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Getting Discussion Notifications in a Student Group as an Instructor

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I was just informed by a staff member that she called Canvas and was told that it's not possible to get notifications sent to you when there is a post to a discussion within a student group.  She is an instructor in one of our Student Resource Center courses and had posted a discussion forum in one of 6 student groups (we have them broken down by division: Education, IT, etc.) in relation to Job Postings as she works for the Career Services Center.  Is this something that isn't possible to get notifications for?  We would set her up as a student within the course so she could "receive notifications" when there is activity in this forum, but we'd like her to be in all 6 student groups, and being a student in all 6 isn't possible.  Can anyone think of a workaround if this isn't possible?  Should I make a feature request or is this not something that is common for others?

Thanks for your help!

-Emily

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Community Coach
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franke@fau.edu​, I did a quick search and found the following feature idea that's opening next week for voting - . Based on this information, I would say no, it's not possible to have an Instructor get notifications from group discussions. Yet, I also found this archived feature idea - - that might end up helping. Under this feature idea dittor@wharton.upenn.edu​ suggested the following work around that might work for your situation. See below -

"There is one type of Group Set in a course which does allow students to be a member of more than one group. It's called Student Groups. However, a Student Groups set can't be created in the same way as Group Sets used for grading.

Instead, you establish a Student Groups set by using a course setting: "Let students organize their own groups".

How do I change additional options for students in my course?  (see #5 in this lesson). With that in place, students can join or be assigned to more than one group in the Student Groups set.  This is also the only type of group set to which instructors can be assigned.  You'll see a special legend above the teacher view of groups in the set: These groups are self-organized by students. Unlike other types of groups, students can belong to more than one of these groups at a time, so these groups cannot be used for graded assignments."

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Community Coach
Community Coach

franke@fau.edu​, I did a quick search and found the following feature idea that's opening next week for voting - . Based on this information, I would say no, it's not possible to have an Instructor get notifications from group discussions. Yet, I also found this archived feature idea - - that might end up helping. Under this feature idea dittor@wharton.upenn.edu​ suggested the following work around that might work for your situation. See below -

"There is one type of Group Set in a course which does allow students to be a member of more than one group. It's called Student Groups. However, a Student Groups set can't be created in the same way as Group Sets used for grading.

Instead, you establish a Student Groups set by using a course setting: "Let students organize their own groups".

How do I change additional options for students in my course?  (see #5 in this lesson). With that in place, students can join or be assigned to more than one group in the Student Groups set.  This is also the only type of group set to which instructors can be assigned.  You'll see a special legend above the teacher view of groups in the set: These groups are self-organized by students. Unlike other types of groups, students can belong to more than one of these groups at a time, so these groups cannot be used for graded assignments."

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Thanks kona@richland.edu this is definitely helpful and I appreciate your links to workarounds!

I did attempt to try dittor@wharton.upenn.edu​'s workaround in creating a group set where "students organize their own group" however I was not able to add the instructor to the groups, unless maybe that is automatic.

2016-01-29_1511.png

The instructor was not listed as someone that needed to be assigned to the groups so I was not given the option.  I'll investigate this option further.

I'll also plan to put in my vote for the Allow Students to be enrolled in more than one group within a group set feature request when it's available for voting!

Thanks again.

-Emily

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Community Coach
Community Coach

I've never tried this so I'm not sure exactly how it works! Hopefully you can get it figured out and then share with us how to set it up so it works!

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The Student Groups set can't be created in the usual way.  It's established only as a result of checking the Course Details tab option entitled Let students organize their own groups, and then choosing to Update Course Details.  Once it's there, it's the one group set which allows:

  • Teachers and TAs as members
  • Students to be members of as many groups as wanted
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Hi dittor@wharton.upenn.edu​ thank you for this explanation.  However, I still am unable to create a group set where TA's or Teachers can be added.  I already had the course settings enabled to "Let Students Organize Their Own Groups" and then I created a new group set which allows "self-sign up." but still was unable to have any TA"s or Instructor listed to be able to add to the group.  2016-02-02_1331.png

Could you let me know if I"m missing a step?

Thanks in advance for your help!

-Emily

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Ah, thanks for asking - I had forgotten important prerequisites to this admittedly odd procedure, which has changed quite a bit since we last used it in real courses.

1) To establish the Student Groups set/tab, a student in the course with "Let Students Organize Their Own Groups" checked will need to create one group this way:

How do I create a group as a student?

2) The teacher then needs to make a student the leader of a group:

How do I assign a student leader to a Group?

3) At this point, the student can then add teaching team members to the group:

How do I manage groups as a student group leader?

Also, some bad news: I can no longer find the functionality which allowed non-students to be assigned to student-created groups by the instructor.  It's possible Canvas no longer has this; it was definitely possible at one time, prior to the New Student Groups Page UI introduction (what we think of today as "teacher view of groups").

I'm worried that the still-available workflow (through leaders) is really a bug...