Groups and Groupings can be used to manage student cohorts, facilitate group work and/or restrict access to activities, resources or topics within a Moodle course.
1 - Managing Cohorts - groups at the course level can be used to enable several student cohorts to use the same Moodle course. For example you may want to keep the student groups separate if you are teaching the same unit twice in the same semester or if your are teaching the same unit in different modes (face to face or at a distance).
2 - Facilitating Group work - groups can be used to create different 'workspaces' within a single Moodle activity. If for example you are running small group projects in your unit then each project team can be set up as a group. Adding a single forum, wiki or any other activity set to work in groups mode will provide a work space for each team.
Groups can be separate or visible. For example using groups with a discussion forum allow teachers to restrict interaction between students. Separate groups mean only students in the same group can see and participate in discussions within the forum. Visible groups allow students to see other group's discussions, but only participate in their own group's discussions.
Enabling either separate or visible groups on an assignment submission allows staff to filter the student submissions to see only those from a particular tutor group. With visible groups, students can see which other groups are doing the same activities as they are; with separate groups, they do not know what other groups are doing the same activities.
3 - Restricting access to resources or activities - If you want an activity or resource to only be available to certain students then groupings and groups can be used to restrict access to resources or activities within a Moodle course. For example if some students are allowed extra time to complete a quiz you can set up two quizzes in your Moodle course each with different completion time settings. A grouping containing the group of extra time students can be used to restrict access to the quiz set with extra time. The extra time quiz will not be seen by any other students.
4 - Managing extensions when anonymous/blind marking is enabled.