Canvas differentiates between Sections and Groups.
Sections (accessed from the Settings page) allow for differentiated due dates on assignments, sending differentiated announcements, and for filtering in SpeedGrader and the gradebook.
- At UCSB, we create Course Sections based on GOLD enrollments (and sync students to those sections). Since we are syncing from GOLD, these sections should not be manually managed in Canvas.
- TA names are included in the Section name if they are formally listed with the Registrar.
Groups (accessed from the People Page) allow for collaboration in a shared workspace - sort of a course within a course. Groups can upload files or have discussions within a collaborative space.
- At UCSB, we create groups for Sections and place them into a Group Set titled "Section Groups". This allows instructors to easily set up Group Discussions (discussions where students can only interact with students in their section).
- "Section Groups" are created directly from the enrollment data. This means that if you add a person to a course Section, they will not automatically be added to the Section Group.
If you are wish to create cohorts of students that do not match GOLD (for example, to facilitate a Group Project), you will want to create either new Sections or new Groups, depending on your needs:
- Create New Sections if you need to be able to differentiate assignments by due date, send announcements to specific sections, and want to be able to filter in SpeedGrader by the cohort.
- Instructors for how to create a new section can be found here: How do I add a section to a course as an instructor?
- Note: you will want to leave the GOLD syncing ones as they are because students can belong to multiple sections. The sections from GOLD will be synced automatically with the registrar data and the additional sections you create will be self-managed.
- Create a New Group Set, create the groups, and add students to the groups if you need to be able to have group discussions or want to create more collaborative spaces for students to engage with one another.
- Instructions for how to create a new Group Set and create Groups can be found here: Instructor Guide: Groups and Group Sets
- If you need the functionality of both Sections and Groups, you will need to create both new manually-managed Sections and create a new Group Set with the groups.