of discussion and hundreds of votes for this change, I am going to begin lobbying my university HARD to go back to Blackboard. (I was a prime mover to switch to Canvas from Blackboard, and I'm seriously beginning to regret my apparent mistake.) The current approach is a ridiculous waste of time; I have research grants to write instead of copying pages and assignments back and forth by the the hundreds, involving thousands of operations.

Community Explorer

I just ran into this for the first time. After creating an elaborate set of groups, I was upset to find out that it did not carry over. I agree this would be excellent!