Group selection

System: Wattle »


This guide includes information on creating Groups and Groupings, then using the Group Selection activity to allow students to choose the group they want to join.  A limit can be placed on the number of users in every group. The activity can also be set to open and close at specific times. 



Wattle’s Groups can be used to provide different resources to subsets of your students; e.g. a reading or assignment revealed only to your masters students; an Adobe Connect room just for your online cohort.

Grouping is a collection of groups and can be used to provide more complex arrangements, e.g. a forum or wiki that is private to each tutorial group; or to assign a number of groups to each tutor.

Group Selection is an activity you can use to allow students to organise themselves into your groups. Its most common use in Wattle is tutorial sign up, and it can also be used in a wide range of situations, e.g. to create presentation groups or study groups. 


Step 1

Create Groups

  • In the Nav Drawer on the left, click the Participants link, the first item under the name of the course.
  • In the Participants page, go to the Gear menu (cog icon, top-right) and choose Groups.
  • In the Groups page, click Create group.
  • Enter the Group name, optionally include a Description (e.g. Monday 2-3pm, room 1.68) and a Picture.

Repeat this same process for as many groups as you need.


  • If you'll be using Group Selection, the groups will be listed alphabetically, so you could name your tutorial groups “A: Mon 2-3”, “B: Tues 4-5” etc, so the alphabetical list is also in chronological order. 

  • Ignore Enrolment keys. These relate to students self-enroling in your Course, not registering for tutorials, so they are generally not applicable at ANU. 

  • For a large series of groups, consider using the Auto-create groups function, which also automatically includes the next step, creating the Grouping.

Step 2

Set up Grouping

Once you have created your groups, the next step is to create a Grouping and add the groups to it. 

(If you’re starting at this point, not following on from above, begin by clicking Participants in the Nav Drawer, then Groups in the Gear menu)

  • Go to the Groupings tab at the top of the Groups page.
  • Click Create grouping at the bottom of that page.
  • Give the grouping a name, e.g. “Tutorial Groups”, provide a description if you like, and click Save Changes. Your new Grouping will appear in the list of groupings.
  • To add Groups to your Grouping, click on the small person icon at the right end of that row, with the pop-up label “Show groups in grouping”.
  • Select the groups you want from the Potential Members list and click Add to move them into your grouping. Notice that it is possible to place the same a group in multiple groupings.
  • When you have finished, click the Back to groupings button. You will now see the groups listed in your grouping.
Tip: The Overview tab gives a full display of the students and groups in each grouping.

Step 3

Group Selection activity

Adding the Group Selection activity to your course page will allow students to organise themselves into your groups, e.g. for tutorial sign-up.

  • Return to the main page for your course (e.g. click the course shortname in the breadcrumbs, or at the top of the Nav Drawer). 
  • Go to the Gear Menu (cog icon, top-right) and choose Turn editing on.
  • Click Add an activity or resource in the section of your course where you want the students to use the Group Selection tool.
  • Choose Group Selection from the list of activities and click Add.
  • Give the Group Selection activity a name e.g., “Choose your Tutorial group”.
  • Include any instructions for the students in the Description field.
  • Find the drop-down menu Allow selection from and choose your grouping.
  • Default Max sets a limit on how many per group can enrol, e.g. cap tutorials at 16 students. 0 (zero) means there is no limit. The limit can be changed for individual groups. Also, the lecturer can manually enrol students into groups, overriding the limit.
  • Consider carefully when the group selection activity will be Open from and Open until.
    • Students can get very stressed trying to win a place in their preferred tutorial, so set the activity to Open at an appropriate time for that rush.
    • While the activity is open, students can move themselves between groups, space permitting, without needing to ask the lecturer. Set the activity to closed when you want to take over control of these changes.
  • Click Save and display to see the activity largely as students see it – the only difference is that they have an Action column with buttons to Become a member or Leave group, as relevant.
Tip: If your tutorial numbers are tight, you'll need to check frequently in the first couple of weeks for students who have withdrawn from your course, as they won't automatically be removed from groups, freeing up their space for other students.


Step 4

Further resources

For details on groups and groupings, see the Moodle documentation at

Please note that the ANU Group Selection activity is a little different from the “Group self-selection module” in the Moodle docs site.

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Page owner: ANU Online