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What are Groups and why would I use them?

Groups in a Minerva module are containers that you populate with staff and students. You can use groups to display targeted content to particular users.

Some possible use-case scenarios might be:

  • Providing group tools such as file exchange/e-mail/discussion board;
  • Creating a folder of topic specific resources for groups of students working on separate projects (with Adaptive Release);
  • Using group membership to display a test to students doing a resit (with Adaptive Release);
  • Sending e-mail to tutorial groups (with E-mail).

The Quick Guide to creating groups is below; we also have a Bulk Creation and Member Upload guide.

Quick Guide to creating a group:

Creating a Group

In the Control Panel, select Users and Groups

Groups option in Control Panel

and select the Groups option.

Choose Group Type

Select the group type. You can choose to create a single group, or a set of groups.

Self-Enrol option from the Create Single Group dropdown

In this example we are choosing a single Self Enrol Group.


Name the group and add a description.

A description of the group in the text box editor

Check the group availability. If you want students to use the group tools or you want to email a group, it needs to be available. If you want to use the group for adaptive release only, it should be unavailable. Or you can make only the sign-up sheet available then release the group tools at a later date. If you plan to use the group as a sign-up list only, and don't intend to allow members to use any of the tools select this option.

The group availability setting

Select the tools you wish to make available to the group members as relevant.

List of tools available for selection in the group

... more options

You should add a name for the Sign-Up Sheet, and any relevant instructions. Students will use this to enrol themselves in the group

Because this is a self enrol group we can define some parameters like maximum number of members, and whether students can see who has joined.

Set the maximum number of members for the group

When you have finished configuring the group options, press the Submit button.

Add to menu

For a self enrol group you need to add the Groups area to the module menu so that students can enrol themselves onto the group.

Click the + icon at the top left of the menu and select Add Tool Link.

Enter a name for the menu item, select Groups from the list of tools, check the box to make it available to users and finally click Submit.

Now you should see the Groups area has been added to the menu. From here students will be able to enrol on groups when possible, use group tools and also create their own groups if you leave that option available (see the information under the Student Created Groups tab).

The Groups Tool Link

Other groups

Multiple groups can be created by selecting Create Group Set. The random enrol option means you can quickly create a large number of groups:

Random Enrol option from the Create Group Set dropdown

Set either how many groups you want or how many students should be in each group. Blackboard will then distribute the students in your module onto the groups automatically:

Membership Settings

Manual enrol options present you with a view of the group(s) with options to assign members all on one page.

For groups which are not self-enrol, you don't need to add a link to the group area in your module. This is because once students are enrolled on a group, they see a link to the group area under the module menu:

The student group link under the module menu for groups which aren't self enrol

Student created groups

Students can create their own groups and enable tools such as discussion board, email and file exchange. You will need to add Groups to the module menu (see Step 5) and make sure that the setting to enable student group creation is on.

The permission can be turned on/off by going to the Groups area in the Control Panel:

Groups option in Control Panel

And selecting Group Settings:

Group settings

On this page Student created groups can be switched off and on. Students may be permitted to create groups, and edit them:

Student created group options

Editing Groups

There are various ways to edit groups. First return to the Groups page in the Control Panel. If you just need to make changes to one group, select the drop down menu next to the relevant Group and then select Edit:

Editing a Group

If you need to change the tools available for multiple groups, on the Groups page you need to select View Options and then Show Tool Availability:

Viewing tool availability

You will see a list of all your groups with which tools are available per group. You can switch the tool group availabilty by selecting the tick/cross:

Changing tool availability

If you need to change the membership across multiple groups, switch the view on the Groups page to All Users:

View by user

Now you can see each person on the module with the groups they are assigned to. You can quickly change their group membership on this page by selecting Add to Group or the red cross to remove:

Removing membership Add membership