Digi Know: Group Spaces in Course Resources

Did you know that Course Resources has a range of tools available that can support student group work?

Using the Groups facility in Course Resources means that you can randomly assign students to a group, or specifically add students to groups for practicals/tutorial work or for group projects. The group space then gives that group of students a private group area to collaborate in.

The Blackboard Groups can be set up either as a single one off-group (this may be for a special project), or you can create multiple groups using the Group Set option (this might be useful if setting a group assignment for the whole class).

create_groupsUnder these two types you then have the option to manually enrol the students, students can self-sign up to a group depending on a topic/interest/friends, or for group sets you can set Blackboard to randomly assign the groups for you.

Group tools

groupsOnce the students are allocated to groups, they can have access to a range of tools (you decide the tools they need access to), and these are accessed through a new link called My Groups that appears under the left hand menu. This is only visible to people allocated to a group, so as a staff member you won’t see this.

The tools they have access to include blogs, discussion boards, email, a file area, tasks and wikis.  All of these tools can be accessed by everyone in their group, and any staff enrolled as Instructors on the module.

Students can begin to use this space to record discussions that have taken place in group meetings, any actions that are assigned, and upload documents. All documents, discussion board posts and blog entries are time stamped, so can be used to help the students track and monitor group project work.

Group Assignments

Once a group has been created, you can then create a group assignment.  This will only work with the Blackboard assignment tool, (not Turnitin), but once created, one member of the group will submit the assignment on behalf of all the group members.  This means that when they then give feedback on that once piece of work, all group members will receive it. Blackboard help pages provide more information on Group Assignments.

The Blog and Wiki tools can also be setup as a group assignment meaning grades/feedback can allocated to any work done in the area.

Releasing specific material to different groups

Once your groups have been created and students assigned, you can use another Blackboard tool called “Adaptive Release” to make different content available to various groups. This could be useful when creating you’re setting up some classroom debates or activities and want to provide the different groups with different information to prepare for the session.

Further help

For support on using the Groups Spaces, see Blackboard’s help guides on Users and Groups.

If you would like to investigate using groups in your own Blackboard modules and have more questions, then you can contact the Learning Technologists on tel@derby.ac.uk or call us on x1865

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