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Make Group Assignments Respect Sections

Make Group Assignments Respect Sections


Include an option in the People tool to create a group for each section.



It is very labor intensive to add a whole section of students to a group (some of our sections have 300+ students)


Use Cases:

Instructor needs to share select resources with a section

Instructor needs to have discussions available to specific section

Instructor needs to share Content Pages with a specific section

Instructor needs to conference with a specific section




Implementation Consideration:

  • The groups would need to stay synchronized as section membership is updated
  • Would need to account for the case where a section is added after the Groups were setup



NOTE: This is a more tightly scoped request based on the thinking from More section control for group creation

Community Team
Community Team


Rather than have sections duplicate as groups, would it make more sense to request the ability to release or assign content by section?  Your Use cases are already framed this way.

  • Instructor needs to share select resources with a section
  • Instructor needs to have discussions available to specific section
  • Instructor needs to share Content Pages with a specific section
  • Instructor needs to conference with a specific section
Surveyor It would indeed be useful to be able to release or assign content by section. In fact there are idea requests we have added or voted on that speak to that. But to the crux of my request, having a group site for a section is an immensely useful way to segment content in a more obvious and holistic way. We know this is useful because we have many faculty manually creating and maintaining groups for all their sections now; which requires a lot of time and effort they could probably spend more usefully elsewhere. We did create an API script that I can run to create groups for each section, but it is not scalable for me to do that for all of our courses.

And having done development on instructional applications for 25 years, I can fairly confidently say it would be much easier to leverage the existing groups functionality for sections members then to add the section awareness to each of the tools mentioned above individually. In other words, you gain a lot of functionality with a fairly minor change.

Thank you for your comments Renee. They are greatly appreciated.

Community Member

I'd suggest a slightly different approach.

By adding the ability to split students into X groups while ensuring that they remain in the same section, you could achieve two ends: 1) create groups that are not equal to sections but maintain section boundaries when automatically creating, and 2) the above feature request -- assuming the user enters the same number of sections as there are in the course.

Community Team
Community Team

This idea is now open for voting.

Learner II

This is so logical, I was surprised to find out groups are not actually formed automatically by section.


Great to see so much energy around this idea!

Our institution has the need for section boundaries for a subset of groups within a category, as well as the need from the archived   and the new .  I'd be happy to collaborate on the section boundaries idea further.

One of our typical faculty use cases for section boundaries is:

  • I teach three sections of the same course, one undergraduate and two graduate.
  • Groups in my course use self-signup must be all graduate students or all undergraduate students.
  • I use different size limits for the graduate and undergraduate groups.
  • I want my groups to be as full as possible, so I offer only exactly as many as needed.

To make this work, the designer tries to guide students to join one of the "right" groups by using a combination of group naming convention and the "Require group members to be in the same section" setting.  This doesn't always work.  The first student to join the "wrong" group will make that group unavailable for the "right" students to join.

Explorer III

I'd like to "third" to John Thompson's suggestion.  Our group submitted the request that refers to: " style="color: #2989c5; which, as Rob notes, would be taken care of by the approach suggested by John.  Extending Group functionality to sections seems to make so much sense, unless there are architectural barriers.  If so, that would be useful to know.

Explorer III

John, as I try to think this through, I think some rephrasing might be in order.  Suppose you have a course with 3 sections.  Do you tell Canvas to split students into three groups maintaining section boundaries?  Suppose you tell Canvas to split students into 4 groups, while maintaining section boundaries - what does it do with the extra students?  What I think would be clearer is to offer instructors the option to randomly assign students to X groups per section, maintaining section boundaries.  The X would be "1" to create a group for each section. Does this cover all of the uses you had in mind?

Community Member

Great suggestion,​ :smileycool:

By adding a blank for the number of groups per section, it would be possible to have either groups = sections or uneven assignment of groups as you described. It also is a lot easier to figure out to type 1 group per section, than to dig out the number of sections in the course.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Moodle actually did this pretty well. When an instructor goes to make a new announcement there was the option for all students in the course or and individual section.

Having to make a group when you already have a section just to send an announcement to a section seems convoluted to me.

Canvas- Make an announcement drop down or check box option to send to individual sections. Have the default setting be to the whole course.