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Group activities can be a great way to incorporate collaboration and interactivity in your course.




Desktop Tutorials

If you're using a desktop PC or Mac, please browse through the tutorials below to find what you're looking for.

 


Canvas has many tools that allow for student interaction and feedback. Among these is a peer review tool that allows students to view and grade each other's work. You may assign students one or several of their peers’ submissions to grade and give feedback on.

Note: You must have a rubric associated with the assignment to assign peer review. For more information on how to create a rubric, see the “Create a Rubric” tutorial.

Directions:

 

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas account.
  4. Select the course you’d like to work in. 
  5. Click Modules on the course navigation menu to the left.
  6. Scroll to the Module you’d like to add an assignment to.
  7. Click the + (Plus) button next to the name of the Module.
  8. Select Assignment from the drop-down menu.
  9. Click[New Assignment].”
  10. Type a title for your assignment in the Assignment Name box.
  11. Click Add Item.
  12. Click the name of the assignment you created.
  13. Click Edit.
  14. Type instructions and additional information in the second, larger input box.
    • Note: You can also add links, images, videos, and other resources in this section. To learn more, view the “Use the Rich Content Editor” tutorial.
  15. Scroll down to the Peer Reviews section. 
  16. Click the Require Peer Reviews checkbox.
  17. Select one of the following peer review assignment options:
    1. Manually Assign Peer Review 
      1. Click Save.
      2. Click Peer Reviews in the upper-right, below Related Items; a class list should appear.
      3. Click Give [Student Name] Another Submission to Assess.
      4. Find Student Name in Drop Down Menu.
      5. Click Add.
    2. Automatically Assign Peer Review
      1. Enter a number in the Reviews Per User section.
      2. Enter an Assignment Date.
      3. Click Save.

You can use the Canvas Group Assignments feature to easily assign and grade collaborative assignments. Imagine students working together to complete a virtual lab; research a question and write a group paper; hold and record a video discussion; act out a scene from literature or history; produce a group presentation; or create a digital media piece, such as a website or infographic.

Note: Before creating a group assignment, you will need to know how to create student groups. Click here to view the “Create Groups” tutorial.

Directions:

 

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas account.
  4. Select the course you’d like to work in.
  5. Click Modules on the course navigation menu to the left.
  6. Scroll to the Module you’d like to add a group assignment to.
  7. Click the + (Plus) button next to the name of the Module.
  8. Select Assignment from the drop-down menu.
  9. Click[New Assignment].”
  10. Type a title for your assignment in the Assignment Name box.
  11. Click Add Item.
  12. Click the name of the assignment you created in the module.
  13. Click Edit.
  14. Type instructions and additional information in the second, larger box.
    • Note: You can also add links, images, videos, and other resources in this section. To learn more, view the “Use the Rich Content Editor” tutorial.
  15. Adjust the settings as desired.
  16. Scroll down to the Group Assignment setting.
  17. Check the box for “This is a Group Assignment.”
  18. Decide whether to check the box for “Assign Grades to Students Individually.”
    • Note: If you do not check this box, all students in the group will receive the same grade.
  19. Choose an existing Group Set from the drop-down menu, or create a new one by clicking the “New Group Category” button.
  20. Adjust the remaining settings as desired.
  21. Click Save.

 

Assign Different Tasks or Due Dates to Different Groups

The Group Assignment feature can be used to assign different due dates to different groups. You can also give an extra assignment to a group by typing only their group’s name in the “Assign to” field, or you can exempt a group from a certain assignment by leaving them out of the “Assign to” field.

Within the Assignment settings:

  1. Scroll down to the Assign setting.
  2. Click the Assign to box.
  3. Select a group.
  4. Choose the due date for that group’s assignment.
  5. Click the +Add button to give the Assignment to another group.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for as many groups as necessary.
  7. Click Save.

Canvas has many tools that allow for student interaction and feedback. Among these is a discussion tool that allows students to interact with each other in a forum using Canvas’ Rich Content Editor. You may then provide feedback or grades to each discussion post.

Directions:

 

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas account.
  4. Select the course you’d like to work in.
  5. Click Modules on the course navigation menu to the left.
  6. Scroll to the Module you’d like to add a discussion to.
  7. Click the + (Plus) button next to the name of the Module.
  8. Select Discussion from the drop-down menu.
  9. Click[New Topic].”
  10. Type a title for your discussion in the Topic Name box.
  11. Click Add Item.
  12. Click the name of the discussion you created in the module.
  13. Click Edit.
  14. Input details, prompts, and media using the Rich Content Editor (the larger of the blank input boxes). 
  15. Click the dropdown menu titled Post to and select the appropriate course(s).
  16. AttachFile if desired.
  17. Click the checkbox next to each of the Options you would like to apply to this discussion:
    • Click Allow Threaded Replies to allow students to create a series of replies under another student’s discussion post.
    • Click Users must post before seeing replies to require students to post prior to being able to read classmates’ posts.
    • Click Enable Podcast Feed to allow students to subscribe and listen to the media posts within a discussion from an external podcasting service. You will need to upload media to the Rich Content Editor for updates to be added to the podcast feed.
    • Click Graded to enable SpeedGrader for this discussion. For more information, see the “Grade Discussions in Canvas” tutorial.
    • Click Allow Liking to allow students to “like” other students’ discussion posts.
    • Click Add to Student To-do to add an ungraded discussion to a student’s to-do list within Canvas. 
    • Click This is a Group Discussion to assign the discussion to new/existing groups. For more information, see the “Set Up Small Group Discussion” tutorial.
    • Click Save.
      • Note: Once you have saved the discussion, you may click the ?Subscribe button on the right to enable/disable notifications.

You can use the Canvas Group Discussions feature to create identical discussion topics for different groups in your class. Students will only be able to see posts from other members of their group. Consider using this feature to group students by interest, create a more intimate environment by reducing the discussion group size, or implement a jigsaw activity where each small group of students learns about a topic then teaches the class. You can also use this tool to facilitate communication for group projects such as collaborative papers, presentations, or research projects.

Note: Before creating a group discussion, you will need to know how to create student groups. View the “Create Groups” tutorial for more information.

Directions:

 

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas account.
  4. Select the course you’d like to work in.
  5. Click Modules on the course navigation menu to the left.
  6. Scroll to the Module where your discussion is located.
  7. Click the name of the discussion you wish to edit.
  8. Scroll down to the Group Discussion setting.
  9. Check the box for “This is a Group Discussion.”
  10. Choose an existing Group Set from the drop-down menu, or create a new one by clicking the “New Group Category” button.
  11. Click Save

 

Assign Different Discussion Topics or Due Dates to Different Groups

The Group Discussion feature can also be used to assign different due dates to different groups. You can also give an extra discussion to a group, exempt a group from a certain discussion, or assign different discussion topics to different groups, by using the “Assign to” field, described below.

Within the Discussion settings:

  1. Scroll down to the Assign setting.
  2. Click the Assign to box.
  3. Select a group.
  4. Choose the due date for that group’s assignment.
  5. Click the +Add button if you wish to give the assignment to another group.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for as many groups as necessary.
  7. Click Save.

Canvas makes it easy to create small and large groups of students for projects, assignments, discussions and more! Groups can also increase student to student interactivity and engagement in your online course.

Directions:

 

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas account.
  4. Select the course you’d like to work in.
  5. Click People in the navigation menu on the left side of the page.
  6. Click the + Group Set button.
  7. Give your new group set a title (e.g. Presentation Groups).

 

To allow students to self-sign up for groups:

  • Select “Allow self sign-up.”
  • Select the number of groups you would like to have beside Group Structure.
  • Select a number to limit the number of students who can be in a group.
  • If you would like Canvas to automatically assign a “Student Group Leader”, select “Automatically assign a student group leader.”
    • Choose either Set first student to join as group leader (whoever joins the group first will be the leader) or Set a random student as group leader.

 

To create groups immediately without student self-sign ups:

  • Do not select “Allow self-sign up.”
  • Select Split students into [insert number of groups].
    • Select “I’ll create groups manually” if you will manually announce student groups later. If you want Canvas to create groups now, skip this step.
  • If you would like Canvas to automatically assign a “Student Group Leader”, select“Automatically assign a student group leader.”
    • Choose either Set first student to join as group leader (whoever joins the group first will be the leader) or Set a random student as group leader.

 

Your group set will now have its own tab. If you selected the option to create groups manually, select the new group tab and then click on + Group.

    • Type a title for the Group (e.g. Group A).
    • Type a number to limit how many students can be in each group (if different than the number you typed in earlier).
    • Click Save.
    • Drag and drop students’ names into their appropriate groups.

Creating and Navigating Breakout Groups in MS Teams

  1. Open Microsoft Teams application on your computer
  2. Select the Teams tab on the left side of the screen.
  3. Select the options menu (the three dots in the top right corner of the box) on the Teams box with the name of your course.
  4. Select Add Channel from the options menu.
  5. You should now see the Create a Channel for “Course Name” team window.
  6. Type a name of the group in the Channel name text area.
  7. Type a description of the group in the Description (optional) text area.
  8. Select Private - Accessible only to a specific group of people within the team from the Privacy dropdown menu to enroll specific students in the group you created.
  9. Click the Add button.
  10. You should now see the Add members to the “Course Name” channel window.
  11. Search for students by typing a name or email address in the Search for Students area.
  12. Select the student’s name from the drop down list.
  13. Click the Add button.
  14. The student will be added to the group channel.
  15. Continue steps 11-13 to add more students to the group.
  16. Click the Close button.

 

Navigating Breakout Groups

  1. Select the Teams tab on the left side of the screen.
  2. View the Group Channels (General, etc.) If a presentation group is locked, only the pre-selected students can participate in that channel. If it is unlocked, any student can view and join the channel. 
  3. When everyone has entered into a channel, the General group will display the words Waiting for others to join… the video camera icon to the right of each breakout channel indicates that there are participants in that channel. 
  4. Navigate to the team channels by Selecting the channel and by clicking  the Join button
  5. Leave the breakout rooms by ending the call.
    • Please Note: Ending the call does not end the overall meeting, it only redirects you back to the General channel. You can send messages to the channels by clicking the channel and posting a message in the channel Post tab.
  6. You can post a new message in the area that says Start a new conversation. Type @ to mention someone. Each member should receive a notification that will appear on the Activity bell (on the top left of the screen) when messages are sent.
  7. Repeat step 4 if you need to rejoin any of the group Channels.
  8. Return to the General channel by clicking it and selecting Join.

You can use the SpeedGrader feature with an attached rubric to easily grade individual discussion submissions within Canvas. These grades automatically populate the gradebook. Using a rubric for discussion posts can save you time, keep you consistent, and help you provide useful feedback to your students.

Note: This tutorial assumes that you have an existing rubric to attach to the Discussion. If you need help creating a Rubric, see the "Create a Rubric in Canvas" tutorial.

Directions:

 

    1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
    2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
    3. Log in to your Canvas account.
    4. Select the course you’d like to work in.
    5. Click Modules on the course navigation menu to the left.
    6. Scroll to the Module with the discussion you’d like to attach a rubric to.
    7. Click on Discussion title.
    8. Click the options icon (three vertical dots)to the right of the Published and Edit buttons.
    9. Select Add Rubric from the drop down. The Assignment Rubric Details window appears.
    10. Click Find a Rubric. The Find Existing Rubric window appears.
    11. Click on the title of the desired rubric.
    12. Click Use This Rubric.

Microsoft Teams is a tool for collaboration and communication. You can use Teams to hold synchronous virtual sessions with your students. You can easily invite students from right here in Canvas! Using Teams to hold synchronous sessions can be helpful for delivering lectures and facilitating student collaboration or discussion.

This tutorial describes how to schedule and share a Microsoft Teams meeting from within a Canvas announcement, page, or assignment. Inserting your Teams link into Canvas helps make it easy for students to find. Also, you can add the Teams meeting to your students’ Canvas calendars and to-do lists by adding due dates or to-do lists to the relevant pages and assignments.

Directions:

 

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas account.
  4. Select the course you’d like to work in.
  5. Click Announcements or Modules in the course navigation menu to the left.
  6. Click the name of the Announcement, Assignment, or Page you wish to add a Teams meeting link to.
  7. Click Edit.
  8. Click the options icon (three vertical dots) above the Rich Content Editor.
  9. Click the Apps icon (it looks like an electrical plug).
  10. Click Microsoft Teams Meeting.
  11. Click Create Meeting Link.
  12. Type a name for the meeting in the Add Title box.
  13. Select a starting time and date for the meeting.
  14. Select an ending time and date for the meeting.
  15. Click Create.
  16. Click Copy.
    • Note: The meeting information will appear in the Rich Content Editor. Students will be able to join the meeting by clicking the link or calling the provided number.
  17. Click Save.

OneDrive may be the least obvious solution but can be effective in providing your students with the materials they need to complete group activities. Due to its “shared” nature, your students can easily collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, or presentations within OneDrive.

Create a Shared Folder for Students to Access

  1. Go to https://www.msudenver.edu/facstaff/
  2. Log into Office 365 Email and authenticate if necessary
  3. Click on the application icon on the top left part of your email (this looks like 9 dots shaped into a square).
  4. Click on the menu item OneDrive (cloud icon).
    • Your OneDrive will now be open. Files that you have saved previously to the OneDrive will already be in there.
  5. Click New
  6. Click Folder
  7. Type the name of the folder in correspondence with the Blackboard group you will share it with.
  8. Click Create

You can now share this folder, continue to the section "Share a OneDrive Folder." If you would like to add important assignment related files (i.e. instructions or a shared document for students to work on) to the folder before sharing it, continue to the section "Upload to OneDrive." You can also add files by opening the folder and following the steps above and choosing another type of file for step 6.

Upload to OneDrive

Note: To view this video in fullscreen mode open in a new tab.

  1. Go to https://www.msudenver.edu/facstaff/
  2. Log into Office 365 Email and authenticate if necessary
  3. Click on the application icon on the top left part of your email (this looks like 9 dots shaped into a square).
  4. Click on the menu item OneDrive (cloud icon).
    • Your OneDrive will now be open. Files that you have saved previously to the OneDrive will already be in there.
  5. Open the group folder you just created
  6. Click Upload indicated by an icon that is an arrow pointing up to a line
  7. Click Files
  8. Select the file(s) you would like to upload.
  9. Click Open

 

Share a OneDrive Folder

Note: To view this video in fullscreen mode open in a new tab.

  1. Hover your mouse pointer over the folder you just created.
  2. Click the Share icon (this looks like an arrow coming out of a right angle) that appears to the right of the title
  3. This will create a link that gives anyone with the link access to view the folder you uploaded.
    1. Ensure Allow Editing is enabled so that students will be able to edit or add files to the folder
  4. Copy the URL
  5. Share the URL with the Blackboard group via the Email tool in the group on Blackboard (view the tutorial on creating Discussions in groups to see where this option is located)


Mobile and Tablet Tutorials

If you're using a mobile device or tablet, please browse through the tutorials below to find what you're looking for.

 


If you wish to add and share files through OneDrive on your mobile phone, you will want to download the OneDrive mobile app. The steps below outline where to get the app and how to get it set up.

Directions:

 

The first step is to go to the correct app store for your particular device.

  1. Tap Install (your device may say Download).
  2. Tap Open (or find the OneDrive app icon on your phone and tap it).
  3. Tap Sign in.
  4. Type your @msudenver.edu email.
  5. Type your MSU Denver password.
  6. You will be prompted to dual authenticate your account the same way you would if you were logging in on a computer.

You should now see the files and folders that are in your MSU OneDrive account. Check out our other tutorials on uploading files to OneDrive and sharing them with your class.

If you wish to send emails through your MSU Outlook email on your mobile phone, you will want to download the Outlook mobile app. The steps below outline where to get the app and how to get it set up.

Directions:

 

The first step is to go to the correct app store for your particular device.

  1. Tap Install (your device may say Download)
  2. Tap Open (or find the Outlook app icon on your phone and tap it)
  3. Tap Sign in
  4. Type your @msudenver.edu email
  5. Type your MSU Denver password
  6. You will be prompted to dual authenticate your account the same way you would if you were logging in on the computer

You should now be logged into the Outlook mobile app. The icons at the bottom will allow you to toggle between email (envelope), search (magnifying glass), and calendar (square with number). View our tutorials on sharing important information with your class via Outlook email.

Directions:

 

  1. Open the Microsoft Teams App (if needed, see our tutorial on how to download the Teams Mobile app)
  2. Navigate to the Menu Bar on the bottom of your screen
  3. Select Teams
  4. Select More options (three dots) to the right of the team you would like to add a channel to
  5. Select Manage channels
  6. Select the plus icon (+)in the top right-hand corner of the screen to add a channel
  7. Type the channel name in the Channel name text area.
  8. Type a description of the channel in the Description (optional) text area.
  9. Select Done in the top right-hand corner of your screen when finished 
  10. Your channel has now been added. To exit the channel, select the back arrow at the top left-hand corner of the screen 
  11. Repeat steps 4-9 to add additional channels to the team

Directions:

 

  1. Open the Teams App.
  2. Select Chat from the menu at the bottom of your screen.
    • Note: To send a message to all members on a team, instead select Teams from the menu at the bottom of your screen, navigate to the specific Team, then click the purple New chat icon to compose and send your message.
  3. Select the purple New chat icon in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  4. Type a name or email address in the To: field. Teams has all student email addresses in its database.
  5. Click the recipient’s name when it appears in the drop-down list.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 until all recipients have been added.
  7. Navigate to the Type a message text box further down the screen.
  8. Type your message in the text box.
  9. Use the icons below the text box to add features such as images, gifs, files, text emphasis, and more to your chat. 
  10. Select the purple arrow to the right of the message to send it. 
  11. Select the back arrow in the upper-left corner of the screen to exit the chat.
  12. You can return to the chat by navigating to the Chat button on the Menu Bar and selecting the message.


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