Sections and groups in Canvas
Sections and Groups are two different ways of managing students within Canvas.
Sections represent enrolled classes and are automatically created in your Canvas courses by the Enrolment Office.
To view the sections for your Canvas course, go to ‘Settings’ in the course menu, then select the ‘Sections’ tab. Students will be enrolled into sections that represent lecture streams, lab streams, tutorial streams etc., for example:
- L01C (lecture stream 1, City)
- B02C (Lab stream 2, City)
- T03C (tutorial stream 3, City)
- OO (students who are studying remotely)*
* There may be a few exemptions where students have been approved to study remotely. Only approved exceptions will be enrolled into OO classes; students will not be able to self-enrol. Course Directors can notify the Timetable and Enrolment team (firstname.lastname@example.org) if a student has been granted an exception for remote study. The Timetable and Enrolment team will then create an OO section and swap the student’s enrolments.
Cross-listed courses will also include sections for each of the original courses:
- STATS 101
- STATS 101G
- STATS 108
Canvas Announcements are convenient for broadcasting communications to all students. If you wish to post an announcement to students in a particular lecture, lab or tutorial stream, you can send an announcement to them separately by posting to a course Section.
Assignments (including quizzes and graded discussions) can also be allocated to various sections.
Canvas Groups are quite different from other Canvas tools, and have three key functions:
- Canvas Groups provide students with a private course-like Groups area. Teachers can create groups within a course or manually assign students.
- Canvas Groups can allow for group assessment and marking options. See:
- Groups can allow for separate discussion forums within a course which are visible only to the group’s members and course teachers. See Canvas Instructor guides:
Unlike Sections, Groups can be created by the course coordinator or teachers, and are not limited to the ‘class’ enrolment groupings. Students can also create their own Groups, if permitted, in the course settings.
Canvas Groups creates a course area in which group members can communicate and collaborate privately from the larger course. Students in Groups have ‘teacher-like’ permissions in this space. They can add resources, create their own Discussions, Group Announcements, Collaborations (Google Docs or Microsoft OneDrive shared documents) and Conferences. Grade functions are not included in Group spaces. Canvas Group areas can be used to restrict course content to Group members, but remember students can also add, delete and edit all files and pages in this space.
Note: Unlike course discussions, lecturers do not receive notifications from Group discussions, so you may want to regularly check each Group to monitor progress and respond to queries.
A short video on setting up Canvas Groups.
|Assign to all students||Assign to Sections||Assign to Groups||Assign to Individual students|
|Homepage||Yes||No||Yes (Group area)||No|
|Announcements||Yes||Yes||Yes (Group area)||No|
|Pages||Yes||No||Yes (Group area)||No|
|Files||Yes||No||Yes (Group area)||No|
|Assignments||Yes||Yes||Yes (Group assignment)||Yes|
|Discussions||Yes||Yes||Yes (Group Discussion, Group area)||Yes (Graded Discussion)|
|Collaboration (Google Doc)||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Conference (BigBlueButton)||Yes||No||Yes (Group area)||Yes|
|Appointment groups in Calendar||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Page updated 30/06/2023 (minor update to section codes)