Setting Up Grouping in #Moodle

A short time ago, someone asked this question on Moodle Mayhem email list:

I have a quick question.  I don't yet have my course set up to enable groups.

I have a course with approximately 50 resources (audio, pdf's, video files) that I would like different students to see, as well as hiding some of the files for some of the students/
If I enable groups, can I then assign students to groups and then designate each particular resource as visible only to a certain group?

This presented the opportunity for me to share something I'd just read about in Ian Wild's Moodle Course Conversion (listen to a podcast of Ian Wild online at

Here's my response to the person asking the question above:

Yes. I'm sure other folks could explain this better since my knowledge of grouping, groups and assigning different tasks to each group is theoretical at this point.
When you set up your course to enable groups--separate groups, force=yes--you can then issue each member of a specific group an enrollment key. When they sign up for the course using their group enrollment key, they automatically become a part of the group you've assigned them to. Group A's enrollment key is "groupa" and Groups B and C can't see what A group is doing. 
Contrast this approach with one enrollment key for an entire course that allows everyone to see everything else people are doing.
Now, in addition to this, you can assign specific tasks--using the grouping button--to Group A that aren't necessarily available to Group B or C. This allows you to differentiate instruction for your students according to grouping (gasp, that sounds like homogenous grouping).
Using this approach, you can also make certain activities/resources available or not depending on group membership.
That's my current understanding. Anyone else have a different one?

How are you using Grouping in YOUR Moodle-based course?

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Gary said…
A choice was made to change the setup of our Moodle site from 1 class = 1 teacher + one section to 1 class = multiple teachers + multiple sections. This was done to promote collaboration.

As we were unaware of this change some teachers were surprised to see other content in their course and some were not happy with the change. To help with this groups were created where one group=1section. This way groupings could be created that could be used to hide content from the different sections. One grouping = one group = 1 section. Groups were created manually. Using your idea resetting the course and adding a course enrolment key along with group enrolment keys the creation of groups would have been easier.

Some teachers still did not like this as, although this cuts down on the confusion the students had when looking at the course content it did not help the confusion teachers had when they looked at their combined course.

Although there might be some interesting ways to collaborate between sections with our current setup I wonder if another solution might have been to create unique courses for each section. When the teachers wanted to collaborate they could have the other class join using a group enrolment key then create a grouping for the shared activity.

Anyhow thanks for another timely post.

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