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Groups Part 3: Observing Group Activities in Canvas

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This article is for faculty who want to grade group assignments and discussions in Canvas. To learn how to create groups in a course, view the first article in this series: Creating Groups in Canvas.

1. Viewing Group Home Pages

Students cannot visit other groups' pages. Faculty will be able to view all course groups' home pages. To do so, go to (1) People and choose (2) a group set. Then (3) click on the three-dot menu to the right of a group.

People page with the group set Group assignment 1 highlighted

Clicking on the three-dot menu will open a small menu with the option to Visit Group Homepage. Click on this button to view what your students have created.

Group set page with the three dot menu next to group 1 open and Visit the dropdown option toGroup Homepage highlighted

Group members will be able to use their home page to create announcements, pages, discussions, files, synchronous meetings using BigBlueButton, and collaborative Google files using Collaborations. As faculty, you can also create in this area.

Image of group 1 homepage with home announcements pages people discussions files big blue button and collaboarations links

If you would like to be able to monitor group participation, encourage your students to use their group Discussions page to plan their group assignments.

To quickly view several groups' home pages, open the Switch Group drop down menu and select the next group.

Image of group 1 homepage with switch group dropdown menu open and group 2 selected

2. Creating and Viewing Group Assignment Submissions

Students can submit text, files, and URLs (website links) for group assignments. Faculty cannot create group assignments using  third-party tools, like Turnitin, GoReact, Google Cloud, or most publisher tools. Faculty can ask groups to submit a single URL from some of these websites: Students can create Docs, Sheets, and Slides using their Google Accounts or by using Collaborations and then share the URL for the file. Students and instructors can use Turnitin Draft Coach to check similarity scores for group assignments.

From the Course Navigation Menu, choose Assignments. You can also create an assignment within a module.

Image of Course Navigation Menu with Assignment link highlighted

Click + Assignment to create a new assignment.

Image of Assignments page with the + Assignment button highlighted

Add (1) an assignment name, (2) description, (3) value, and, if necessary, (4) assignment group.

Image of assignment settings with name, description, points, and assignment group areas highlighted

(1) Choose a submission type that is compatible with groups. No submission, On Paper, and Online allow group submissions; External Tools does not. If desired, (2) choose a submission limit.

Image of assignment settings with submission type set to Online and submission attempts set to limited 3

Select This is a group assignment. Then use the Group Set drop down menu to choose a group set that you have made. If you haven't made your group set, create one using New Group Category before continuing or follow these directions. Be sure to create groups within the group set before publishing the assignment.  

Image of Group Assignment settings with this is a group assignment checked and group set dropdown on project groups option

(1) Set a due date and availability dates. (2) Select Save or Save and Publish.

Canvas allows faculty to create group assignments that are graded by group or individually. By default, group members receive the same score. If faculty change a group grade for one student, the grade will change for the other group members. By checking the Assign Grades to Each Student Individually box, faculty will see a group submission for group members but will assign a grade to each student. Learn more about group assignments that are graded by group in Section 2.1 and group assignments that are graded individually in Section 2.2.

2.1. Groups Assignments That Are Graded by Group

The following example shows an assignment that has limited submission attempts and students are graded by group. Note that in this example grades are not assigned to each student individually: All group members will receive the same grade, and if one student's score is changed, the scores will change for the other members of the group.

Image of Group Assignment settings with blank box next to assign grades to each student individually

To view submissions to a group assignment, go to Grades. Select the three-dot kebab menu in the assignment column and choose Speedgrader.

Image of gradebook with dropdown menu and Speedgrader selectednext to assignment title (hover to find menu)

From Speedgrader, (1) you can assign a score in the Grade out of box. This grade will push to all students in this group. If you allowed multiple submissions, (2) you can use the Submission to view drop down menu to find earlier submissions.

Image of group doc in speedgrader withthe score of 4/5 and the submission to view dropdown with a later submission's date highlighted

You can switch to another group's submission by using the Group drop down menu.

Image of speedgrader with group dropdown menu highlighted with available groups shown

If you decide that you would like to give students individual grades for a group assignment, you can check the assignment setting to Assign grades to each student individually even after students have made submissions.

Image of assignment settings group assignment with the assign grades to each student individually box highlighted

2.2. Groups Assignment That Are Graded Individually

Group assignments can also be graded individually. In the following example, the same submission will appear for all members in a group in Speedgrader, but faculty will need to enter a score for each student.

Select (1) This is a Group Assignment and (2) Assign Grades to Each Student Individually. (3) Then choose the group set. You can create a new group set using the New Group Category button, but be sure to create groups within the group set before publishing the assignment.

Image of assignment settings group assignment and assign grades to each student individually checked group set English 101

Select other assignment options, scroll down, and select Save or Save & Publish if you are ready for students to see the assignment.

Image of assignment settings with Save & Publish and Save buttons highlighted

Once one student in a group submits a group assignment, a paper icon will appear for all group members in the gradebook. In Speedgrader, the same submission will appear for group members. To access Speedgrader from the gradebook, hover your mouse over the assignment name and select the three-dot kebab menu.

Image of gradebook with page icons in column for group assignment and three dot menu next to assignment name after hovering mouse

Select Speedgrader.

Image of gradebook with open three dot menu open and the option for speedgrader selectd

The same group submission will appear in Speedgrader for all group members, but faculty will need to assign each student a grade. For example, giving this student a grade of 8 will not populate this grade in the gradebook for other students in this group.

Image of Speedgrader with an individually graded assignment for a student score 8 out of 10

3. Viewing Group Discussion Responses

3.1. Reviewing Creating Group Discussions

If you have already created a group discussion, skip to Section 3.2.

To create a group discussion, choose Discussions from the Course Navigation Menu. On the Discussions page, select +Discussion.

Image of Discussions link on course navigation highlighted and +Discussion button highlighted

Add the discussion's name and prompt.

Image of discussion editing settings with title and prompt

3.2. Viewing Group Discussions

(1) Select Discussions from the Course Navigation Menu. (2) Then choose a discussion by clicking on its name.

Image of course navigation menu with the discussions page selected and an example discussion highlghted gorup discussion community improvements

To make a group discussion, you must choose a group set. It is possible to choose a group set that does not have groups in it; in this situation, the discussion will function for students as a whole-class discussion and faculty will not be able to view individual replies until grading settings have been adjusted.

Your initial discussion post will appear first. Responses will appear below; you may need to select the replies link to view all replies. Use the groups icon to change to another group.

Image of a group discussion opened with the groups icon highlighted and a dropdown menu with groups available

To grade replies, select the three-dot kebab menu in the right corner of a response and then choose Speedgrader. You an also access Speedgrader by selecting this discussion on the Grades page.

Image of group discussion reply three-dot menu open and the Speedgrader option selected

In Speedgrader, you can view an individual student's replies and (1) give the student a grade. Students receive individual grades for group discussions. (2) Use the arrows or the drop down menu to give grades to other students in the class. To see the group's full discussion, (3) select the link view the full group discussion.

Image of a group discussion in Speedgrader with 1 name dropdown, 2 grade, and 3 link to see full discussion highlighted


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