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How do I view content and student activity within a group as an instructor?

How do I view content and student activity within a group as an instructor?

As an instructor, you can view what is happening in groups by viewing each user group. You can view student activity within the group and view group-created content. You can also access student groups to create group collaborations and add other group-specific content if necessary.

Open People

Open People

In Course Navigation, click the People link.

Open Group Set

Click the name of the group set.

Visit Group Home Page

Next to the group name, click the Options menu [1]. Then click the Visit Group Homepage link [2].

View Group Home Page

As the instructor, you can view all of the student activity within the group by clicking any link in the Group Navigation Menu [1]. You can also participate in any content area in the group, such as creating a collaboration for the group or viewing a group discussion. However, you can still create collaborations and group discussions from the course. Group members can also create their own content for the group.

When viewing a student group, you can easily switch and view all groups within a group set by clicking the Switch Group link [2]. Also, instructors and student group leaders can view the Edit Group link [3], which allows quick access to edit the name of the group.

To return to the course home page, view the breadcrumbs link and click the name of the course [4].


Does the "People" link have to be enabled for students to access groups they are assigned to? If not, how do students access their groups?


No, you can disable the People link in navigation and students can still access all of their course groups from the Groups link in global navigation (the menu on the left side of the screen when using the desktop version). Let us know if you have any other questions.


- Nathan

@CanvasDocTeam Is there a difference whether I make 10 collaborations for 10 groups (of 4 each) from the course or go into each of the 10 groups and make a collaboration? I need to make a Word Doc collaboration with a Case-study (with a rubric on it) and assign it to each group. What is the most effective way? They need to collaborate and submit it as a group.


Hi @rdutta,

Great question. Just to clarify, it sounds like you're hoping to create a group assignment using Microsoft Office Word which will include an attached rubric and maybe some other information, that students can add to and submit as a group, is that correct? If so, it sounds like what you're looking for is a combination of a group assignment  and a cloud assignment . Cloud assignments allow instructors to share an O365 or Google document with information with students, that they can then fill out and submit. At this time, though, it's not possible to create a group cloud assignment. So as a work around, you could create a group assignment with a rubric and assignment details and either you or your students could create group collaborations, which students can submit as a group to the group assignment using the collaboration's URL. I hope that all made sense.

To answer your questions about where to make collaborations, I did some testing in a demo course and group. Collaborations added within the course's Collaborations page that are assigned to a group only display for students within the course's Collaborations page. To have a collaboration display within the group's Collaborations page, it needs to be created within the group (either by you or by your students). So you can create a collaboration in either space, but your students may need to look in different places depending on where it's added. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out!


@CanvasDocTeam Thank you for your response, Naomi. I have created a group assignment and what they need to answer in the document. These are questions based on a Case-Study, and a small peer evaluation form that they would write about how the group collaboration process went. 

I need to be clear on a couple of points: 

1. Either they or I could go within the group and create that Document on which they would collaborate (Word from Office365) and copy and paste those questions and the form, from Canvas on that collaborative document. Is that accurate?

2. I would give each of these collaboration-documents a different name. I have 10 groups of 4, so I am going into each of the 10 groups and making a document each - CS1-Grp1, CS1-Grp2, ...CS1-Grp10. Is that accurate?

3. Whose OneDrive would these documents be housed? Mine? (if I make them?) or the person who makes them from the group if I leave it up to them to make? I would rather do it so they are on mine, and I can see who is collaborating what if I can turn on Tracking within Word.

4. Or would the document be housed on all students' OneDrives?

5. When it comes to submitting as a group assignment, how would they submit it? Anyone could submit it? If I was the person who made the collaborations for them (as I said I would prefer that), are they submitting the documents house on my OneDrive to Canvas?

6. You said, "students can submit as a group to the group assignment using the collaboration's URL." How is that submitted within Canvas? I have never seen that before, so if you could elaborate on that I would appreciate it.

Thank you so much for testing out the difference between making the collaborations from within groups from within the course. I follow that if I made it within their groups, they would see it within their group collaboration tab, but if I made it in the course, where would students be seeing this collaboration?

Thanks a LOT for clarifying this. I have been a Canvas user for a bit, but this is new territory for me.



Hi @rdutta,

1. For you or students to create an Office 365 collaboration, you'll need to make sure a few things are set up first. You'll need the 1) Office 365 LTI enabled for your course, 2) your students will need their own Office 365 accounts they can use to access the collaboration, and 3) if you want students to create collaborations, you'll want to make sure the "Student Collaborations - Create" permission is enabled for students (students have permission by default, but it's possible that your school could disable it). If those things are set up, then yes; you or your students could create a collaboration document. 

2. Yep!

3. According to How do I view Collaborations as a student?, "When collaborations are created in a group, only group members and users with instructor-based roles (including TAs) can be selected as collaborators. However, your instructor can always view your collaboration...Once you invite a user to a collaboration, the collaboration is available to the user in the user's Microsoft OneDrive."

4. Anyone who's listed as a collaborator can see it on their OneDrive. If you created the document, it'd display in your OneDrive as well. However, I'm not totally sure what it would look like if a student created the collaboration in one of your course groups - if it would show up in your OneDrive directly or if you'd have to open it through Canvas Collaborations. 

5. If you created a group assignment, any student from each group could add a submission on behalf of their group.

6. See #5. To see the steps your students would need to take to add an Office 365 URL, check out the How do I create a hyperlink from Microsoft Office 365 in the Rich Content Editor as a student? guide. Alternatively, they could also upload it as a file. For more info, see How do I upload a file from Microsoft Office 365 as an assignment submission?

7. Happy to hear that helped! If you made the collaborations in the course, students would access those by opening the course (rather than groups) and clicking the Collaborations link in Course Navigation. 


@CanvasDocTeam Thank you so very much, Naomi. That was most helpful. I could hug you (virtually of course, for that. I have realized that there is a problem with my account where it keeps giving me an error "An unexpected error has occurred." I am still trying to get it fixed. Until then, the only way around it for me is to create multiple copies of the assignment on my OneDrive and give the students the link to the collaborative document using announcements within each group. I hope that will work.

I have seen many people get this reported error and I wish that Canvas would make it so it is easy for groups to collaborate on the cloud document. Most of the academics work collaboratively in higher education. The sooner K-12 students learn to do that, the better. I love Mark Boothe and the rest of the team working hard to keep the nation afloat. Kudos to you all. Keep on marching forward fellow minions.. that is the call of our times.

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