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Add groups to differentiated assignments

Add groups to differentiated assignments

(1)
  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

 

  Idea will be open for vote May 5th, 2015 - August 5th, 2015  Learn more about voting...

 

It would be nice to have the ability to choose groups in the dropdown for differentiated assignments.  That way, you could have separate deadlines for group projects within the same assignment.  And even better, you could add a student to a group if she needs extended time turning in an assignment!

 

  Comments from Instructure

 

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas.

For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-03-12)

56 Comments
ajohnson
Community Contributor

Would love this! We have a class with students in two different programs which have slightly different requirements, so one set of assignments is for group A and those plus more for Group B. We haven't figured out a way to make this work yet, except to give ALL assignments to everyone and ignore the 0s for Group A (which has fewer assignments). I totally thought this was what differentiated assignments would let me do until I tried it.

place
Community Member

Hi, AnnMarie.

When I have folks who want to set up slightly different assignments for different groups, I create a couple of new course sections. Not ideal, but it does the job. Having the ability to do it by groups would be much easier to manage.

fontanap
Community Member

I had requested this feature on the old forum.  It would be a huge help in labs where different groups are completing the same assignment at different times, or in classes with group presentations happening on different days.

James_Kocher_UF
Community Champion

We do this now, and it has certain issues. First, being in multiple sections means students show up twice in the gradebook.  We've also found that if you remove a student from a created section, that student will get booted from any groups she may be in!

RobDitto
Community Champion

We have several courses in which a set of groups are divided into subsets -- e.g., "A Groups", "B Groups" and "C Groups". Teachers then differentiate certain assignments as done only by one subset.

cholling
Community Champion

good to know!

riggss
Community Member

My institution is not using sections; however, we do have "slash" courses where grad and undergrads are grouped together with slightly different learning outcomes and assignments. This feature would be very helpful in setting up these courses.

aw05022a
Community Member

We have a Banner integration at our institution and have to add additional sections to be able to set assignments to certain students.  With around 200 students in a course, this become a little time consuming to set up, but it works; however if the student drops the course, they remain on the manually created section which will cause red flags if the instructor is not paying attention!  This would be a HUGE add for us and one more work around we wouldn't have to do!

hvaughn
Community Contributor

I agree that this would be awesome.  We love differentiated assignments, especially with the newest update this weekend. It would be nice to be able to release an assessment to individual groups as well.

christine_mckeo
Community Participant

Absolutely LOVE the new differentiated assignments feature, but it seems a bit counterintuitive that the settings for group assignments v. individual/section-based assignments are located in different places. It'd be awesome if the old Group Assignment feature could be rolled into the new "Assign to:..." feature.

marek
Community Member

Yes, please implement this feature. I teach lab classes. Sometimes, I have four different modules occurring concurrently, so each group has a different assignment due date.

For example, let's say my students are broken down into four groups (Team-1 through Team-4). Team-1 and Team-2 have assignment A due on 6/8, but Team-3 and Team-4 have assignment A due on 6/15. Right now my only options are

A) figuring out which students are in which groups, and manually adding each student to the due date for each assignment (I might have 12+ assignments)

or

B) have our Canvas admin create special (fake) course sections for each of my groups, invite students into the correct course section at the beginning of the semester, and then just set each due date according to course section (which is what I do now, and very inefficient).

This latter method worked mildly well once I automated adding all the due dates with AutoHotKey (four class sections x six groups per section x 15 assignments is a lot of due dates to enter), but I still have to have someone send out the invites to these new fake sections to the correct students. If I try to batch add students to these new fake sections, it removes them from the original, real section.

jared
Instructure
Instructure

The Groups feature in Canvas is strong, but we could definitely enhance it by integrating it in more places. This is a great example.

The more integrated Groups is through the platform, the more visible -- and, I hope, enticing -- it will be to faculty.

pwalsh
Community Participant

Yes, please! I teach several inclusion classes, and I modify assignments for students with special learning needs such as reading difficulties or English language learning. It would be great to put the kids who get the same assignment for a learning target into a group where they can then be assigned the work that's appropriate for them. When I put in individual names I just know that I'll be forgetting people occasionally.

jsparks
Instructure
Instructure

Hello Friends,

This makes sense, and I understand the necessity of the functionality. I will work to include this on a near term roadmap discussion for possible future implementation. I do not have a timeline at this point, but will update as I can.

Kind regards,

Jason

bstafford
Community Member

Just want to add to this, adding the ability to assign to groups is a critical feature to this but in the meantime, the drop down menu only allows for seven names to appear and others must be typed in to view is a major shortcoming and should be addressed as well.  The ability to select students from a list would be a good stopgap before Groups get added to this feature.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @bstafford ​, per information provided by erinhallmark​, there is a reason the drop down displays a limited number of names. If it displayed everyone in the course it would really slow things down and potentially compromise the user experience. See below for her exact wording:

"...the differentiated assignments feature is designed for smaller segments (e.g. one or two specific sections, or a few individuals who need an extension). Therefore a significant amount of searching isn't entirely necessary. Additionally, displaying the entire section/user list is a significant pull on the Canvas database, especially for larger courses. There are actually two updates: the display addition helps people to know that they can search, and first-name search addition helps instructors/TAs who may not know a student by last name. Basically the team has tried to improve the feature as much as they can to make it more usable without compromising your experience from a performance standpoint." - https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-4170#comment-12936

bstafford
Community Member

I realize the reason for the compromises to the feature but this reduces its effectiveness.  If I have an assignment that I want to assign to a group of students and there is no ability to select a group then the next logical thing to do is to select the students from a list. 

amckale
Community Participant

Reading through this topic, I think I have a valid scenario that is not discussed yet.  We have several courses that are co-taught by 2 instructors.  The assignments (including due dates) are the same for all sections.  There does not appear to be a way to connect specific sections to a specific instructor so that notifications and dashboards of the instructor reflect only those sections.  Other teachers alternate grading duties on assignments.  There does not appear to be a way to connect a specific teacher to a particular assignment for grading purposes.  Am I missing something?

christine_mckeo
Community Participant

Hi amckale​! I don't have an answer for the notifications/dashboard issue, but I think I might have one suggestion for the grading scenario. I'm not sure if this completely solves what you're looking to do, but if you have Teachers enrolled in the appropriate sections and then assign assignments to sections using the new differentiated assignments feature, the Teachers can then filter their grade book by section to see only the students they're responsible for grading. If teachers are also alternating grading duties, they can be enrolled in multiple sections as appropriate. I don't think there's a way to explicitly tie an instructor to an *assignment,* but this might be a good work around.

amckale
Community Participant

Yes, the filtering by sections in Speed Grader and in the Gradebook works well.  We also use Pearson's Powerschool and the grade transfers are working well with multiple sections and grades going to the right place.  One thing that would help more is if the notifications could contain the section information (or better yet) be customizable with access to some information.)

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