Groups in Canvas can facilitate robust student interactions because Canvas generates a group area, a small version of the course for each group. In the group area, students can collaborate on assignments, pages, and conduct small group discussions. Click here for the Canvas Guide that offers more information about Student Groups.
These group areas are created even if the only thing the instructor uses groups for is discussions. Canvas has a guide available for students to learn how to use group areas: Student Canvas Guides on People and Groups.
Group Area Organization
Group areas are organized like the main course, with a navigation bar on the left with access to Home, Announcements, People, Discussions, and more. This navigation bar also provides options that are typically not available to students, such as Files and Pages, which allow students to collaborate more easily.
Please note that these group areas don’t share documents with the main course. In other words, if a student places a document in Files or creates a page in their group area, that file or page won’t be saved to the main course. Likewise, while in a group area, you won’t be able to link to a file saved in the main area of the course.
Please also note that Kaltura MyMedia media cannot be played in a group area.
Instructor Abilities in Group Areas
Although instructors can participate throughout group areas, they will primarily access group areas to participate in small group discussions or monitor projects. For more information, see the Canvas Guide How do I view content and student activity within a group as an instructor?
Navigating between Student Group Areas
Once you’ve accessed a group area, it’s easy to move to another group’s area. Click on the Switch Group dropdown menu and select another group.
Returning to the Main Course from the Group Area
There are different ways to return to the main course from a group area.
- The simplest way is to click the back button on your browser until you return to the main course, but this method wouldn’t be convenient if you’ve navigated through several screens in the group area.
- Although it is not visible from other tabs in the course, there is a breadcrumb trail to follow back to the main course. It is only accessible from the Home tab (see below: the main course is 007: Canvas Instructor in Training).
- Although this requires a little forethought, what might be the most convenient method is to open each group area as its own tab before you enter them. Keep the main course open in its own tab so you can easily return to it when you are finished with groups.