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Randomly Filled Groups of Equal Number Limited to Students in the Same Section

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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.

Randomly Filled Groups of Equal Number Limited to Students in the Same Section

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


  Idea open for vote Wed. February 3, 2016 - Wed. May 4, 2016  Learn more about voting...


I would be great if one could use Canvas to generate randomly filled groups of equal number and at the same time limit to group membership to students in the same section. Current options are shown below. It would be useful to Require grou members to be in the same section EVEN IF self sign-up was not allowed but the Group Structure - split students into equal groups was selected.



  Comments from Instructure


For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-01-28) 



Thank you for your Feature Idea submission. We wanted to call your attention to   which was submitted in a different voting period, but archived due to lack of votes or inadequate response. You may want to reference this idea for any insight.

Your idea will be open for vote in the next voting cycle.

In the meantime, help your idea gain traction by posting a link to this idea in the comments of the other, archived idea (which will notify author and anyone who is following the idea) and share your idea to colleagues and peers who you think would be supporters, as well.

You may also be interest in " modifiedtitle="true" title="Create Groups Based on Sections.

Community Member

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. February 3, 2016 - Wed. May 4, 2016.

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


Agreed. I end up using self-sign up instead when I would really like it to be random. Yes, I could use the manual creation and do it myself, but isn't the whole point to leverage technology to make these mundane tasks easier?

Community Member

I also need this (or the previous voted entry that accomplishes the same thing)as well.  Forming random groups seems to me to be a very fair way to mix students of different skill levels without allowing them to seek their own levels which often proves disadvantageous for those newer to a topic.  It is imperative that i can do so by section as I teach classes that have both undergraduate and graduate students together in the same class.  The sections are already present, students categorized, just need this functionality.

Community Member

This would be really useful.  Right now, we are wanting to have some way of automatically creating a "Merged" group with groups under it for each section.  This would assist in that process. 

Community Member

Yes we totally need this for the same reason FERPA. We are using "merged" sections and FERPA says you can't know what class or section any other student is taking if you are not registered and in the class with them so we make faculty hide the People and the Discussion button. But we want groups and the students have to be from the same section to be in a group. If they self-select the group we can keep them in the same section because of the check-box. BUT we can't let the students self-select what group they want to be in because they don't see groups if they don't see People. I haven't come up with a good work-around yet but would love for the check-box that keeps students in the same section in self-sign up groups to be available in manual created as well as randomly created groups.



182599_pastedImage_6.pngWe appreciate you, and the submission of your idea. Your dialogue helps our product teams prioritize feature development. Unfortunately, this idea has been archived because it did not meet the 100-vote threshold within the 3-month voting period. Learn more at: How does the voting process work for feature ideas?

Can archived ideas still become a feature?  Potentially, yes. Archived ideas can be resubmitted by Community members. As people’s needs change, previously submitted ideas may gain additional traction. Feature ideas are evaluated as a whole and influence product direction.

Learner II
  Idea is currently in development
Community Member

This idea, and the associated one called "More group control..." are so vital in courses utilizing Project Based Learning (PBL), where each unit is a new project and each new project (nearly always) requires arranging students into new groups... new groups, each restricted to students within the same section, are being organized every 3-4 weeks, sometimes more frequently. The current means of doing that is not just time-consuming, but when you have hundreds of students in a course, it is not even possible. PBL is a rapidly-growing instructional strategy, and Canvas is on the threshold of being the most robust platform for PBL, but right now, Canvas makes it literally faster for the instructor's assessment to be done on paper by hand and then later entered in laboriously, one student and one learning outcome at a time. We are having to jump platforms, which is messy, just to accommodate PBL groups and group assignments... something that is tantalizing close to being a real function in Canvas!