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An overview of how to use Groups and Groupings effectively

This refers to Moodle 2.7 from July 2015 onward

Groups and Groupings can be a good way to restrict access to resources, activities and sections within the module.  They could be used as an effective way to manage lab report submissions within Science and Engineering and grading assignments when there are multiple graders, one per group of students.

Are groups enabled already?

If Groups has been applied to an activity the following icons will be displayed next to the Edit dropdown when editing is turned on.


Both Turnitin and Moodle assignments can use Groups and Groupings to aid marking i.e. there is more than one marker, each assigned to a group of students.  This can be turned on in the Common module settings within the settings of the dropbox.  There are two settings, 'visible groups' and 'separate groups', it does not matter which you choose in the case of an assignment dropbox as you are not restricting access only aiding marking.

Moodle assignments

If you organise students into groups to work on collaborative projects with the idea of a single submission e.g. a joint presentation to be submitted, then Moodle assignments is ideal.  You can set up the dropbox so one group member submits and then all other students in a group have to click 'submit' to confirm they're happy with the submission or only one member of the group needs to submit on behalf of all members without official confirmation.

Turnitin assignments

Groups and Groupings can only be used to aid marking in Turnitin dropboxes, however within Peermark (a peer assessment activity that can be incorporated into a dropbox) you can force assignment distribution.  This could be a useful approach if you have a small cohort of students and want one group to assess another groups submissions, especially if they've researched different topics as it could be a good way to get students to learn from their peers about something they have not researched while also learning how to evaluate.


Using Groups and Groupings in a Forum, Wiki or Chat can aid a more organised collaboration.  This can be useful for you as well as the students as it enables you to keep track to conversations and progress with specific pieces of work set for different groups.  

This method creates ONE activity but each GROUP sees it differently.  To create mutiple activities, one for each group, see below.


This is a good tool if you want to promote peer support within the module by breaking the students into smaller groups promoting social cohesion which will result in better discussions in class.  If 'visible groups' is set within the Forum setting students will be able to see all conversations but only participate in their own.  If 'separate groups' has been set students will only be able to view 'all participants' posts but not interact, and view and participate in discussions for their own group, they will not be able to view other group's discussions or posts.  This can be useful if you have multiple teaching staff responsible for teaching a particular group of students on a module as it ensures they only collaborate with their own group of students rather than bombarding all students will irrelevant information or important information being lost in the overall discussion.  If you are using 'separate groups' for a forum, in addition to collaborating with different groups of students, you could also use it as an alternative to the Announcements forum (the default forum in all modules) as the 'all participants' option works in the same way, it allows you to send out one-way communication.


This is a good tool if a group of students need to work together to produce a single piece of work as it acts like a live document, everyone in the group can go in and make changes to what others have written in the aim of producing a collaborative piece of work.  In this instance it would be better to set the wiki as 'separate groups' initially so each group can't see what the others are doing and then once the work has been submitted you could change the wiki setting to 'visible groups' so they can view the progress of all the other groups in order to compare their own.  This would be similar to a peer assessment approach but without the assessment aspect, more for self-reflection.


This is a good tool if you want to have a separate space for each group of students to have live discussions with you and each other about a piece of work at set times.  This tool works best with Groupings rather than groups as then you can set up a few Chat activities that will only be visible by that group of students, this will also allow you to set each discussion to only open at certain times for different groups.

Managing access to resources and activities

This method creates a separate resource or activity for EACH group, visible only to them.

This can be useful if you only want certain groups to have access to certain resources, activities or whole sections (topics down the centre) within a module.    This can be set in the Common module settings for a resource and Restrict access in the settings for a section.

How to restrict access to an activity or resource based on particular criteria or groups   MEDIUM

Refers to Moodle 2.7 from July 2015 onwards

There may be times when you wish to give access to materials or activities to students only once they have achieved a certain grade in, say, a quiz or assignment, or perhaps have attended a high enough number of tutorials within the year.  The ‘Restrict Access’ feature in Moodle is built for this task.

Access can be restricted:

  • by date/time,e.g., from a specific start date or to a specific end date
  • by having achieved a particular grade in a previous activity;
  • by content of a field in the user's profile; or
  • conditional upon completion of a previous activity or resource (for the last option see How to enable conditional activities)


To restrict access by grade in a previous activity

Restrict access to an activity or resource based on grade achieved previously

Setting up

  1. Log into Moodle, go to your module and Turn editing on
  2. Scroll down to the section where the item you would like to restrict is located.
  3. Next to the item you would like to restrict access to, click Edit, drop down Edit Settings
  4. On the editing screen scroll to the section called Restrict access
  5. Next to Grade Condition you will see a pull-down box.  Select the item you wish use to restrict access to the current item by.  Select from:
    • Activity completion (only available if activity completion is set up on your module) - allows you to limit visibility only to those students who have completed (or not completed) another previous activity
    • Date - a To or From date and time can be set from when or until which the item is visible to students
    • Grade - a way to limit visibility only to those who have achieved a specified grade or range of grades in a previous activity such as a quiz, or in the module total
    • User profile - limit visibility to those with a particular value in a user profile fiel;d (e.g., a Course Code, or Country)
    • Restriction set - Add a set of nested restrictions to apply complex logic.
    • Group (only available if groups are enabled in your module) - make the item visible to a specified group of students (you need to create the groups first)
    • Groupings (only available if groups are enabled in your module) - make the item visible to a specified grouping of students (you need to create the groupings first)

  6. So, for example, if you are restricting access to a document based on a quiz result, choose the name of this quiz.
  7. Next, select the grade percentage that will trigger access to this item. You can enter either a minimum value (at least percentage), a maximum value (less than percentage), both, or neither. The activity will only appear if the student has a value for the specified grade, and if it falls within any specified number range. You can add more than one grade condition. All conditions must be met in order for the activity to appear.#* The range numbers can be fractional (with up to five decimal places) if necessary.
    • Be careful with the maximum value; if the maximum is 7, a student who scores exactly 7 will not see the activity. You could set it to 7.01 if you really wanted to include 7.
    • If creating several different activities that appear according to grade ranges, use the same number for the maximum of one activity, and the minimum of the next. For example, you might create one activity with a maximum of 7 and another with a minimum of 7. The first would appear to everyone scoring between 0 and 6.99999, and the second would appear to everyone scoring 7.00000 to 10. This guarantees that everyone with a grade will see one or other.

  • You can choose whether the item can be seen but is not access by students, or is completely invisible by choosing the appropriate setting in Before the activity can be shown pulldown box
  • Scroll to the bottom and click on Save and return to module.  You will now see that the item is restricted

Restricting access to a group of students


  1. Create the groups first.  For more information see: How to set up groups and groupings
  2. Under Add restriction select group.
  3. Choose must / must not and all / any
  4. Choose from the dropdown the group you want to see this item
  5. You can choose one or more groups and link them with AND or OR logic. For both groups to see something use OR. See examples below:

  6. Click Save and return to module


Restricting access conditionally based on completion previously

How to enable conditional activities

Similar tutorials

Grades  - Introduction & Overview

How to release grades to students on a specified date

Similar tutorials

The following other resources are also relevant to this topic:

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