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More section control for group creation

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In the Canvas Community Ideas space, you can share, converse, and rate idea conversations related to software improvements to Canvas products.

More section control for group creation

  Idea is currently in development


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


When creating groups with the option to "Split Students into X Groups" that should also have an option to restrict to same section.


Also, when viewing the groups and who is not in a group. There should be a filter by section option.

Learner II

Voted! Since splitting students into groups is a form of random assignment, I believe this is similar to the old community's Option to Create Randomly-Assigned, Within-Section Groups.  That old feature discussion was of interest to mg2695,, Deactivated user, hallmans and others.

Our institution has some specific needs which seem to fit into this idea, but I wonder whether they actually need separate feature ideas. 

  • Does this feature idea apply to self-signup?  We'd like filtering by section to apply to students signing up for groups in a course.  Teachers here would like to enforce that, say,  Groups 1-10 are for students in Section 1 only, and Groups 11-20 are for students in Section 2 only.
  • Might this feature idea apply to combining subsets of sections for filtering/splitting?  Sometimes we need subsets of groups in a set/category/tab to apply to some, but not all, sections -- e.g., Groups 1-20 are for students in Sections 1 and 2, but Groups 21-30 are for Section 3 students only.  This use case is needed both for random assignment and self-signup.
Community Member

Another useful option with group assignment would be to create some groups manually, and then randomly assign the remaining students.

I find that I usually have a mix - some students want to form their own groups and others don't care.  So I end up creating all of the groups manually.  First I create the groups that have organized themselves and then use an external tool to randomize the remaining students.

Learner II

In your use case, would the random assignment at the end of group formation need to be within sections?

Community Member

No - I don't make use of sections so all group assignments are from all students in the course.

Learner II

Good to know, thanks. In keeping with the How to write a good feature idea submission guidelines, randomly assigning "laggards" who don't self-signup may need its own feature idea.

Community Member

This may be implicit in your idea, but it is very useful to be able have a groups that includes all students in a section. We actually created an API script to do this in our instance of Canvas.


If it isn't implicit, I would vote for the ability to add individuals to a group based on sections. We use Canvas for a number of student community sites with a number of sections and currently have to manually add and remove students from the groups that are created for each section. It would be awesome if I could create the group set and have an option that says: "Automatically create a  group for each section" and have it create a group for each section and enroll all of the students in their individual sections.

John, would you be willing to share your API script? I would be very interested in taking a look.

Community Member

To  Create Groups Based on Sections

#!/usr/bin/perl -w

use strict;

my $serverName  = "";


# Create 63 groups "Section 007" .. "Section 069" in group category id #70


my $groupPrefix   = "Section ";

my $firstGroupNum = 7;

my $lastGroupNum  = 69;

my $groupCatId = 70;

my $token = "user-generate-token";

my $curlTemplate = "curl  -H 'Authorization: Bearer $token' $serverName/api/v1/group_categories/$groupCatId/groups -F 'is_public=false' -F 'join_level=invitation_only' -F 'name=$groupPrefix%03d' -F 'description=Section %03d'";

for ( my $i=$firstGroupNum; $i<=$lastGroupNum; $i++ )


    my $curlString = sprintf($curlTemplate,$i, $i);



To add Users to Groups

my $baseGroupId = 109;

my $serverName    = "";

my $token = "user-generate-token";

my $curlTemplate ="curl -H 'Authorization: Bearer $token' $serverName/api/v1/groups/%d/invite -F 'invitees[]=%s'";

my $filename =  $ARGV[0];

# Read file

open FILE, $filename or die "$!";

my @lines = <FILE>;

close FILE;

# Read in CSV file (group,user) and add users to each group

# This assumes groups were created sequentially

foreach (@lines)



    my @userGroup = split /,/;

    my $curlString = sprintf($curlTemplate,$baseGroupId+$userGroup[1],$userGroup[0]);



# Developed by Beth Kirschner


Thanks John! I will tinker with the script and see if I can get it to work!

Community Member


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