Groups

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Groups

Instructors can create groups of students within their courses. Groups usually consist of a smaller number of students in a course, such as study groups or project groups. These course groups have their own areas in the course to collaborate. These spaces are equipped with tools that can assist each group member including:

  • Email
  • File exchange
  • Discussion forums

Your instructor provides the communication and collaboration tools that only group members can access, such as a private file exchange area, a group discussion board, and a group journal.

Your instructor places you into a group or allows you to select the group you want to join.

Frequently Asked Questions About Groups

Click on any of the tabs below to expand the section.

How do I remove myself from a group?
After you are enrolled in a group, only your instructor can remove you from the group.  This applies to self-enroll and student-created groups as well.  Contact your instructor about leaving a group.
How can I add users to a group I created?
If you create a group within your course for other classmates to join, they have to self-enroll in the group by clicking Sign Up under the group name in the list of groups.
How do I join a group that one of my classmates created?
Find the group listed on the Groups page and click Sign Up.  The group displays in your My Groups area.
How do I remove someone from a group I created?
You do not have the ability to remove classmates from a group you created.  Talk to your instructor about removing a classmate from your group.

Access Groups

You access groups within your course in the following ways:

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  1. Groups page link:  The Groups page link appears on the course menu or in a content area.  The Groups page lists all available groups and sign-up sheets for self-enroll groups.
  2. My Groups panel:  The My Groups panel appears following the course menu.  It provides direct links to the group area for each group you belong to.  You can expand the panel to reveal all the tools that are available for your group to use.  If you are enrolled in a group, the panel appears automatically.
  3. Group link:  A group link is a link to a single group, sign-up sheet, or the Groups page made available in a course area.

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How to Work in Student Groups (1:48)

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Group Homepage

The group homepage is the center for group activity and contains a description of the group, a list of members, and tools.  If your instructor permits, you can customize this page by adding a banner, selecting a color scheme, and adding personal modules, such as Report Card.  Personal modules are visible only to the member who added the modules.  Access Group Tools and Group Members here.

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How to Customize Your Group Home Page (2:07)

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Group Tools

Each group has its own space in the course to work together.  When inside your group, use the tools your instructor has made available to you.  Be sure to ask about any tools you want to use but do not find on your groups page.  Review any instructions provided by your instructor on how to use these tools to complete group work.  Tools that are available to a group include:

  • File Exchange:  Group members and your instructor can share files in this area.  All members, as well as your instructor, can add files.  They can also delete files, regardless of who added them.
  • Group Blog:  In the group area, all members of a group can create entries for the same blog, building on each post.  All course members can read and comment on a group blog, but they cannot make posts unless they are members of the group.  Your instructor can select the grade option for group blogs.
  • Group Discussion Board:  Users within the group can create and manage their own forums and discuss topics with just the group members.
  • Group Journal:  When used in the group area, all members of a group can view each others’ entries, but the group journal can only be viewed by the group and your instructor.  Your instructor can select the grade option for journals.
  • Group Task:  Users within the group can create tasks that are distributed to all group members.
  • Group Wiki:  Users within the group can edit, and view their group wiki.  Your instructor can view and edit a group wiki and can select the grade option for group wikis.
  • Send Email:  Users within the group can email individual members or the entire group.

 Email a Group

Instructors and course group members can send email messages to selected group members or the entire group.

Blackboard Learn keeps no record of sent emails.  Copies of your email messages are stored in the Inbox of your external email account.  Keep a copy of important messages in case you need them at a later date.

How to Send an Email Message Within a Course Group

For Windows, to select multiple users in a list, press the SHIFT key and click the first and last users.  To select users out of sequence, press the CTRL key and click each user needed.  For Macs, press the COMMAND key instead of the CTRL key.

  1. Access your group from the Groups page
    -OR-
    From the My Groups panel.
  2. Select Send Email.
  3. On the Send Email page, select the recipients from the Available to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move them into the Selected box.
  4. Type a Subject.
  5. Type the Message.
  6. In the Attachments section, click Attach a file and select the file to upload from your computer.
  7. Click Submit.

    group_send_email

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Exchange Files Within a Group

With file exchange, you can share files with other members of your group, including your instructor.

Although you cannot create folders in file exchange, you can develop a file naming convention with the other group members so that the files are easier to locate in a long list.

How to Add a File to the File Exchange

  1. On the Groups page in the Group Tools module, click File Exchange.
  2. On the File Exchange page, click Add File on the action bar.
  3. On the Add File page, add a name.
  4. Click Browse My Computer, Browse Course, or Browse Content Collection and select the file to upload.
  5. Click Submit.

Delete a File from the File Exchange

You can delete any file, even if you did not upload it.

On the File Exchange page, access a file’s contextual menu and click Delete.

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Submit Group Assignments

All members of a group receive the same grade for group assignments.  Assignments list the name, description, and attachments for group work.  You can also add comments for your instructor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Group Assignments

Click on any of the tabs below to expand the section.

Why can’t I open our group assignment?
If you are encountering an error when opening a group assignment, you should contact your instructor and consult with them about the issue.  If the instructor needs assistance, they can contact the Educational Technology Center (Monday – Friday from 8:30am – 5:00pm) at 412 648-2832 and speak with a consultant or email them at etc@cidde.pitt.edu with comments or questions.
Why can’t I find our group assignment?
Your group assignment might only be available on a certain date or after you complete a certain task.  For example, you might have to mark a lecture as reviewed before you can access a group assignment.  Contact your instructor for more information.
My instructor did not receive our group assignment.  What do I do?
You must discuss this issue with your instructor.  To learn more, see How to Submit Work for a Group Assignment.
How do I edit or resubmit a group assignment?

Editing a group assignment requires you to resubmit the assignment, and not all assignments can be resubmitted.  Contact your instructor to ask for the opportunity to resubmit the assignment.

If your instructor allows you to submit a group assignment more than once, you will see a Start New function on the Review Submission History page.  You access this page by clicking the group assignment link in your course.  To learn more, see Edit or Resubmit a Group Assignment.

How do I know whether my group assignment has been graded?
On the course menu, click Tools and then click My Grades.  If your group assignment has not been graded, the group assignment’s row contains a symbol indicating its status.  If your group assignment has been submitted and graded, the grade appears in the group assignment’s row.  To view more detail, click the group assignment’s title to see the Review Submission History page.  To learn more, see View Group Assignment Grades and Feedback and My Grades.

How to Submit Work for a Group Assignment

  1. On the course menu, select the content area that holds the group assignment, such as Assignments.  Click the name of the group assignment.
    -OR-
    In the My Groups panel, select your group name.  On the group homepage, click the name of the assignment in the Group Assignments section.

    student_group_assignment_access

  2. On the Upload Assignment page, review the instructions and download any files provided by your instructor.  Complete the group assignment using the content editor, by attaching files, or both.  If your instructor has not allowed multiple attempts, your group can submit an assignment only once.  Before you click Submit, be sure that you have attached any required files to your group assignment.
  3. Optionally, type your Comments.
  4. Click Submit.  The Review Submission History page appears showing the information about your submitted group assignment.