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Blackboard Groups

The Groups tool in Blackboard allows the organisation of students on your course into Groups of any size. Groups allow students to collaborate using various features within Blackboard, such as discussion boards, blogs, wikis, journals and Blackboard Collaborate.

You can create and assign quizzes, formative assignments, and have differentiated discussion boards visible only to group members and staff or send emails only to students in a particular group. Instructors can provide communication and collaboration tools that only Group members can access, optional grading is also available within some of the tools.

Groups are best set up after the start of semester as there can be a lot of movement in the first few weeks due to changing student enrolments.

When you create a group or set of groups, you can select group members in these ways:

  • Manually select group members
  • Have the system randomly select them as you create group sets
  • Allow students to self-enrol


A Group Set allows you to generate several groups at one time. You can choose different types of enrolment:

  • Self enrol (this method will stop a student from enrolling in multiple groups)
  • Random enrol
  • Manual enrol

Click here: Create a group set (preferred method)

Use Single groups if:

  • you want students to be able to belong to more than one group, or
  • you want different properties for each group such as different maximum student numbers or different group tools.

Please note: This method takes more time to administrate as groups need to be created separately and if you need to change group properties, they need to be changed for each group individually.

After you create a group or a group set, you can add or delete individual groups and manage student membership. This becomes important during the first several weeks of semester as students enrol/withdraw from your unit.

On the group homepage, students can access the tools you added for them. Only you and the group members can access tools enabled for a group. However, group blogs and wikis appear to all course members when the tools are accessed on the course Tools page.

  • Available group tools
    • Collaborate Ultra: You and members of a group can share content and use the whiteboard, as well as create recordings.
    • Group blog (gradable): Members of a group can add entries and comments to the group blog to share ideas.
    • Group discussion board (gradable): Members of a group can communicate as a group, as well as create and manage their own forums.
    • Email a group: Use the group email tool for quick and efficient communication among group members. Please note: Blackboard does NOT keep a record of these email messages.
    • File Exchange: You and group members can use this tool to upload documents to the group area, and delete files, regardless of who added them. This tool is only available to groups.
    • Group journal (gradable): Members of a group can share their thoughts with each other and communicate with you.
    • Group tasks: Members of a group can define and separate the workload into tasks and distribute the list to the entire group. Each task has a status and a due date to help keep members on track. Group members can view the group assigned tasks in the group tasks tool or in the course tasks tool. You and other course members won't see tasks for groups they aren't enrolled in when viewing the course tasks tool.
    • Group wiki (gradable): Use group wikis to create a collaborative space for group members to view, contribute, and edit content.

You can create a group Blackboard Assignment (not Turnitin) and release it to one or more groups within your course. Each group submits one collaborative assignment and all members receive the same grade. You can create a single assignment and assign it to all groups or create several unique assignments and assign them to individual groups. Only you and the members of a group have access to the assignment.

The group assignment appears in the course area where you create it and on the group homepage.

A group or group set must exist before you create group assignments for it.

The way students’ access groups depend on how you set up your course. You can use three options for to set up groups to achieve different learning objectives. (See links below for further information.)

Training and Support

To register for upcoming eLearning Training workshops, visit the Staff Development Calendar.

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