Enrollment - How do I create groups

How do I create groups? Sign up Sheet using the Groups Feature

Single Groups

Go to the class you wish to create a group for. Under the Control Panel, you should see “Users and Groups.” Click “Groups” under the sub-heading and a new page should open with two green buttons at the top of the screen: “Create Group” and “Create Group Set.” If you click on “Create Group,” you have the option to “Self-Enroll” or “Manual Enroll.” Self-enroll is useful if you want the students to sign up for the group – this gives more power to the students. Manual-enroll gives you the option to handpick students for the group.


Either way, clicking one of the two options will open a new window. If you click “Self-Enroll,” you’ll be asked to give the group a name, make the group available, pick specific tools you want to use (or none at all) and give the sign-up sheet a separate name as well. If you click “Manual Enroll” you will be able to give the group a name, make it available, select specific tools and handpick the students you want in the group from a roster list. Use the arrows to add people in or out of the group. After you click “Submit,” your group is finished!


If you click on your new group, you will see a couple of tools at your disposal.

  • Collaboration: This can create a “virtual lecture” that students can attend online. Java is required for this tool to run. Clear Java cache when updates occur if tool doesn't work.
  • File Exchange: Grants students and instructors to swap files back and forth such as PDFs, Word documents, videos and audio.
  • Group Blog: Creates a space where students can post blog entries to the group.
  • Group Discussion Board: A discussion board for the group, with the ability to create threads and comment on posts.
  • Group Journal: A specialized group journal.
  • Group Tasks: Basically a less complicated assignment tool. This allows you to create assignments within the group.
  • Group Wiki: A specialized group wiki.
  • Send Email: Allows instructors or students to send emails to each other.

When your group is finished, a new column displaying potential grades for your group will appear in the Grade Center.

pdf fileRead a guide (from Blackboard Inc.) on Getting Started with Groups.




Watch a tour (from Blackboard Inc.) on how to create a single group.



Watch a tour (from Blackboard Inc.) on creating group sets.


Creating a Sign up Sheet using the Groups Feature in Blackboard:

Blackboard’s sign-up sheet tool for instructors does not work very well, so we’ve developed a workaround using the Groups tool as a sign-up sheet. Creating sign up sheets using the Groups tool in Blackboard is useful when you have several time or date slots available and want multiple students to sign up for one. For example, if you have a lab class of 100, but can only give exams to 10 students at a time during different dates/times and need 10 students to sign up for a specific exam date/time and 10 more in another, and so forth, this tool is very useful.

Before you begin, you should know how many different sign up times (groups) you want to create and have the list of sign up times and dates in front of you when you’re ready to create them. These can be edited later, but it’s much easier to do it all at once during initial set up. After you have the information you need and before you create your groups, you should add a quick shortcut link to the student’s main menu area:

To add a shortcut link:

  1. Go into the course you want to modify and at the top of the left main student side menu module find the + plus sign in the upper left corner.

  1. Click on it and select Tool Link.
  2. From there, you get a pop up asking you to name it. Name it “Sign Up Sheet”.
  3. Click on the drop down menu and select “Groups”. Make sure you also select the little checkbox to make it available to users if you want them to be able to access it or it won’t appear on their menu options. Click SUBMIT to save changes. Once you’ve done that, you have your quick link set up and students can find it easily once you’ve set it up.

Now to create the actual groups/sign-up slots, follow these steps:

  1. If you are already in the course, click on the quick link “Sign-up Sheet” you made on the student menu. If you are not there yet, go into the course you want to create sign-up sheets for and click that link.

Alternatively, you can access it from the lower left hand area in the control panel by clicking on “Users and Groups” and then “Groups”. (Screenshot below).

  1. On the resulting page, at the top in the header area, click on the button that says “Create” which will drop down a menu, and then on the right column of options under Group Set select “Self Enroll”.

  1. On this page, give the sign-up sheet an overall name such as “Presentation Sign-up Sheet”, or whatever it ought to be for your own class.
  2. Add a description in the description area if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary. This description would end up being information detailed within each sign-up sheet date/time option. There will be a space for specific sign up instructions later, which would show up at the top of all the options in one spot. It’s up to you where you’d like to put your instructions. Feel free to put them in both spots.
  3. Then just underneath the Description area is the “Make Group Available” option settings. Here you would select “Sign-up Sheet Only”. Don’t forget this step!

  1. Uncheck all of the checkboxes in under Tool Availability unless you will be using this as a group as well with person-to-person collaboration. You can deselect “Allow Personalization” as well under “Module Personalization Settings” if you’d like, but it is okay to leave that checked.

  1. Under Sign Up Options, this is where you will put a name such as “Sign up slot 1” which you will get to edit later to put in the specific times and dates so something generic is okay here for now. Then beneath that, there is a box for Sign up Instructions. Here is where you would put instructions to the students such as “Please sign up for only one time slot and check your schedule carefully before signing up. If you make a mistake, contact the instructor because they will need to manually change your sign up time if you accidentally signed up for the wrong slot”. 
  2. Underneath the instructions, you will designate how many students you would like to allow to sign up for a single time slot. So if you wanted 5 people per time slot, you would put 5 there. Below that you have the option of allowing students to see who else signed up in their time slot. Most people check both of those boxes. You’ll want to at least have “Allow Students to sign-up from the Groups listing page” checked.
  3. Beneath that in Group Set Options you will designate how many total time slots or sign up slots you will be creating (aka # of groups). So if you are going to have 2 slots on Monday, 2 on Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday, then you would put 6 in the group number box. If you plan to use these groups for grading purposes you can select the “create a smart view” checkbox. Then click the Submit button to save.

  1. This will open a list of all the sign-up sheets with the generic name repeating (but numbered). Near the top right hand corner (under the Edit mode ON button area) find the link that says “Group Sets” and click on it. (See following screenshot).

  1. This will open the main group set you’ve created. Hover over the name of the group without clicking on it, until the little gray edit arrow pops up and click on the gray edit arrow, then click on “Edit Group Set Memberships”.

  1. In this area, you can change the names to reflect your individual sign up date and times, move people around if they need to be manually changed and add groups if you find you need to add new time slots after creating the original ones. You may want to add a letter in the front of each slot because Groups organize the list alphabetically so if you have Monday and Friday slots it will organize them as Friday, then Monday which could be confusing. Consider calling them: A. Monday and B. Friday for example. Once you’ve edited the names to reflect the sign-up slots, Submit to save.
  1. This will take you back to your group set. You will now want to make these groups available. To do this, go back up to that upper right hand corner where you clicked Group Sets and this time click on “All Groups”.

  1. Then go to the first group name and hover your mouse over it until you see the little gray edit arrow. Click the edit arrow next to the name and click “Edit Group”.

  1. Here, find where it says “Group is Visible to Students” (see screenshot below) and click on the “Yes” button to make it available to students and then scroll down and click Submit to save. You will need to do this for each of your sign up times to make each available. So after submitting, be sure to do this for your other sign up slots or they won’t be visible to students.

Once you’ve made them all available, the students will be able to follow the link you’ve set up on the menu to sign up for a time that works for them. Once all the slots for a particular time have been filled, it will no longer be visible to other students who go to sign up and will only display the remaining time slots available. Once a student has signed up for a slot, a link will be added to their menu displaying the name of their sign up slot (as you’ve named it) so they won’t forget what they signed up for. It will look like this to students before they have signed up:

Students will click on one of these slots and on the next page is where they will sign up and see student instructions for the sign-up sheet.

If you need to change a student’s sign up time/date, you would go into edit as you did before using the little gray edit arrow to manually remove the student from one slot and add them to another. If you need assistance setting this up or have questions, please come by the CMET Consulting office in person. We are located in room 19 in the Knight Library (bottom floor).


tags: groups, wiki, journal, blogs, tasks, email, file exchange, collaboration, discussion board, students, communication tool, couple tools, enroll, sign-up sheet, group sets, self-enroll, manual-enroll, assignment, sign-up sheet, sign up, group feature