The GroupTool is a new tool integrated into Brightspace for the classroom allocation and scheduling of the Brightspace course's groups through TimeEdit.
In this article you will learn about:
Please visit the link below for an introduction video of the GroupTool:
The difference between the Brightspace Groups and GroupTool
Brightspace Groups allows instructors to create groups for their courses' activities built in the Brightspace environment such as Assignments, Discussions and for settings on course activities such as Release conditions.
GroupTool on the other hand is an add-on option that serves to allocate existing Brightspace Groups into classrooms connected to TimeEdit schedule.
This new tool creates a personalised calendar for the student and automatically communicates any changes that might occur to always keep them up to date.
How to access the GroupTool
Navigate to the course. In the green navigation bar,
1. Click Communication, a drop-down menu will appear.
2. Click GroupTool.
A new browser tab will open with the GroupTool page.
On the top center of the page, the name of the course appears for which you opened the GroupTool.
On the left side of the page, you will see a vertical bar with three features:
- Groups (landing site).
- Link Groups.
Each feature is explained below.
This is the landing site when you open the GroupTool from Brightspace.
To the right from the left bar you will see 4 panels with options Filter, Students, Add/Remove buttons, Legend, Brightspace groups, and Group Enrollments
In order to use the GroupTool for scheduling of the course's groups, groups need to be created beforehand (or have them made) via the Brightspace Groups.
In the first panel, you have the option:
Student Filter - option to apply a filter for the type of student in the course, and/or enrollment status in a group:
- Enrollment type of student:
- All (default)
- Students - only those course participants enrolled in Brightspace with the role of Student
- Re-exam students - only those course participants enrolled in Brightspace with the role of Re-exam student
- Membership status:
- All (default)
- In a group - shows only those course participants that are enrolled in (any) Brightspace group
- Not in a group - shows only those course participants that are not enrolled in (any) Brightspace group
Extra filters that can help you refine the list of students:
- Programme - shows all available programmes. You can select among BLP, BVG, MAM, MBT, MES, MLP, MME
- Nationality - shows the different nationalities of the enrolled students
- Gender - shows the gender
- Start year - shows the year that students have started with their course
- Former education - shows students' former education. You can select among BACHELOR (HBO/WO), MASTER WO - NON DUTCH, DIPLOMA/BUITSLANDSE VOOROPLEI, VWO NIEUW
Click on the tick-box on the right side of the filter's name, to quickly deselect all the options. Then you may select only the ones that you are interested in.
Click the rightward arrow to expand the filters options.
It's possible to use a combination of filters (e.g. Former education & Start year)
In the second panel, Students, the list of students depending on the filter, a list of students will appear (options described above). Next to the title into the parenthesis, you have an overview of students selected/all filtered students.
Apart from the student names this view also includes different icons which are explained in the Legend.
To search for a specific student, use the Search field in this panel.
When you position the cursor over a student's name, their email address appears.
If you position the cursor over the grey dot next to the student's name, the group name they are enrolled in can be checked.
In the same forth panel, there is the Legend. It explains the icons and colours that appear next to the name of each student in the Students list panel located on the left. This icon list is standard and will appear whether the icon is used or not. The legend icons explain:
- Brightspace group enrollment:
- Green dot - indicates that a student is enrolled in the current group
- Grey dot - indicates that a student is (also) enrolled in another group
- Brightspace role:
- Re-exam student
In the fifth panel, there is the Brightspace groups section. This option allows you to select from the existing Brightspace groups in the course:
- the group Category - using the drop-down menu
- the Group - using the drop-down menu
Further options in this sections are:
- below the Category drop-down menu
- Settings icon button - will direct you to the Brightspace Groups homepage, in case you need to edit the existing Brightspace groups
- below the Group drop-down menu
- "+" icon button - gives the possibility to add more groups from the same category
- "-" icon button - gives the possibility to remove the added groups from the selection
- Pencil icon button - allows to quickly edit the group’s name and/or to give a description if needed
By editing the name and/or description of the group using the Pencil icon button you will update the name and/or description of the group overall in Brightspace.
The "Export Groups Excel" option allows you to download an excel file that contains all categories , groups & participants. To do so;
- Click on Export Groups Excel
The "Import Groups Excel" option allows you to add students to the groups of your choice from an excel file. To do so;
- Download a template using the Export Groups Excel option. This will contain the correct format.
- Adjust the file accordingly, and
Then in order to upload the file ;
- Click Choose file
This action will open up a new window where you can select the file.
Make sure you have already created the categories and the groups in Brightspace, before exporting the file.
This is the site when you open the Schedule.
A calendar will appear were you have an overview of the course's reservations schedule. On the right side there is the preview area where the edit option will appear as soon as a time slot has been selected.
For more information about how to use the schedule in GroupTool please visit: How to use Schedule with the GroupTool
Now you know how to use the basics of the GroupTool!
Want to know more about GroupTool
- How to add and/or remove students to/from groups in GroupTool
- How to use the GroupTool to Link and/ or Unlink Groups
- How to use the Schedule with GroupTool
Check out a Showcase example of this tool of one of your fellow teachers:
Using GroupTool for efficiently assigning students according to categories