Group self-selection (Allowing students to self-enrol in a group)

This article will show you how to set up a Group self-selection activity to allow students to join a group in the course. This article is suitable for course administrators of classes, where there is a group component. It offers a digital alternative to the paper-based process of signing up to a group or tutorial slot.


A self-selection refers to the process of students enrolling themselves in a group, which can be used for tutorial activities, lab work, studio work or any other type of group work that is carried out in the course. Course administrators must specify which groups are available for the activity, and can place a limit on the number of members in each group.

Before you start...

Create the groups for students to select from

Before students can sign up to join a group, you must first create the groups that they will be able to choose from.

You can create groups manually (see Manually Creating a Group and Adding it to a Grouping article), however depending on the number of groups you have, auto-creating groups might be a more suitable alternative.

In red on the image on the right is shown how to navigate to the screen shown.

After you have (1) turned editing on in your MyPlace class, (2) access the Groups menu from the Administration panel on the left, under Users. There you can (3) click on Auto-Create Groupswhich will take you to a screen similar to the one shown on the right. 

In green are shown the General settings.

Here, you should (4) provide a Naming Scheme. It is recommended that you use a naming convention that suits the type of activity that students will perform as part of the groups for easy reference. For example, if you are creating the groups so that students can choose a tutorial/ lab/ studio slot. you can name the groups 'Tutorial Group 1', 'Tutorial Group 2'. To achieve this you can insert the naming scheme (i.e. 'Tutorial Group') and # (where you'd like consecutive numbers to appear), making your input in the text box 'Tutorial Group #'. You can also use an @ symbol (in place of the #) if you'd like the groups to be named with letters from the alphabet.

You can (5) specify the number of groups created in the Group/Member count box.

If you plan on restricting the number of students who will be allowed in each group, be sure to create enough groups for the class.

In blue are shown the Group members settings.

These settings are useful, if you are using groups for other functions and are reviewed in greater detail in the Auto-creating Groups and a Grouping article. As this article focuses on enabling students to self-enrol in groups, you must ensure that members are not allocated to any groups. From the Allocate members drop-down menu, (6) select No Allocation.

Please ensure that you do not allocate any members to the created groups.

In purple are shown the Grouping settings, which are optional.

The groups to use in the Group self-selection activity can be added to a Grouping. For example, imagine you are creating tutorial groups for students to self-enrol in, but you also have a group presentations as part of the assessment for the same class, which uses a different grouping mechanism. In this case, you might create two Groupings, called 'Tutorial Groups' and 'Group Presentations', which contain the relevant groups. 

(7) Create a new Grouping and give it a name.

This is recommended, but not mandatory. It is considered that this will help you organise and keep tracks of groups that you have created on your site and the activities that they are used for. If you do not want to create a grouping, select No Grouping from the drop-down Grouping of auto-created groups menu.

For more information on using Groups and Groupings, please read the Using Groups and Groupings with Assignments article.

Once you are ready with setting-up the groups, (8) click on Submit and continue with the instructions for adding and setting-up the group self-selection activity.

Add and Set Up the Group Self-Selection Activity

Step 1 - Turn Editing On

On your course's homepage, click on Turn Editing On (on the top right-hand corner of the page) to enable editing.

Step 2 - Add an Activity or Resource

In the Section, where you'd like to add the activity, click on Add an activity or resource. A pop-up window will open.

Step 3 - Select Group self-selection

From the pop-up window, select Group self-selection. Click on Add to add to open the Adding a Group self-selection page.

Step 4 - Configure the General Settings

On the image on the right, the relevant sections of the general settings are colour-coded.

In red is shown the name box, which should be provided in all cases.

You must provide a Name of the activity, e.g. 'Tutorial Group Selection'. 

In green is shown the description box, which is optional.

The description is optional, however it is recommended that you utilise this section to explain to students the purpose of the Group self-selection activity. For example:

  • "Sign-up to join a group for your group presentation activity. Sign up is first-come-first-served. Sorry, you cannot change groups once you have joined a group";
  • "Sign-up to join a tutorial group. Group 1 runs on Monday from 2-4PM in GH632. Group 2 runs on Tuesday 9-11AM in RC501".

In blue are shown the group settings.

From the Select groups from grouping drop-down menu, select the Grouping you set up for the activity (see here), or select all groups.

If you have not yet set up your groups and groupings, or don't see what you expect on this page, follow the instructions in the Before you start... section of this article.

Because students can only be a member of one of the groups in the grouping, the groups should be empty. If a student is already in a group involved in the Group self-selection activity, they will not be able to participate in the activity.

The Require password setting allows you to set up a password  that is required to confirm a group selection.

The Max members per group setting sets a limit for group sizes. The default is set to 0, meaning no limit.

Here are a couple of scenarios, in which the Max members per group setting would play a key role:

  • If you have a number of tutorial slots, who have a set number of spaces each;
  • If the assessment you have planned requires student groups to have no more than 5 members.

In purple are shown the availability settings.

Adjust the Open from, Open until settings to make the activity available between certain dates. Select the Enable checkbox, then select dates.

Step 6 - Configure the additional settings (Optional)

There are other settings that can be applied for this activity, however these are optional.

To read more about the function on each of those, click on the  symbol next to the setting.

Step 7 - Save the activity

Click on Save and return to class at the bottom of the screen to save the activity.

Step 10 - Preview the Group Self-Selection activity 

To preview how your students will see the Group self-selection activity, from the personal tab, select Switch role to... and select Student. Then find and click on the created Group self-selection activity.

The selection should appear similar to the image on the right.

Changing Group Membership

Once students join a group, they cannot change group membership themselves. The class administrator/lecturer must remove the student from the group he or she joined.

Only once the student is no longer a member of any group involved in the Group self-selection activity, can they return to the Group self-selection activity and join a different group.

Alternately, the course administrator can move students in and out of groups at any time.

Modifying groups is explained in this article.