How to: Set up group assignments

Assessment, Assignments, Canvas, Feedback & Assessment, Groups Leave a Comment

What is a Group Assignment?

Canvas group assignments allow two or more students to submit or demonstrate collaborative work, receive shared feedback and grades, or receive individual feedback and grades.


  • Can be used for online text or file submissions. Students can submit one file or text for the entire group.
  • Different groups can have different due dates.
  • Cannot be used for Discussions*, Quizzes, Not Graded assignments, or External Tool (i.e., Turnitin) assignments.

How do I set up a group assignment?

  1. In Assignments, click + Assignment
  2. Enter the assignment name, description, points and type (see How to: Canvas Assignments for general assignment instructions)
  3. Select This is a group assignment
  4. If you want to give group members individual grades, select Assign grades to each student individually. If you do not select this, all group members will receive the same grade and same general feedback.
  5. If you:
    • have already set up the Groups for this assignment, select the Group Set from the drop-down list.
    • haven’t yet created the Groups for this assignment, click New group category, and then follow the setup process (see How to: Create Groups for instructions).
  6. Complete the rest of the assignment set up as you would for any assessment

When setting the due date for the assignment, you can set different dates for different groups using the Assign to space. See How do I assign an assignment to a course group? for more information.

  • By default, Canvas assignments share feedback and grades with students as soon as you enter it through the Gradebook or Speedgrader. To hold these until you’ve completed grading or moderation, you can mute your assignments when you set them up and then unmute them when you’re ready to share the grades and feedback. See How do I mute or unmute an assignment in the Gradebook? or How do I mute or unmute an assignment in SpeedGrader? for more information.
  • Group assignments cannot be used for Discussions*, Quizzes, Not Graded assignments, or External Tool (i.e., Turnitin) assignments.* A group Discussion is a discussion that is confined to a specific group of students. Groups cannot see one another’s posts. A graded group Discussion is still an individual activity that is marked individually.


Can I give students individual feedback on a group assignment?

When you set up your assignment you can select to Assign grades to each student individually, and thus give students individual grades and feedback. Or, if this is not selected, you can still provide individual feedback on a group submission by going to Grades, clicking the cell with the student’s score for the assignment, and then clicking the comment icon in the right corner of the cell.

Comments in Gradebook

How do students submit group assignments?

In the student view, group assignments are identical to other assignments. Like with other assignments, a Submit Assignment button will be visible when the assignment is available. However, after one member of the group submits something, the button will display Re-submit Assignment.

When students submit or re-submit files to a group assignment, a read-only copy of the file is saved to their Group area in Files > Submissions.

How to we deal with duplicate names (different students with the same name) when assigning students to groups?

Canvas can’t display students by their student ID number but you can use the group set-up page search field to search by their ID number.

How do I see the whole student name on the assigned students group set-up list? 

If you’re working on a small screen (laptop), part of the student’s name might be obscured. To expand the buttons, you can minimise the course menu by clicking the hamburger menu icon next to the breadcrumbs.

hamburger icon

When in a student group, can students see a teacher’s email address? 


Staff view

Student view


How do I communicate with individual groups in Canvas?

You can use the Conversations (Inbox) function to communicate with the individual groups in your course.  When composing a message, click on the arrow next to Select course, and then select the group from the list.  To learn more about conversations, refer to How to: Use conversations in Canvas.

How do I submit an assignment on behalf of a group? [Canvas community documentation]

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