This relates to Moodle 3.6 from September 2019 onwards

This document will help you with managing groups of students in different ways depending on your need.  There are a few tips and examples as well.


Working with groups of students

On this page

Students can be arranged into groups in different ways depending on your overall need. The paragraphs below look at the different options and how they can be useful to you when managing groups of students. 

Turn on Group mode

Always ensure that Groups are turned on in your module before using them.

Administration > Module Administration > Edit Settings > Scroll down to Groups and open section > Set group mode to Separate groups (or visible groups if you prefer)

Using groups

The steps are:

Step 1 Deciding which students go in the groups. Options include:

Step 2 Setting up the group

Depending on need

When creating groups in the module (See: How to create groups and groupings) there are various ways you can group students together. 

Step 3 Using groups

Once you have created your groups you can give them activities to do in their groups (e.g., forums) or sort assignments by group

Signup Sheet groups

The Signup Sheet allows students to make a choice of one group or slot.  When complete, you can manually make Moodle groups now that you know which students have signed up to a particular slot.

Also, once students have chosen their sessions or other group via the Sign Up Sheet activity you can email the groups allocated to each slot from the activity.  This type of group is only applicable to the Signup Sheet activity and does not impact on usage of other activities.  It makes a kind of easy access distribution list for you, enabling you to communicate to individual groups without having to choose the recipients.  Also, students can change which group they're in ensuring the distribution list is always up-to-date.

Module (manual) groups

These are manual groups created by the Editing Teacher.  In the module settings (In the Administration block - Module administration > Edit settings) you can choose, in the Groups > Group mode drop-down menu between Visible and Separate groups; this automatically sets this for each new activity created as well as affecting the visibility of Participants in the module for students and staff.  Visible groups allow students to see what the other groups are doing but not participate, they can only participate in their groups.  Separate groups can only see and participate in their group.  These settings can be amended in each activity separately. 

Manual groups impact on the following:

You can restrict access to a resource or an activity to one group (or grouping)


Groupings are "super-groups".  Groupings can contain one or more groups.

Worked example:

Students are working in four groups to submit an assignment. Groups A, B, C and D

There are two assignment briefs, each used by two of the groups.

You can make the assignment brief visible as follows

Assignment brief 1: visible to Grouping 1 (consisting of Groups A and B)

Assignment brief 2: visible to Grouping 2 (consisting of Groups C and D)

Messaging students in a group

  1. In navigation block under Current module click Participants
  2. Drop down the menu under Separate Groups (or Visible groups) and select the group

  3. Select all the members of the group

  4. Choose "Send a message"

  5. Write your message and send message.  REMINDER: Add details of the module, your name etc., to give the message context, as Moodle does not add a subject line.
    Note: this doesn't necessarily go by email as it depends on users' settings.

To create an email list:

  1. Go to Navigation block > Current module > Grades
  2. Select a group
  3. From the Grader report menu select Export > Excel spreadsheet > unclick everything so no graesd are included.
  4. The spreadsheet will include an email address column for the Group chosen which you can easily turn into an email list.

Similar tutorials

The following other resources are also relevant to this topic: