Canvas Groups

What are Canvas Groups?

Canvas Groups, sometimes called Student Groups, can be thought of as sub-sites of a Canvas Course site. Students can create groups of their own, or an instructor can set up groups. Depending on how the groups are configured by the instructor, group membership can be selected randomly, manually, or students can join a group of their choosing. Within a group, members have access to a private homepage, discussions, announcements, pages, files, collaborations, and conferences; many of the same features that are part of the full Canvas course site but in this case only available to the members of the group. Note: while student groups are private to the student group members, instructors can enter any student group and view the group activity.

Examples of Canvas Groups

The appearance of the Canvas Groups interface is available on the Canvas Community site. If you would like to simulate a Canvas group interaction in a sandbox site, please contact distanceeducation@northwestern.edu or canvas@northwestern.edu to be added to a site with enough users to simulate group participation.

When should I use Canvas Groups?

Canvas Groups are helpful when you want students to work in groups. If you plan to give students a group assignment, you can create group sets to split students into groups so that each group will submit the assignment collectively.

Groups can be used as an alternative to discussions. Many times a discussion is really a peer-reviewed group assignment in disguise. Instead of asking students to write an essay or make a presentation as a group and post it to a discussion, have them submit their essay or presentation as an assignment and require them to use the Canvas peer review tools to give feedback or even grade each other. This can be done within groups or even opened up to the entire class.

How do I use Canvas Groups?

Guides

This video on Canvas Group Creation and Management for Instructors explains the basic use of groups from an instructor perspective.

Accessibility

Since Canvas Groups are part of the Canvas user interface, they are accessible. Students working in groups with peers who have accessibility needs should consider the types of content (such as videos or images) they share in groups to make sure that their peers can access it.