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Using Groups in Learn Ultra

Groups on Blackboard Learn Ultra allow you to create opportunities for student collaboration with assessment and activities. Groups can also allow instructors to administrate their Blackboard courses in different ways for groups of students, or apply release conditions to content.

Creating groups

To begin making groups, decide which manner of group will work best for your purposes (listed below) and then navigate to the Details & Actions side menu of your Blackboard course and select Course Groups, clicking the link for View sets & groups. 

Top menu of a Blackboard Ultra course with the groups tab highlighted

You will be on the Course Groups management page, where you can create a new group set, or import groups from another course.

ultra course group management page

Please Note: In Ultra all the groups are Group Sets. It is possible to have Group Sets with some members unassigned, therefore, you are still able to have specific groups that do not involve the whole cohort.  As in original, each member can only be in one group within a Group Set.

Custom groups

A custom group allows you to create your own set of groups and manually allocate students. You may choose this option when you have specific groups for an activity or have agreed with your students what group membership they would like.

  1. Create a New Group Set (optional name group set)
  2. Select group students: Custom
  3. Use the plus sign to add your groups
    screenshot of create group set page
  4. Return to the Unassigned students list and click on the members you wish to add to a group. Use the dot menu on one of the selected members to add them all to a group. There is also an option to create an additional group from this menu.
    Screenshot of selected members menu - it list the groups you can add the members to.

5. (Optional) name groups and add group descriptions

6. (Optional) make groups visible to students

7. Save groups

Random Groups

Randomising groups automatically assigns students into a group and can be allocated based on the total number of groups or group membership you require. You will have the opportunity to adjust the random group sets before finishing.

  1. Create a New Group Set
  2. Select group students: Randomly assign
  3. Specify number of groups needed – Blackboard will inform you of the number of students per group
    blackboard random allocation group numbers
  4. (Optional) Use dots next to student names to reallocate students if needed
  5. (Optional) name group set, groups and add group descriptions
  6. (Optional) make groups visible to students
  7. Save groups

Self-enrolled Groups

This group creation mode allows you to specify the total number of groups and group membership you require, but students will need to select their group membership themselves on Blackboard. You can set date ranges on this enrolment if you choose, with any students that do not select within the closing date being automatically enrolled into a group that is not full.

  1. Create a New Group Set
  2. (Essential) make groups visible to students

Screenshot of Self-enrol groups option - "available only for visible groups sets"

  1. Select group students: Self-enrolled groups
  2. Specify enrolment start and end dates (Optional)
  3. Set the maximum members per group

Screenshot of Self-enrol groups options, start/complete dates, Maximum number, hide members on/off

  1. Hide enrolled members (Optional)
  2. Use the plus sign to add your groups
  3. (Optional) name group set, groups and add group descriptions
  4. Save groups

See creating group sets in action: (Video)

For information about how students join self-enrol groups, see our student-facing guidance (coming soon).

Importing and exporting groups

It is possible to import group sets from one Blackboard course to another, as well as student enrolments providing they would be the same. Please see our more detailed guidance on our support page: Importing and Exporting Groups.

Using groups with assignments

Groups can be attached to a Blackboard assignment to allow collective group submission and feedback.

Please see the Blackboard Help group assignment guidance for detailed information.

Using groups with content and activities (release conditions)

Group release conditions allow you to restrict access to learning content or activities to specific groups or group sets.

  1. For any Learning Module, Folder, Assignment, Document or other activity that allows you to specify release conditions, use the option for Release Conditions under the Student Visibility options
    screenshot of selecting visibility to participants under a content item and selecting release conditions
  2. Under Groups, create new group sets or use the dropdown menu to select a group to release your content/activity toscreenshot of the release conditions, specifying group conditions and selecting which groups can see the content
  3. (Optional) Repeat to add further groups
  4. Save

Managing groups

Editing groups

  1. Open the group set dot menu and select Edit.
  2. In the group menu, there are various actions you can take like reassigning membership, unassigning membership, changing group types, messaging groups and importing or exporting groups.
    edit menu item in a group
  3. Save.


  • Changing group membership will affect where group release conditions have been set, meaning students may lose access to some content items.
  • You will not be able to make changes to groups if they have been used for a group assessment where submission or feedback have been completed.

Messaging groups

You are able to send a direct message to group members, which will appear as an email in their student Outlook account.

  1. Open the group set dot menu and select Edit.
  2. Select the group you want to message and click the group dot menu.
  3. Select message group.
    message group menu item inside a group
  4. Complete your message in the field.
  5. Click Send.

Deleting groups

  1. Open the group menu and select Delete
  2. When prompted if you’re sure you want to permanently delete a group, select Delete (or Cancel if not)deleting a group


  • Be aware that deleting groups is irreversible and you will need to recreate them if they are needed again.
  • If you use an existing group set to create a new group set (a copy) then deleting the original will not affect the new copied group set.
  • Deleting group sets attached to assessment or content Release Conditions will cause those group release conditions to be removed.
  • If you delete an assessment or content item that has groups attached to it, the group sets will not be affected.

Guide last updated on April 19, 2024

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