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Copy Group Settings

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.

Community Champion

Deactivated user​ - I just encountered a similar workflow issue this past semester. I agree - I would find it remarkably helpful in certain circumstances to copy/import Group-related settings.

Community Participant

I absolutely agree!

Community Participant

Agreed - the Groups tool becomes a bigger liability the more you use it, since every setting associated with the groups must be recreated by hand after a course copy.  Group settings must be able to copy with a course.

Community Contributor

The inability to copy group settings when copying courses has been a significant disincentive for our faculty to use group functionality so this would be a great enhancement.

Community Participant

Good to hear others are having the same issue.  Group activity is very important for courses since it is a core ability at our College. Thanks for bringing this up and to have this issue fixed soon.

Community Participant

The use of Groups is very important in many courses that teach large numbers of students.

Having Group Settings copy forward with a course import would help all those instructors who go to a lot of effort to set up and use groups.

Community Participant

For scalability, we really need to see groups copy over.

Community Participant

I would like a set of groups, which I can choose from each term. In my class, each group gets a different research project, which I like to vary from term to term. Sometimes I repeat them, and it would be helpful to go grab that group.

Community Participant

This would be very beneficial!

We have some courses that require group work. It's ideal to have the templates with Group Sets that copy over. Also, to have the assignment with a group submission setting enabled copy over.

Currently, Group Sets in a template do not copy over, instead another Group Set (with a different name) is create. It is unknown if the Group Set will work.

The assignment that was set as a group assignment kept the setting through a course copy, however it did not keep the link to the Group Set (since the group set did not copy over).

Since the settings were not working when courses were copied, Instructors must set up their Group Set and Groups as part of their pre-term setup. Since the assignments do not have the group assignment enabled, students are instructed to have one students in their group submit the assignment. This requires Instructors to grade one submission and then enter grades in the other student's cell of the gradebook. The other students do not see anything from mark-up tools or comments if Instructors wanted to use those features.


Thanks for sharing these ideas!! It aligns with other requests for keeping maintaining course settings on export and import. Both efforts would certainly save you time and effort during your transition each term or school year.

Help me solidify the list of requests so I can take this to engineers for further discussion:

As an instructor...

1) when I export my course I have the option to select the group sets and groups I want carried over into my new course shell (without enrollments),

2) when I export my course and include group assignments, any groups associated with the assignments are copied over with the same name.

--exported groups maintain their links with group assignments,

--exported groups maintain their group settings (i.e. limit to number of group members)

Please feel free to comment and add to this list if I forgot anything.


Community Participant

We would love the group info to copy over.  We have a january term class with 7 separate courses that all use the same structure and we usually copy one course site to the rest. We have to re-create the group structure in each with Canvas and this is quite a lot of work!

Community Champion

Deactivated user​, belated thanks for this list; I just now noticed it.  I really like everything in the list, and I hope that instructors can also select and copy the same sets/groups/assignment associations using "Copy a Canvas Course" in the Import Tool (in addition to export packages, which I assume is what is covered by "when I export"/"exported groups", etc.). 


Just a quick update that any improvements to groups or course import/export behavior will likely be postposed for at least six months while we focus on other product initiatives. Please continue to post your ideas around this but we'll need to archive the idea for now.

Community Participant

We have many courses where we use groups and tie them to assignments. When we copy a course from term to term the group sets do not copy over, so we need to go in and create new group sets. Unfortunately when this happens all of the connections to the assignments are also broken, so it takes that much longer to make sure there are no gaps. Similar to what has already been mentioned. And, when the same instructor does not teach the course from semester to semester this can become troublesome. I have voted on this feature previously, but just wanted to comment on this as well, since I am in the middle of dealing with this now. As we continue to transition our large portfolio of courses, this is going to become more problematic as this process is not sustainable.

I can totally understand regarding the need to focus on higher priority items, and appreciate the assistance with this. Although, I truly hope that this feature will be reconsidered as soon as time permits.

Community Champion

Definitely interested in this feature! Any updates on when this might come up in the queue?

Community Contributor

We need this as well, need to be able to copy group sets forward with the rest of the course materials & content. Please provide this!

Community Participant

@Allison Weiss

As we continue transitioning our courses into Canvas, this is becoming more challenging for us to manually update from semester to semester. Any word on when this may be looked at again? Any information you can provide on this would be most appreciated. -- Thank you.

Community Participant

I'm always so sad when my searches reveal a needed feature not Canvas that has received the needed votes...only to realize its archived (indefinitely?...) ...time to start re-doing work I didn't know was futile when done in my development shells Smiley Sad

Community Member

I, and many of my colleagues, (see  recently archived thread here: would also find this feature very helpful.  I am hopeful that it will be implemented in the future. 

Community Participant

It would be very useful the export package includes the groups sets. Ours universities have a content production area that creates what we called "master courses". These master courses have an instructional design applied that needs to work with group activities, such as assignments or forums.

Besides, we are working with a workaround, suggested by Instructure, to isolate sections, because we need that forums posts be just in section environment and not visible to the whole course. This workaround implies the creation of a group for every section that is created, generating a logical association between them, and creating a membership for each student every time the student is enrolled in the associated section. So, we need in every course, at least one group set. Because groups sets are not exported, content production areas cannot configurate groups activities in the master course. They have to configure the group feature in production course, for every course, in every academic period (term), despite of the master course content has not changed!!

So, we hope, this feature be included as soon as possible in order to avoid heavy manual work.