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Video Tutorial


 Note: This video can be enlarged for full screen viewing.

Written Instructions


Step 1: Creating Groups

The first step in this process is creating groups. You may choose to have the program automatically assign individuals to a group or you may manually assign a student to a particular group.

Create Group Categories

  1. Click Edit Course on the navigation bar.
  2. Under "Learner Management" click Groups.
  3. Click New Category at the top of the screen.
    NOTE:  You will only need to create a category for each combination of students. If your students are with one set of students for discussion and different set of students for a final project, you would need two categories, one for discussion and one for the final project.
  4. Complete the fields as desired:
    1. Category Name: 
    2. Description (optional): additional information on why the group was created.
    3. Enrollment Type: This determines whether you or D2L will enroll students in individual groups. 
      • # of Groups - No Auto Enrollment: D2L will create x number of groups but you must manually enroll students in each group.
      • Groups of # - each group has at most x people: D2L will create a set of groups based on how many students (x) should be in each group. Students will be randomly be assigned to groups. One of the most commonly used.
      • # of Groups – there are x groups: D2L will create a set of groups based on how many groups (x) you request. Students will be randomly be assigned to groups. One of the most commonly used.\
      • Self Enrollment – These options allow students to register for a desired group.  This option has extra requirements, if you choose to use it, please contact a member of the D2L training staff.
    4. Number of Users/Groups: specifies how many groups you want to create OR the maximum number of students you want placed in each group. Will read as "Number of Users" or "Number of Groups" depending on your choice of Enrollment Style.
    5. Advanced Properties: This section will only appear if you chose "Groups of #" or "# of groups".
      1. Auto-Enroll New Users: Click the box to have a student who adds your class after you set up the groups, automatically put into a group.  Additionally, if you copy these groups to a new semester, this will cause the new students to automatically be enrolled in groups.
      2. Randomize users in Groups: Check this box to have students randomly assigned to a group.
    6. Additional Options:  Optional.  It is recommended that group dropboxes and discussions be created in the respective areas of D2L.  Please feel free to ignore this option
  1.  Click Save.

Step 2: Creating Discussions

D2L has two methods of creating small group discussion areas.  Read the description to choose the method that will work best for you.
Method 1

Using this method, there will be one topic area for all groups.  Instructors will be able to view all groups together or filter by a single group.  Students will only see posts from other users in their group.  This method is best if you intend to grade small group discussions.

  1. Create a Forum. 
    NOTE: For more information on creating forums please see How Do I Create Full Class Discussions?
  2. Click the New button towards the top of the page and select topic.
  3. Complete the new topic form as necessary.
    1. Forum: Choose the forum in which the topic area should be located.
    2. Topic Type: Click the radio button next to, "Group or section topic, everyone can access this topic but students only see threads from their own group or section."
    3. Title: Write an appropriate title for the topic area.
    4. Description: Write the prompt for the discussion.  What should students use this area to talk about?
    5. Click Discussions from the Navigation.
    6. Click the New button.
    7. Select Topic.                                                                                                                               New topic
    8. Complete the topic details:
      • Forum: Use the dropdown to determine which forum (heading) the topic should fall under.
      • Topic Type: Choose Open topic, everyone can access this topic and its contents
      • Title: Give the topic a title.
      • Description: Type the discussion prompt. What do you want the students to discuss in the area?
      • Allow anonymous messages: By default all discussion postings include the author as well as a time/date stamp. This will give the option for students to show the author as "anonymous" You will have no way of determining who wrote what in the topic.
      • Messages must be approved before being displayed: This requires the instructor to approve every message before it can be displayed. Its use is not recommended.
      • A user must compose a message before participating in the topic: This is a new feature. This makes sure that students have to compose an original thought/paragraph/response before they are able to see any other student's discussion response. 
        • Availability: Determine if this topic will be displayed, hidden, or only displayed for a a certain amount of time.
        • Locking: Determine if this topic is open for discussion. Keep it unlocked so students can add to the discussion, lock the forum to prevent students from adding to the discussion, or only allow students to post for a specific amount of time. 
    9.   Click Save.  (Save and New will create another topic.)

    Method 2


    Small group discussions are composed of two areas.  The Forum will hold the question or discussion prompt.  Topics are the individual discussion areas for students, using the steps below, each small group will have its own, private discussion area that other groups will not be able to access. 

    1. Create a Forum for each discussion prompt(do not create topics yet).  Add the prompt or question to be answered in the Forum Description.
      NOTE: For more information on creating forums please see How Do I Create Full Class Discussions?
    2. Once Forums have been created, click Group Restrictions from the panel on the top of the screen.
    3. In the dropdown labeled, Group Category, choose the category that was created in Step One.
    4. In the dropdown labeled, Forum, choose a discussion prompt.
    5. Click the link (below the dropdowns) Automatically Create Restricted Topics
    6. The screen will change and you will be asked to confirm your selections, click the Create button.
    7. The screen will change again, and a table displaying your small group restrictions will be displayed.
      Group Restriction Table
      Note: In the example above each of the small groups is restricted.  For example look at the topic for Discussion Groups - Group 1. There is a checkmark in the restricted column, this means that the topic is restricted and only certain students can view the topic.  Furthermore there is a checkmark under the group 1 column, this means that only people who can see the topic are those people in Group 1.
    8. Click Save.
    9. Return to Discussions to verify that topics were added below the desired forum.
    10. Repeat steps 2-9 to create topics (discussion areas) for each of the discussion prompts.
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