FAQ: Migration from Sharing Content from Sub-Accounts to Groups in Commons

The content in this blog is over six months old, and the comments are closed. For the most recent product updates and discussions, you're encouraged to explore newer posts from Instructure's Product Managers.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

The following FAQ document will be helpful in answering some of your questions related to 'Groups' feature in Commons.



What are Groups in Commons?


Groups are a way for administrators to manage users and permissions, making it easier to organize an institution’s resources in Commons. Groups, essentially, replace sub-account sharing in Commons. It allows users greater flexibility to share across grade levels and departments and colleges within their own institution.


Click How do I manage Groups in Commons?  for more details.

NOTE: Check out the Commons Release Notes (2016-06-12) for more details.

For sharing between schools or within a consortium outside of your institution, see How do I manage Consortiums in Commons?


What is happening to sub-accounts in Canvas?


Nothing. Sub-accounts in Canvas will continue to exist and their functionality will not change. Sharing resources in Commons will no longer be tied to sub-accounts structure, that’s all. Previously, a teacher enrolled in a course in Sub-Account X wouldn't be able to share a resource to those in Sub-Account Y unless the teacher was ALSO enrolled in a course in Sub-Account Y. Groups eliminate this limitation because group membership is not tied to sub-account enrollment.


What happens to resources originally shared to sub-accounts?


Post-migration, resources shared to a sub-account move to a group with the same name (i.e. resources shared to ‘math department’ sub-account will now be in the group called ‘math department’). Resources shared to 10 or more sub-accounts become institutional-wide (account-level) resources.


Sub-accounts without shared resources do not have an associated group. So, if there were no resources shared to the 'science department' sub-account, a 'science department' group would have to be created and membership would have to be added, manually.


Who has access to resources in these newly-formed Groups?


Here's how membership in these new groups will work:

  • Anyone who has access to a sub-account’s resources, such as, admins, teachers, course designers, or TAs (including custom roles that have these shared settings), will automatically be members of the corresponding Commons group, provided those users access Commons between 6/12/2016 and 9/15/2016.
  • Any new users added to a sub-account with an existing corresponding Commons group will also be members, provided they access Commons between 6/12/2016 and 9/15/2016.


What does the Group Manager’s role entail?

With Groups come the new role of Group Managers. Group Managers have the ability to add or remove group members, designate other Group Managers, and edit or delete resources shared to the group.

  • Any sub-account admin will automatically be a Group Manager of the corresponding Commons group, provided they access Commons between 6/12/2016 and 9/15/2016.


What does "provided users access Commons between 6/12/2016 and 9/15/2016" really mean?


After 6/12/2016, Admins who see a list of groups in Commons may not see a list of members automatically. Memberships to groups will sync-upon-access over the next 3 months. Meaning, once a user accesses Commons, the connection between group membership and sub-account enrollment will be automatic and the user will be able to import/share resources to the group, as usual. Adding users to sub-account during this period will also (technically) add users to the group (assuming those users also access Commons after they've been added) - but we want to encourage all group management be through the Commons interface. However, this sync-upon-access function will only be available through September 15, 2016. After this point, sub-accounts and groups will not be synced. Group Managers will have to add users manually through the Commons group interface (not via sub-account enrollment). Of course, group managers can always add users manually at any time after 6/12/2016, but this temporary sync-upon-access will help minimize membership management for a few months.


Is there a better way to manage groups than to do it all manually?


We are working on an API to bulk manage group enrollment.


How faculty/staff prepare for this change?


There are a few ways to message this change to help minimize the change.


"Access Commons at least once before September 15, 2016."

The more users who access Commons, the less up-front work Group Managers will do to manage the membership transition.


"Instead of sub-accounts, just think group accounts."

Sharing to groups has the same workflow as sharing to sub-accounts. The name on the interface is different, but the process is exactly the same. This should help facilitate a smooth transition for faculty.






What happens to the resources if/when a Group is deleted?


Only Commons Admins can delete groups. But when a group is deleted, all resources shared to the group will remain visible and accessible privately only to the original sharer. So, if Teacher A shares an algebra quiz to the ‘Math Department’ Group and group is deleted, then only Teacher A can continue to access the resource within his/her private collection. The only exception would be if the resource was also shared to another group, at the institution level and/or publicly to Commons.


What are the considerations for creating groups?


Now that groups are no longer tied to sub-account structure, there may be various ways to want to pool users or group content. Click Considerations for Group Creation and Organization in Commons  for some suggestions.

Tags (3)

The content in this blog is over six months old, and the comments are closed. For the most recent product updates and discussions, you're encouraged to explore newer posts from Instructure's Product Managers.

1 Comment