Considerations for Group Creation and Organization in Commons

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

When creating/managing Groups in Commons consider the following suggestions and examples for group creation and management in Commons.




Groups are a way for administrators to manage users and permissions, making it easier to organize an organization’s resources in Commons. So, how you create and manage Groups may require a few important considerations:


Decide if the group naming conventions need to mirror sub-accounts.


Initially, all Groups created in Commons will mirror sub-account naming convention. For example, if you have a sub-group for College of Arts and Sciences, then a group of the same name will exist (assuming there were resources already shared to that sub-account --- if not, then there will not be an existing group of the same name). If you prefer to modify this naming convention, think about when might be a good time to make that change. Perhaps you might want to call it "Art and Science Resources". Keep in mind that users used to sharing to sub-account "College of Arts and Sciences" might need a heads up that the group name is changing.


Determine the regularity in which new groups are created.


Post 6/12/2016, there may be sub-accounts which had zero resources hence why no group was created. Or, an institution may not have turned on Commons and therefore, no groups are listed. New groups will have to be created. Will someone be adding as they go? Will there be a protocol for group creation? What if a group of teachers want to create a group for math resources for their 4th graders? Remember admins are the only ones who can create and/or delete Groups from Commons.


Determine the admin who will manage requests for new groups and/or membership.


Back when you could share to sub-accounts, teachers, course designers and TAs could automatically share to it if they were enrolled in a course within that sub-account. Since groups are tied to users (not courses in sub-accounts), every quarter, semester or year, new teachers, course designers and TAs must be added to the appropriate group(s). Who will manage this?

NOTE: There will eventually be an API to bulk manage group enrollment.

Set training dates for faculty and/or staff.


Leverage this for opportunities to deliver additional trainings around Commons. While Groups doesn’t really change the core functionality of sharing to Commons, membership may change how user share to different or multiple groups and where they go to import resources.


Examples of Groups

What are the best ways to structure Groups in Commons? Well, the best way to organize your users and resources can only be determined by your organization, but here are some possible applications:


Mirror Sub-Account Naming Convention


This is most likely to be the default for most organizations who have used Commons and have seen success in sub-account sharing.


Organize By Topic or Subject


This is a great way to organize resources around a topic or subject. For instance, you can have STEM groups or an Art Education group, where subject matter experts and course designers and teachers can all import and share with a specific subject or topic in mind, regardless of grade, department or college.


Organize by Grade-Level


What if you had your 2nd grade teachers in a group? Perhaps they could share content assets that relate to their classrooms and curriculum.


What other ways can you group users? If you have suggestions or have set up groups differently at your school, share your ideas and feedback below!


Smiley Happy

Community Participant

Hi Biray,

Thank you for your informative piece on Group Creation in Commons.

Has there been any further development of the API to bulk manage group enrollment? This would be a great time saver to just individually adding users - unless there is another way...



Community Explorer

Wondering if there was any updates on bulk enrollment into a Commons group?