Groupwork Goodies and Gripes

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Blackboard Learn provides several tools that are group-friendly to offer an experience where students can communicate between their own members of a group.
This article will continue to develop as the University of Windsor campus community provides examples and issues they have encountered using the group tools. To add a best practice you've used with group work in your course, please email with the specifics of the situation, including course topic, discipline, the number of students, what worked, what didn't and what you might change for the next time. If you are encountering an issue with any of the group work tools, please submit a Service Request so the LMS Team can address the issue.

Creating Groups

You can enrol students in groups in three ways using the Blackboard Learn Groups functionality. Students can't unenroll themselves from groups.

More on creating groups in the Creating Groups Blackboard Learn Help article. Also, don't forget to click the "More Help" link at the top of the page you are working on for detailed descriptions of the functions on the page.

Auto Groups

Auto Groups are a set of groups which appear in every Blackboard course that you teach at the University of Windsor. A distinct group will be created automatically for every SIS course section which has been associated with your Blackboard course. When students add or drop a course section in SIS, they will automatically be added to (or removed from) the respective group in Blackboard. Auto Groups allow instructors to use Blackboard's "group-enabled" features on a section-by-section basis (e.g., for section-based grading, assignments, discussion forums, etc.). More on using this feature in the Auto Groups Wiki article.

Available Tools

Several tools are available for instructors to select for their student groups to use in their course site including:


Students can benefit by their group having specific tools dedicated only to the group members by being able to email only their particular members to keep abreast of work expected. Also, having the File Exchange option enables groups to transfer materials back and forth between various group members without affecting the rest of the class. Group discussions are vital for developing an interactive opportunity for active learning. Blogs and Journals can help with reflective learning opportunities. Tasks can help manage the workload for the group and the Wiki can be a place for collaborative documents. Additional helpful tools for groups include the Smart View option that can be used in the Grade Centre to narrow a class list down to a specific group for grading. Group assignments can be created where one member of the group uploads the document from the group. Instructors can grade the group assignment with one screen which also allows for individual differences in grade if necessary. Instructors can also send reminders from the Grade Centre to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if you assigned one. More on sending a group reminder.


Instructors have found some issues when using the Groups tools that may not always have a fix.

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