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Community Member

What is the purpose of groups?

I wanted to use groups to set up undergraduate and graduate groups for certain assignments, since my course is combined. I wanted to have the ability to grade individually. The problem is that when one student uploads their assignment, it propagates everyone's portal. The next person uploads their assignment and it overwrites everyone's assignments.

I also wanted to use this feature for design critiques, as I did when I used Blackboard. It does not work in the same way. Each member's project overwrites the previous one. 

I have had to go back to using discussion boards for critiques. Very discouraging.

2 Replies

Have you looked at using the differentiated assignments option?

How do I assign an assignment to a course section?

If your course contains sections, you can choose which section has access to which assignments.  This is also true for individual students.

How do I assign an assignment to an individual student?


Community Member

Hi Welcome to the Canvas Community. You absolutely will be able to do what you want to do, but it's just a question of understanding the new (for you) Canvas vocabulary! Smiley Happy  What you want is not groups, but rather sections.  And, in fact, the way you describe your class you may already have exactly what you want since you mention that your course is "combined."

First, do this:  head to Settings on the side menu, and then click the Sections tab at the top.  Do you see two separate items listed that correspond to the course numbers of your undergrad/graduate classes?  If so, then you are ready to go.  (It will look a bit like the screen captures shown on the next link, below.)

If not, you can divide your class into sections according to your undergrad/grad enrollments. There are instructions here: How do I add a section to a course as an instructor? However, not all campuses allow this, so you may need to get assistance from your local Canvas support.

Once your class has the sections by undergrad/grad enrollments, you can then create unique assignments with their own due dates applied just to that section alone by checking this online lesson: How do I assign an assignment to a course section?    There are similar instructions for separate sectioned Discussions and online quizzes.

To answer the question posed in your subject line, groups in Canvas are for the very thing that you are seeing happen:  they are for group assignments (among other things) and, indeed, the first person to submit an assignment does so on behalf of the entire group.  But it also creates a group "space" within Canvas where the group members can share files, discussions, etc.  If you are at all interested in the general purpose of groups in case you find a use for them later, you may want to check this video overview:  .

I hope this helps a bit, La Verne!  And believe me, this is a common occurrence with many Canvas users who have combined courses.  The groups/sections question has been asked many times in this Community.