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Automatically assign groups within sections of a course!

Automatically assign groups within sections of a course!

  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


I use groups in my classroom a lot, and I love the ability to make groups automatically. However, this feature on Canvas is 100% useless if I can’t divide groups up within sections. Right now, if I have Canvas auto generate groups, it mixes the students up within my entire course. That means students in 1st period are paired with students in 8th period. Obviously that won’t work. It seems like such an easy solution. If I have the students sign themselves up, I can check a box that makes them stay within their section. Why can’t I do that when I generate groups myself? This would be so helpful for many teachers!



  Comments from Instructure


For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-12-10)

Community Team
Community Team, similar ideas-- and , to name a few--have been presented to the Community for consideration in past voting cycles, but did not meet the vote threshold to move to the next stage.

I also found this one--. After reading this idea, would you say that it essentially captures what you've requested? It received more than enough votes to move forward, and I'm going to see if I can get an update on it for you.

Community Team
Community Team

OK,​, I got confirmation that the January 2016 comment from the product team on ​ is current, and that it's somewhat different in flavor from your new idea, which asks to keep the members of a group within a specific section but not to create entire groups that mirror section membership. So I would expect your idea to be advanced for community consideration in the next voting cycle--and by all means, post links to promote your newly-submitted idea so that this time it hurdles over the 100-vote threshold!

Community Team
Community Team

Thank you for submitting this feature idea.  It will open for vote on July 6th along with the next cohort. 


Here are two previous ideas which discuss related facets of the needed functionality:

All told, there have been more than 75 previous voters for related ideas.  I've linked to this page from the comments of these others, as well as the two stefaniesanders identified above.

Community Coach
Community Coach

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. July 6, 2016 - Wed. October 5, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works! Smiley Wink

Community Member


I agree, and I've upvoted the idea.  If you're looking for a workaround in the meantime, I use Team Maker - Chirag Mehta :  to randomly assign the teams within sections and then manually build the groups within the LMS.  Looking forward to the possibility of a more integrated and streamlined process.


Adventurer  It's interesting that when students can self sign-up, we can force them to be in the same section - see How do I automatically create groups in a group set? .  That functionality ought to be in the auto-created groups too.  Clearly the need for separating students by section is recognized by the programmers, but guess they thought it was ok for instructors to have to do the work of manually creating groups by section.  It can be a lot of work!  Seems like it would be so easy to have this task automated.

There have been so many ideas about this same feature, but they never reached 100.  Don't lots of instructors need groups assigned by section?  Do not that many people use groups, or cross-listed courses?  We need to publicize this and get the votes in.

Navigator wrote:

It's interesting that when students can self sign-up, we can force them to be in the same section - see How do I automatically create groups in a group set? That functionality ought to be in the auto-created groups too.

I totally agree. I needed that feature 20 minutes ago!

Rest assured the business schools using Canvas are watching threads about groups; we'll keep voting for this idea and for any resubmissions of ideas like the ones linked above.


Thank you​! 

Also seems like this could be used to easily create a group with everyone in the section.  Very flexible.

Community Member

Ideally teachers will have options that include making teacher-created groups within sections. Making teacher-created groups will be less time-consuming if you can select names from a section rather than all of the students in a cross listed course. I work with K-12 teachers, and this would be easiest for that audience. Hope to see this change!