How to separate students into two different activities using groups and groupings

As this has been a common query on mailing lists and twitter, so I thought I should do a short piece on the feature. This short article shows the process for setting up activities which are locked to group members only; that is, I will create two activities but each will be locked to two different sets of students and in this example we will use a forum.

Firstly to give the background – with normal course groups you can set up an activity (forum in this case) with two options:

  • Visible groups
  • Separate groups.

With Visible groups each group member works in their own group, but can also see other groups work.

With Separate groups each group member can only see their own group, and the others are invisible.

In both options using the forum settings and this means that the users communicate in the same forum activity(same link on the page) but in different threads. However, this means it is the same forum description and link.

But sometimes you want to have each doing something different (perhaps if it is 2 different project discussions). This is where groupings come in. A grouping is a group of groups.

So what are the steps?

So in this example, firstly I created two groups of students. I called one of them apple and the other one carrot and placed three students into each. I placed my student account into the apple group.

group setup

group setup

Next, once the groups were created, I created two groupings and placed one group into each.

As mentioned earlier a grouping is a collection of groups, so it could have more than one in it, I am just using one in this example.

So I created a grouping called FRUIT and put the apples group into it. Then I created a grouping called VEG and put the carrot group into it.

Groupings List

Groupings List

So now the course part is ready to start using creating the activities, but before I create the forums, there was another setting I had to enable, this is called Enable Group members only.

This is found in the Settings block > Site Administration > Development > Experimental Settings.

I needed to tick the Enable group members only setting and save.

Experimental Settings

Experimental Settings

With that done, I could go back to the course.

So in the first topic of the course I started to create the first forum, and lock it to the Fruit grouping.

Under the Common module settings I chose selected the correct grouping Fruit and ticked the box to lock to group members only as in the image below.

Common Settings

Common Settings

Then I repeated the same with a forum for the Veg grouping.

This is how the course page looks to the course admin:

Course view

Course view

Each forum has the grouping name after it in brackets.

But what about the student view?

In my different browser, I had myself logged in as a student.

The student was in the apple group (image above) and therefore the FRUIT grouping, so it can only see the fruit forum. There are no brackets with grouping name after the activity, and the student is unaware of any other activity existing.

Student View

Student View

So that is it. That is the process for setting up two different activities for different groups of students so that they are only aware of the one they are supposed to use.

So to recap:

  1. A group is a collection of students – Set these up first
  2. A grouping is a collection of groups – Set these up next
  3. You need to enable the experimental setting  Enable group members only to get the options in Common Module Settings.
  4. Create the activities last

Creative Commons Licence
This work by Gavin Henrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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2 Responses to How to separate students into two different activities using groups and groupings

  1. schoolsict says:

    SchoolsICT has also recently posted on how to their product Zilink integrates with Moodle on groups and groupings.

    The cohorts, groups and grouping are auto-created using their custom Schools MIS integration.

  2. Pingback: SchoolsICT – Personalised learning – extend ZiLink for Moodle cohorts with groups and groupings | SchoolsICT

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