D2L (Brightspace) - Groups, Group Discussions, and Group Dropboxes

Groups in D2L (Brightspace) let students work together online. Instructors can create new groups for each project, or keep students in the same groups for all projects during the term. Groups can have discussion forums and assignment dropboxes attached to them.

Creating Groups and Group Workspace

1) Within D2L, go to the course you'd like to add groups to, then choose My ToolsGroups on the navigation bar.

My Tools

2) Click New Category.

New Category

3) In the Category Name text box, type the desired name.
Hint: This name describes the category, not the individual groups.

Category name

4) Optional: In the Description text box, type a description of the category.

5) From the Enrollment Type pull-down menu, choose the type of enrollment you prefer:
  • # of Groups - No Auto Enrollments: You choose which students are in which groups.
  • Groups of #: Students are automatically placed into groups of a specific size (i.e., 3 students per group).
  • # of Groups: The class is automatically divided into the chosen number of groups (i.e., 2 groups would divide the class in half).
  • The final two options in D2L (Groups of # - Self-Enrollment & # of Groups - Self Enrollment) are the same as above but these options allow students to enroll themselves into groups. 
Note that the options you see below will differ depending on the Enrollment Type you choose.

Enrollment Type

6. In the Number of Groups/Users text box, type the desired number.

7. Depending on the Enrollment Type chosen above, you may see an Advanced Properties section. Click Expand Advanced Properties if it is not already open, and choose whether or not you wish new users to be auto-enrolled and/or users in groups to be randomized.

Recommended: In the Advanced Properties section, you may check the box to Auto-Enroll New Users so that new students that are enrolled in the course can be added to the groups after the groups have been created. You can also uncheck the Randomize users in Groups box if you wanted users to be enrolled based on the alphabetical order of the classlist rather than randomly.

Advanced Properties

8. At this point, if you do not want to create a group discussions or group lockers, you may simply click Save (and it is not necessary to continue reading this section of documentation). If you do wish to create group workspace, continue following the steps below.

9. In the Additional Options section, click Expand the Additional Options if it is not already open.

Additional Options

10. Choose the desired Create Workspace option(s). If you are using group-restricted Discussions or Dropboxes, set them up here to ensure restrictions are in place.

11. Click Save. You will now be able to create group workspaces for these groups.


12. If you chose to create discussions, you will see the Create Restricted Discussions screen.

Create Restricted

a. From the Forum pulldown menu, choose an existing forum for the discussion from the Forum dropdown menu.
Note: If you wish, you may create a new discussion forum by clicking New Forum. The forum should be named based on the subject matter, not the group name. Each group will get a Topic within the Forum.

New Forum

b. Click Add Another to repeat the process with another new or existing forum.

c. When you finish choosing/creating your group discussion space, click Create and Next to continue. A group-restricted discussion space within each forum is then created.

Group Discussion Results


13. If you chose to create group dropboxes, you will see the Create Dropbox Folders screen.

Create Dropbox Folders

a. Enter the assignment Name for the dropbox folder. Name the dropbox after the assignment, not the group.
Note: Under Folder Type, notice that it reads: Group submission folder - [Category Name], indicating that this is a group dropbox folder.

b. Optional: From the Category pulldown menu, choose the category (if any) in which you would like the dropbox folder to appear. You may create a new category by clicking New Category.
Note: Categories allow you to organize your dropboxes by type of assignment.

Dropbox Categories

c. You may link this dropbox to your gradebook. From Grade Item pulldown menu, choose an existing grade item.
Note: If you wish, you may create a new grade item by clicking New Grade Item.

Dropbox Grade Item

d. If you linked this dropbox to a grade item, also enter the total number of points for the assignment in the Out Of text box; the point value entered here should equal the point value of the grade item linked to the dropbox.

e. Optional: You may also add a rubric, choose a default scoring rubric, provide instructions for the submission, attach a file, and/or record audio.

f. In the Submission Options section, click Show Submission Options. Here you may choose how many files are allowed per submission and how many submissions are allowed.

Submission Options

g. Click Add Another to create another group dropbox folder, or Create to continue.

14. You will then see a summary of your Group Workspace just created. Click Done to continue.
Note: If you chose to create Lockers, one is automatically created for each group.

Dropbox Workspace Summary

15. You will then see the Edit Category screen. If the settings are as you wish them to be, click Save.

Attribution: adapted with permission from UW Eau Claire's D2L Faculty: Groups.

Keywords:desire2learn, lms, student groups   Doc ID:58435
Owner:Thomas A.Group:UW-Extension and Colleges
Created:2015-11-23 14:43 CSTUpdated:2015-11-24 11:21 CST
Sites:UW-Extension and Colleges
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