Group Discussions

Making a regular discussion a group discussion is a great way to enhance student-to-student interaction for large classes.

You will need to recreate the group set each semester, before students make any posts, and assign the discussion to the associated group set so the SpeedGrader will function properly when the Group Discussion option is enabled.

Set-up the Groups


Click on People in the left-hand navigation


Click on the + Group Set button

plus group set


Add a Group Set Name

The Group Set Name should reflect the purpose of the groups and may be generic, i.e. Discussion Groups, or more specific, i.e. Final Project Groups.


Optional: Check the box to Allow self sign-up

Use the Allow self sign-up, if you want students to be able to pick (and switch) which group they are in. If you check this option, you will get the option to require group members to be in the same section. You will also have the chance to designate a certain number of groups and limit the group size.


Choose group structure

At this point you can either choose to split the class into a certain number of groups or split students into groups of a certain size. If you choose either of these options, the groups will be created using the group set name (Canvas will drop the "s" on the end) and a sequential number for each group. Students will randomly be distributed among the groups.

create group set box with group set name entered as discussion groups and the split students into 5 groups checked

Warning! If you have students who add the class after you create the groups, you will need to add them to a group after they appear in Canvas.

If you decide to create the groups later, you will need to come back to the People page to create each group individually and assign students to the desired group for the SpeedGrader to work properly.


Click Save


Preview groups

Once Canvas has created the groups, you will be able to click on the triangle to the left of each group name to see the members of the group.

Group name with expansion triangle highlighted to the left of the group name, number of members in the group to the right, and options button to the far right


Optional: Rename the groups

After you have created the groups, you can rename each group to reflect an interest, topic, or portion of an assignment. For example, if you were to set the Group Set Name as "Color Groups" then the groups would be automatically named "Color Group 1," "Color Group 2," "Color Group 3," etc. You could then come back and rename the groups "Red Group," "Blue Group," "Purple Group," etc.

group options button clicked with visit group homepage, edit, and delete options showing and the edit option highlighted

Enter the new group name and click Save.


Set Discussion Settings


On the Discussions page, create a discussion and add desired settings or edit an existing discussion


Under the Group Discussion section, check the box next to This is a group discussion


On the Group Set dropdown menu, select group set name

discussion settings with the this is a group discussion option checked and the group set dropdown showing the discussion groups set name as highlighted


Review discussion options for accuracy


Click Save & Publish button to make the discussion available to students

discussion buttons showing cancel, save and publish, and save