Let them choose, with Group Choice!

students in groups

The contact hours that professors and students spend together, whether in the classroom or virtually, is critical to the learning process.  Putting students into groups is often an annoying task to undertake; for professors, it can eat into valuable contact hours during especially in large lectures.

For students, choosing groups during class can mean being randomly assigned a group without adequate time to consider and reflect upon which project suits their specific academic interests.  

Group Choice, a feature now available, allows students to choose their own groups in CCLE. In order to use this feature you must first create groups in the course. If you need a brief refresher on how to set up groups in CCLE,  check out the following documentation: Groups and Grouping Documentation

After you’ve created a the groups and given them a description (this is not a requirement, but may give students a better understanding of the group before they make their choice), you are ready to set up a Group Choice activity. Turn editing on and then scroll down to the ‘Add an activity or resource’ button and then select ‘Group Choice’  

group choice menu

When you’ve created the Group Choices’ activity you will be able to give it a title, set any limits on group size if desired, a deadline for students to join a group, select any kind of privacy settings (do you want students to be able to see who is in other groups?, etc.), along with many other common settings.

group choice options

Be sure to add the groups that you want your students to be able to choose from to the Group Choice activity. Just select the group and then the ‘Add’ button. When you are done select ‘Save and Display’.  

groups in group choice

The ‘Group Choice’ Assignment will appear like this for students:

Group choice for students

For instructors you can view the results of the group selections as well:

group choice results

After all of the students have sorted themselves into groups, you can assign unique assignments to each group in any ‘Activity or Resource’ on CCLE by simply selecting that particular group in the Common Module Settings in a given activity. Even if you only use the ‘Group Choice’ feature to choose their groups for activities that will take place inside of class and not for CCLE assignments, it still eliminates using valuable time in class to  place students in groups and gives students more time to more thoughtfully choose their groups.


Main photo (entitled UG Student Group.jpg) used courtesy of Wiki Commons user Pbcbible – used under theCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. (source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UG_Student_Group.jpg)  Image cropped for content.

Screen shots provided by the author.

About the Author

Amber Williams is a Research and Instructional Technology Consultant (RITC) at the UCLA HumTech and is a PhD student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her research focuses on depictions of slavery and the enslaved in contemporary Afro-Brazilian literature.