Creating and Using Groups in Original courses

Why have groups?

There are a number of reasons you may wish to use groups in MyDundee.

User Management.

For example, large classes with multiple tutors may want to have an easy way for tutors to contact those students in their tutorial groups. It may also be that those tutors are marking coursework from their tutees.

Group working and collaboration between students

Groups allow tools such as discussion boards, wikis  and blogs, to be shared between small groups, whether that’s for assessed coursework, or for study groups. By default, students can create their own study groups within MyDundee, to enable this type of collaboration. [Staff can see the content of all groups, whether they are those created by the staff members, or by the students themselves]

Creating Groups

Initial screens for creating groups

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In the left hand menu, in the Course management section, select users and groups

Select “Create”, and then the type of group you want to create, and the type of enrolment. With Single groups, you’ll be creating just one group. A group set will allow multiple sets with users (by default) in 1 of the groups. You can have as many single groups and group sets in a module as you want.

All Groups/ Group Sets / All Users gives you information about existing groups.

Group Settings – includes an option permit students to create their own groups (on by default).

Many of the options that you have when setting up groups are very similar; so we will take you through 2 examples.

Single Group – Self Enrol.

Settings for self enrol to groups.

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Many of the fields are self explanatory, such as the name. By default, students can see which groups they are in, but you may wish to disable that.

As groups are designed for groupwork, by default, all the tools that a group may wish to use are enabled. You can disable any that you do not want students to have access to as a group.

It’s possible to set an upper number of students who can join a particular group.

By default, students can personalise their view of the group page (any personalisations they add are just for themselves, not for the whole group).

Finally, don’t forget to click “Submit”

GroupSet – Random Enrolment.

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GroupSets are often used, as a quick way of getting all students into groups. You may allow students to self select groups, using signup sheets. However, you may also want to randomly allocate students to groups.

You can either set the number of students in a group, or the number of groups, then decide what to do with any remaining students.

Finally, don’t forget to click “Submit”

Overview of all groups etc.

It is possible to see an overview of the groups (default view when you open the groups page) group sets, and all users from the links at the top right. These allow users to be added/removed from existing groups. Note: Remember to click “submit” in the lower right when you have finished updating groups.

Import / export of group members.

It is possible to import files containing details of group members, which can save time. The easiest way to do this is.

1: Ensure you have lists of students in the groups that you want them, with their StudentIDs

2: In Blackboard, create the empty groups that you want.

3: On the groups page, select “Export” and then select “Groups only”

4: Open the CSV file, to find the group codes that Blackboard is using (which may not quite be the same as the names on screen).

5: Create a new CSV file, with column A being Group Code, and column B having User Name (see example on Blackboard’s website)

6: Finally, making sure you have saved the file as .csv, select “Import”, and the groups should now be populated.

It is also possible to use a CSV file to generate the groups initially, but that is much more complex.

Student Created groups.

By default, students can create their own groups (e.g. as study groups). If you wish to disable this, click on “Group Settings” (top right), and disable that ability. Note that students can only create groups that have signup sheets, so any student could potentially join (depending on the size limit they set). They can not hide the presence of the group from the rest of the class, or from instructors.

Overview of group memberships

From the all users page, you can see a list of all students and the groups they are in. You can use this to add / remove students from groups. It also shows you student created groups, as well as those staff have set up.

Preview group view.

Normally, you can preview what a student can see by selecting the eye icon in the top bar. However, if you have set up a group activities, the system needs to know which group the preview user is in.

  1. Go to the list of users – and see if there is a preview user already set up by you. This will show as yourid_previewuser
  2. If you do not have this user, then you’ll need to create it.
    1. Go to the preview icon, select it, and enter preview.
    2. Leave the preview BUT, rather than leaving the default option of removing the user and data, select the other option, to keep the user.
  3. You can now add that user to a group, and select the preview option.
  4. If you are happy with the settings,  select “delete preview user and all data” when exiting preview mode. (Alternatively, return to the list of users in the group, and remove the preview user from the group)

More information


[Blackboard Inc (2013, Oct 22) Blackboard Learn Quick Hit Video: Groups Management]

Help pages – Groups. 

How to use Groups – student focussed video


Import files to create groups. – Leicester University.


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