Enhancements to Teams to make learner grouping more flexible

Status: product definition


Problem statement:

Universities using Open edX for in-campus education, specifically Spanish Universities, organize large courses through enrollment groups. This groups have categories such as Theory sessions, Practice sessions and Lab sessions. A student belongs to a group in the theory sessions, a group in the practice sessions and one for lab sessions. Each of this categories might have graded exams and tailored content.


Key use cases:

  • as an instructor in a large in campus course I need to separate my students into groups that match the divisions made by the academic management system of the university.

  • as an instructor in a large in campus course I need to assign Teaching Assistants to my groups so that I can delegate management of students grades.

  • as an instructor in a large in campus course I need to assign ORA problems as a team exercise in my course groups

  • as an instructor in a large in campus course I want to allow the students in my groups to collaborate in their assignments in a private forum space

  • as an instructor in a large in campus course I need to present different pieces of content to students that belong to different groups

Given how this practice relates heavily to administrative decisions made at each country or particular University and at the same time requires modifications in core platform processes that can’t be modified by extension alone, we have identified that a small list of modification to the existing Teams feature we can build a flexible grouping system without having to make custom models or business logic that can’t be reused.

A recap of the existing teams functionality

as part of the course configuration, course authors can enable the Teams feature in a course, and then create one or more “Groups“, or “Team sets“. Inside this team sets, there will be teams that learners can join.
you can Set a Group in 3 different ways:

  • Open (Learners can create, join, leave, and see other teams)

  • Public managed (Only course staff can control teams and memberships. Learners can see other teams.)

  • Private managed (Only course staff can control teams, memberships, and see other teams)

Course authors also get a fair share of management capabilities for the teams and their memberships through the course authoring MFE, being able to upload a csv file to create or change team members, and also unenroll learners from the team manually, etc.

Once learners are members of a team, this has 2 main effects:

  • Team members can engage into a private async discussion

  • ORA activities can be configured to be “team work“ so that only one member of the team needs to submit on behalf of the group and they all get the same grade after the assessment.

Proposed enhancements

This proposed solution includes three key modifications to the current Teams functionality:

  1. Allow course authors to create content that is only available for members of a Team. This capability is already present in the other form of student grouping, namely cohorts. More details here: https://openedx.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/COMM/pages/3885662226

  2. Include a new type of Team Groups (also called topics or team-sets) that would allows learners to openly see, join or leave teams, but leaves team creation to the course staff. More details here: https://openedx.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/COMM/pages/3885760525

  3. Add a group teaching assistant role or access rule (different from the existing Group Community TA) to the courses such that a TA assigned to a Team can "Manage Grades" for the students that are members of said Team. https://openedx.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/COMM/pages/3885760537



  • Bridges gaps between Cohorts and Teams to provide more flexibility to authors.

  • Makes Teams more useful as it expands the possible consequences of membership from a specific forum and group work to being able to receive specific content tailored to the Team interest.

  • Allows courses to use the common practice of having Teaching assistants to split the management of students for lab or discussion sessions.



  • Not all the actions that a course staff member is able to do will be available to TAs using the filtered "Manage Grades" role. Even for the students assigned to their Teams


Decisions made during implementation/delivery

  • Will be called “Team Groups”