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Canvas Sections and Groups Comparison

The following compares the functionality available to groups and sections in a Canvas class.


Section - In a Canvas class, a section is simply a segment of the class roster used for administrative purposes. Sections in Canvas are created automatically and students are added to sections when courses are crosslisted in PAWS. Note that instructors cannot manually add students to sections in Canvas.

Instructors can assign assignments to a specific section of students, assign different due dates to different sections, and can take attendance by section.

More information on Sections.

Group - Groups function like a smaller version of your Canvas class and are typically used for collaboration, group discussions, and group assignments. Instructors can create multiple groups in a Canvas class and can add students to the groups.

More information on Groups.

Comparison of Groups and Sections

The following video provides an overview and comparison of Canvas Groups and Sections.

Comparison of Canvas Groups and sections




Associated Procedures 

Instructor needs to assign different assignments to different sets of students (e.g., only grad students should complete this assignment)  No  Yes Assign Assignment to Section
Instructor needs to assign different due dates for the same assignment to different sets of students (e.g., undergrads have different due dates than grads)  No  Yes  
Instructor needs to send announcements or messages to different sets of students Yes  Yes

Post Announcement to Group

Post Announcement to Section

Provides a team space to post discussions and to collaborate on pages and files. Yes  No

Create a Group Discussion

Create a New Page in a Group

Create Collaborative File in Group

Instructor can create group assignments, and students can turn in a single submission as a group and receive group feedback.  Yes  No

Create Canvas Group Assignment

Students need to select membership in a team (e.g., self-enroll in a group for group presentations)  Yes  No Create Self Sign Up Groups
Take attendance for a specific set of students.  No  Yes Take Attendance by Section
Filter gradebook by a specific set of students.  Yes  Yes Filter Gradebook by Group or Section
Filter Speedgrader by a specific set of students.  Yes  Yes

Filter Speedgrader by Group

Fillter Speedgrader by Section

Create Canvas Calendar events for a specific set of students  Yes  Yes View a Group Calendar

KeywordsCanvas, groups, group, section, sections   Doc ID119953
OwnerKatherine P.GroupCETL
Created2022-07-27 15:15:36Updated2023-10-25 11:19:16
SitesUW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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