Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.3. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle is probably available here: Groups FAQ.

Groups FAQ

From MoodleDocs


What is the 'groups mode' setting?

You can have several classes/groups working in a single course with different (or the same) teacher. Groups mode is a way of filtering the students so that work and grades can be accessed separately. See Groups for more information. There are three different groups modes – No groups, Separate Groups, Visible Groups. In ‘Separate groups’ mode, each group can only see their own group – other groups are invisible. In ‘Visible groups’ mode, each group works in their own group, but can also see other groups.

Teachers are normally able to see other teachers' groups's activities as well as their own unless the capability Capabilities/moodle/site:accessallgroups has been set to "prevent".

What is the difference between a cohort and a group?

A group exists only within a course. You might have a class 10B for example which you want to enrol in course 1 and course 2. The group would need to be created in both courses and its members enrolled separately in both courses. Cohorts are groups of users created by admin which can then be brought in "en masse" to courses. So if class 10B is created as a cohort by admin, then it can be selected in those courses where enrolment via cohort has been enabled. (For more information on creating and using cohorts, see here: Cohorts) Once members of a cohort have been added to a course, they can be included in a group, either by using the "auto create groups" feature or by adding the members to an empty or pre-created group.

What is the 'force' setting?

If force is set to yes, then all activities are group activities. This overrides any settings for individual activities. If force is set to no, then activities are only group activities if they have been set to group mode. In this case, each activity requires to be set to group mode individually.

Can I automatically add users to a group at the same time that I enroll them via a csv file?

Yes. One of the optional field names that can be uploaded in the flat file is "group1, group2, etc". The group must be associated to the corresponding course and the course short name used in the field course1. If the group doesn't already exist then Moodle will create the group. Here is an example of a portion of a csv file that would enroll students into a group entitled 'Class A' within a course entitled 'Astro1'. (Note that you can assign students to groups using this file even if they are already enrolled in Moodle, as you can select to update the user details when uploading the file.)

username, password, firstname, lastname, email, course1, group1,...
    jdoe, changeme, Jane, Doe,, Astro1, Class A,...

How do I assign a teacher to a group? Can a teacher be in more than one group?

You can assign a teacher to a group in exactly the same way that you assign a student to a group.

How do I restrict a teacher to view only information about the groups that they are in?

For Separate Groups mode, the capability moodle/site:accessallgroups may be used to restrict access to all groups in a particular context. If this capability is removed from the teacher role (either within a course or globally if appropriate) then they will only see the students they teach when accessing the gradebook for example.

To do this for all teachers globally:

  1. Site administration > Users > Permissions > Define roles
  2. Select the editing teacher role;
  3. Click to edit the role
  4. Click the Show advanced button
  5. Type in the search box accessallgroups
  6. When it appears, click Prevent

To do this within a course:

  1. Course administration > Users > Permissions
  2. Type accessallgroups into the filter
  3. Click the X to remove from the editing teacher (Teacher) role.

What determines whether students can see a teacher's profile?

A student can see the profile of all teachers that are members of their group or that have edit rights.

Can I use the same groups for more than one course?

Not directly, although there are some workarounds to accomplish this.

  • Use the Import_groups Import tool to import a file with the groups and settings (though not memberships).
  • Create the groups by import or manually with enrollment keys on them and give the students group enrolment keys to enrol themselves into the right group for each course.
  • Admins and managers can enrol users in bulk via File Upload or Cohorts to include group membership.
  • Make a template with the enrolments and groups and restore it to a new course with user data.

Can a student be a member of more than one group?

Yes, a student can be in more than one group.

If one student is in a group, do all students have to be in some group?

No, a student does not have to belong to any group.

If I have several groups, can I make a specific activity or resource visible to just one of those groups?

Yes, you can add group restrictions as described in Groups. (Restrict access must be enabled.)

I have two groups that meet on different days. Can I set up activities for different times for the two groups?

Yes, you can duplicate the activities and add group and date restrictions as described in Groups. (Restrict access must be enabled.)

Can I have one set of groups for Activity A and another set of groups for Activity B?

You can create two different groupings (a grouping is a set of groups), and assign different groupings to the two activities.

Is it possible to view all the groups in a course as a list to print out?

The groups overview page in Administration > Course administration > Users > Groups provides a table listing groups, group members and a user count.

When I try to add a student, they are always added to the first group, whichever group I select?

Make sure that the students name does not include any punctuation. There is also a workaround – give each group a temporary name at the start of the alphabet, put your students in the group and then rename the group.

How can I delete a group?

After clicking, "Groups" in Administration > Course administration > Users > Groups

  1. Select the group that you want to delete
  2. Click the "Delete selected group" button

How can I import a list of students into a group?

Please check Upload users.

How can I sort students automatically into groups during enrolment?

You can make use of enrolment keys. Set an enrolment key in Administration > Course administration > Users > Enrolment methods > Self enrolment (to enforce the enrolment key dialogue form when students enrol). That key is only for students who should not be in a group and to keep out any unwanted students. Then in Administration > Course administration > Users > Groups you create your groups and add a different enrolment key for each group. When a student enrols, using an enrolment key that is connected to a certain group, the student will automatically be part of that group.

What is the difference between a group and a grouping?

See Groups versus groupings forum post A grouping can be thought of as a category of groups. A grouping is a meta group. Student membership to a "grouping" can only happen by their membership to a group that is associated with the grouping.

What is an orphan group?

An orphan group is a group that does not belong to any grouping.

Is there any way to enable students to choose a group?

There is a contributed module "Group Choice" which will do this. See also this screencast on YouTube.

How can I view the participants list for just one group?

For this, you need Groups mode switched ON at course level in Course settings.

Activity modules and groups

Different activity modules vary as to how they treat groups – some have better support for groups than others!

In general if you have questions about how an activity supports groups, you’re advised to post in the forum for the activity module, and not the groups forum.

Which activity modules do NOT support group mode?

All activity modules support the use of group mode apart from Glossary.

What happens if I switch an activity from being in non-groups mode to being in groups mode?

This depends on the activity module in question.

For forums, posts made before the forum is put into groups mode are visible to all students after you have put the forum into group mode. However students cannot reply to these posts if they have no group (i.e. blank).

What happens if I change the groups for an activity in groups mode e.g. if I move a student from one group to another?

Again this depends on the activity module. You may find that grades or activity logs are lost, so check for the specific activity module first.

How do I post a message in a forum that only one group can see?

Before you click 'Add a new topic', you need to choose the group from the Separate groups drop-down menu at the top left.

As a teacher I want to put the same post in each group's forum with students able to reply to that post. How can I do this?

A teacher can post the same message once only to all the groups they have access to by ticking the box 'Post a copy to all groups'.

See also