Revision as of 15:12, 20 June 2019 by Zabelle Motte (talk | contribs) (Generate groups)

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Do you dream of forming groups based on criteria, such as bringing students together based on their preference for work topics or mixing students according to their orientation? The TeamUp activity allows the teacher to define a questionnaire and compose groups taking into account the students' answers. Watch TeamUp demo video (in French)

The teamup.svg TeamUp activity first allows you to compose a questionnaire with multiple-choice questions with the possibility of restricting the answers. For example, it is possible to require the student to tick exactly 2 options from the list of available options.

The questionnaire is available to students on the opening date and they can then answer it. As soon as the closing date has passed, the teacher can start the composition of the groups by using 4 approaches:

  • group similar individuals together;
  • disperse similar individuals;
  • avoid minorities;
  • balance the level of competence (based on a question with quantified options).

Several criteria can be combined to compose the groups and the tool provides a diagnosis on the optimal number of groups.

This plugin was developed at UCLouvain (Belgium) thanks to a pedagogical development fund.

Create a TeamUp activity


When you create a teamup.svg TeamUP activity, you must specify the following parameters:

  • a name and introduction to the activity, to introduce the activity;
  • an opening date, Open date, from which students will be able to answer the questionnaire (from then on, the questions can no longer be modified);
  • a closing date, Close Date, from which student responses will no longer be allowed;
  • the "Allow updating of answers" parameter specifies whether you allow students to modify their answers during the questionnaire opening period;

Feel free to invite your students to complete the questionnaire using the Moodle Announcements tool (which targets all students enrolled in your Moodle course)

Create a questionnaire with distribution criteria

Access the Questionnaire tab to build the multiple-choice questions that will allow students to provide useful information for group composition.


You can define different restrictions on the possible answers:

  • none: the student can select any number of options or none at all;
  • at least one check mark: the student must select at least one option;
  • exactly 1 check mark: the student must select one and only one option;
  • exactly 2 check marks: the student must select exactly 2 options;
  • exactly 3 check marks: the student must select exactly 3 options.
  • ...

When your questionnaire is finalized, you can preview it via the Preview Questions tab .


For example, your questions may focus on the students' time slot for group meetings (to group them), their curriculum (to mix them up), their gender (to avoid minorities), their thematic preference (to group them together), their average score over the past year (to balance the level of the groups),...

Attention! If you want your students to select several options from a list, for example to choose the themes of a work, we advise you to avoid questions that require you to make hierarchical choices (first choice, second choice, etc.). This type of question has two disadvantages:

  • you cannot prevent a student from making the same choice 3 times and the algorithm can only assign this choice to him;
  • criteria based on hierarchical choices are very restrictive for the distribution algorithm, making it difficult to obtain optimal groups and, therefore, an inequitable distribution for students.

Publish the questionnaire and collect student responses

When your questionnaire is ready, you can change its opening date to make it accessible to participants. You can see the progress of the responses via the Compose Groups tab: participants who have responded are displayed in blue while students who have not yet responded are displayed in red.

You will be able to observe the answers evolution via the Compose groups tab : the students who answered are shown in blue while the students who have not yet responded are displayed in red .


If some participants do not answer the questionnaire, they do not prevent the composition of the groups. They are then randomly placed to complete the groups and you can also move them manually.

Generate groups

Once the students have completed the questionnaire, go to the Group Creation tab to start assisted group composition. You can eliminate students who did not answer if you wish.

Attention! The composition of the groups is done in several attempts and iterations which are displayed in the Preview tab. The results at each iteration are partly based on random draws. You will not get exactly the same result after each iteration. No groups are created in Moodle until you click the Create Groups inside Moodle button at the bottom of the page.


Define the naming scheme for your groups and the number of groups

The naming scheme may use #, @ or * :

  • "Group #" will create by default groups labelled "Group 1", "Group 2", "Group 3", ...
  • "Group @" will create groups labelled "Group A", "Group B", "Group C", ...
  • If you use a criterion to group similar individuals, you can bring up the associated option in the group name by using the "*" character , example of recommended group naming scheme: "Group # - *". Think to set quite short options for this criterion to avoid too long group names.

Choose the number of groups to have clear indications on how restrictive the criteria are for this number of groups.

Define the criteria (begin with grouping)

When multiple criteria are used to compose the groups, make sure to first place the Group similar individuals criteria as they are more restrictive.


When dispersing similar individuals, thik all options you want to disperse.


When avoiding minorities, if the allocation is only to be made on the basis of some of the options offered, tick these options.


In this example, if you want to avoid minorities of man and minorities of woman, you will have to add 2 "avoid minorities" criterion, one with "man" option thicked, ans an other with "woman" option thicked.

The Balancing Level criterion is only available for questions whose options are numbers (such as note for a past exam); the algorithm then tries to compose groups to have equivalent average level. Note that for each added criterion, you have a some indications about the repartition feasability in the blue block.


Here are all possible actions to edit criteria :

  • reorder criteria through drag and drop moving,
  • delete a criterion using the right above cross',
  • edit a criterion option while double clicking it.

All these changes require you to click de Save the questionnaire button to be saved. Note it is not (yet) possible to edit a criterion question. If you want to modify a criterion question, you have (for the moment) to delete it a to make a new criterion.

Eliminate some participants from group compositon

If you want to eliminate some students from the groups composition ("ghost" students, exempted, ...), click on the cross next to their name to make them disappear from the composition.


Some filters also enables you to eliminate participants that did not answer the questionnaire, to restrict composition to some existing group, ...


Iterate some previews

Launch a preview of the groups and consult the report on the number of optimal groups; the composition of the groups is based in part on a random draw, which is why we suggest you to repeat preview several times to get an idea of ​​what's possible with your criteria.


Modify the criteria if they are too restrictive.

Optimize groups

When your groups are approaching an ideal composition, you can try different actions to optimize them :

  • optimize : generates some moves to improve compliance with the criteria;
  • equalize : rebalances the group size after moves;
  • move manually : trough simple drag and drop, you can also move a student from one group to another;


To help you to have efficient manual moves, have a look at the summary section where you can have a detailed report of non optimal groups.


Do not hesitate to repeat these operations several times if necessary: ​​if the obtained composition is not satisfying, you can empty the groups and start again by clicking on the reset button . Nothing is saved until you click the Create groups inside Moodle button.

Create groups

When you get a satisfying group composition, press the Create Groups inside Moodle button, on the bottom of the page. You must associate a grouping name, that is, a series name for these groups. Grouping allows you to easily create Moodle activities targeting the associated groups, it is mandatory as soon as the students are divided into several groups series.


Control your groups

You can verify that the group composition has been done by accessing the Overview tab of the page Course Administration> Users> Groups.


Through this same page, you can delete a series of groups created by mistake. If you are testing multiple group compositions, make sure you change the group definition scheme (Group #, Group @, ..) at each test to easily delete the desired groups. After composing groups, you can download a report containing the groups and student responses through the TeamUp activity Group Creation tab, clicking on the above spreadsheet.png spreadsheet button.

Perfect repartition is not always possible

Note that, depending on student responses, it may happen that no group composition is perfectly optimal. Manual adaptations can sometimes help to balance groups, but in some cases it is impossible to make all criteria to be validated. Then save a partially optimal composition or possibly test another composition with less restrictive criteria.