Blackboard Groups for TA Classes and Handin Groups

Create groups.csv

Course language
TA Class names
comma separated, e.g. "DA1,DA2,DA3,IT1,IT2" (see comment below on Blackboard bug)
# groups per class
e.g. "20", if zero no groups will be generated
Max. # students per group 
e.g. "3", leave empty if unlimited

Background


Class/group in student menu
Classes in Grade Centre

If you are running a course using Blackboard, where the course has several TA classes, you can in Blackboard create a group set containing one group per TA class. This webpage allows you to create the group set Hold for this purpose, containing e.g. "Hold DA1", "Hold DA2", etc. This makes it possible to have tools like discussion boards local to each class, email to class members, and to limit the student lists in the Grade Centre to one class only.

Furthermore, if students do group handins, these groups must be created before you post the assignment, since group assignments in Blackboard are associated with a specific set of groups. One way to handle this is to create a group set of predefined groups (containing sufficiently many groups and initially without any group members) and then allow students to self-enrol into the groups. This webpage also creates the group set Gruppe for this purpose, containing "Gruppe DA1 - 1", "Gruppe DA1 - 2", etc. Having meaningful group names gives you the overview needed to be able to create assignments to a subset of the groups, e.g. with a specific deadline for groups from one TA class.

How to import

We will require students to self-enrol into both TA classes and groups. This way initial changes to TA classes can be handled without instructor/TA involvement in Blackboard. The group sets Hold and Gruppe must be created as empty group sets with self-enrolment before importing the group.csv file (importing groups belonging to non-existing group sets automatically creates the group sets without self-enrolment, and group sets cannot be made self-enrol when they have been created without self-enrol).

Create groups

► Users and Groups ► Groups ► Create ► Group Set Self-Enrol

Name: "Hold"
Name of Sign-up sheet: "Hold" or "Class"
Tick Show Members and Allow students to sign-up from the groups listing page
Number of Groups: 0
► Users and Groups ► Groups ► Create ► Group Set Self-Enrol

Name: "Gruppe"
Name of Sign-up sheet: "Gruppe" or "Group"
Tick Show Members and Allow students to sign-up from the groups listing page
Number of Groups: 0
► Users and Groups ► Groups ► Import ► Import Groups

Tool Availability: Enable Email and Discussion Board
Upload the generated groups.csv file

There is an internal bug in Blackboard that currently prevents uploading large group files; if this happens, repeat the generation and import of group.csv for smaller subsets of the TA classes.

Enable student self-enrolment

The easy way is to create a menu entry of type "Groups", that links to a system page showing the groups a student is enroled in/can enrol into.

► + ► Tool Link ► Type Groups

Name: eg. "Hold og Gruppe" or "Class and Group"

Slightly harder, but more useful, is to create a "► + ► Content Area" with two "Tool ► Group"s, for each of the two group sets Hold and Gruppe, with instructions on how to proceed, and the purpose of being a member of a the two groups.

Grade Centre - TA classes

To be able to restrict the list of students in the grading center to a particular TA class, create Smart Views (= filters) for each of the TA classes.

► Users and Groups ► Groups ► Group Sets ► click "Number of Groups" column for Hold

Select all TA classes

► Bulk Actions ► Create Smart View for Group

To create shortcuts to the Smart View of each class in the menu below "Full Grade Centre", mark the Smart Views as favourite.

► Grade Centre ► Full Grade Centre ► Manage ► Smart Views

For each TA class, tick the Favourite mark

Hints

Manual group membership administration:

► Groups ► All Users

Adjusting "tools" for group sets Hold/Gruppe (file exchange, discussion boards, etc.):

► Groups ► Group Set ► Edit Group Set Properties (for a group set)

Group listings are alphabetically, causing group numbers generated by Blackboard appear in the non-intuitive order 1,10,..,19,2,20,21,.. Numerical order is obtained by changing the group names to "01"..."09" or "_1"..."_9", where "_" is a space:

► Groups ► Group Sets ► Edit Group Set Membership (for a group set)