Education SupportVariousShowcases of Learning ActivitiesSHOWCASES: on group workUsing GroupTool for efficiently assigning students according to categories

Using GroupTool for efficiently assigning students according to categories

This article will show an example of using GroupTool for efficiently assigning students according to categories.

GroupTool categories

Course: FPE10808 Food Production Chains

Period: Period 6 

Short Introduction and background

Introduction and story behind the emergence of this learning activity. What was the need, what issue/problem was the teacher facing and wanted to resolve? 

We teach a large course of first-year students (>140 students) in the 6th period. Since this course was happening online, we imagined that the students would not necessarily know one another. We wanted to give students the possibility to get to know each other and to stimulate them to work together. 

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GroupTool on Brightspace helped us to: 

  • Split the group into two separate groups. From these two separate groups, we assigned students to smaller groups. We varied the smaller groups to enable students to get to know one another
  • Since this is an international bachelor course, the need was identified that students are divided according to nationality 
  • In the final assignment (40 hours of work) the students could choose with whom they would like to work as part of a pair  
  • In order for students to work together, we also created 30 channels on Microsoft Teams (and because of the tool, we did not have to add 200+ channels) 
  • Since we were able to link the groups to the TimeEdit schedule, students were able to see their personal schedules in the myWURtoday app. This limited the confusion students experience regarding their time and place of different activities

 Our key learning is that GroupTool “saves a lot of time because it is easier to add students to groups.” 

Relevant tools / apps (software) or hardware used

Learning outcome(s)

What has been learned after this lesson/activity has been executed ?

This tool links to the didactical principles of social learning through group work. No learning outcomes are linked to this tool as teachers can use this tool to enable students to work together. It also links to the didactical principles of social learning through group work.

Lesson idea / Learning activity

Specific description and demonstration of the lesson idea/learning activity.

Students often see 4/5 different groups on their schedule so they may experience confusion about which room they need to go to. GroupTool enables a clear schedule, so students can focus on the content of the course and are not confused by practical information. When they log on to the myWURtoday app, they are able to see where they need to be. 

Lessons learned / Tips

GroupTool was easier to use than expected because it is intuitive. It is easy to link groups and to their edit time schedule.

As we used this tool in a trial run (and therefore had to use Excel to divide groups) we are looking forward to using:

  • GroupTool to filter students according to Programme, Nationality, Gender, Start year and Former education

    Some tips:
  • Check  re-exam students are not registered as students
  • Explain where students can find information on their groups  sometimes it is best to repeat this
  • Students will collaborate if there is an assignment attached to it. Some students commented that they would rather work alone on exercises (and not in groups). If groups are made to stimulate students to work together on exercises it might be better to let students register for groups themselves
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We will continue with this tool, but we will not make as many groups as in the first iteration as we will employ group work in class. GroupTool is fast assigning is fast and easy and intuitive!


Teacher(s): Melanie van Berkum
TLC contact: 
Barbara van Mossevelde
Author (interviewer):  Frikkie Korf


  • Microsoft tutorials on how to set up your MS Teams page: Microsoft Support
  • Manuals for adding MS Teams within Brightspace:  Brightspace Help for Lecturers
  • Manuals for GroupTool in Brightspace: GroupTool
  • Demo of GroupTool for assigning students according to categories: (video below)


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