Collaborative Discussions

Managing Student Groups in Perusall

Managing Group Settings

By default, Perusall puts students in groups of 20. Depending on the nature of your course and the guidelines you set for student annotations (quantity, length, and level of detail), a smaller group size might allow for more focused collaboration between students.

You can adjust the group settings for your site by going to the “Settings” tab and clicking “Grouping.” Ideally, you should adjust these at the beginning of the semester, before too many students enter your Perusall site from Canvas. (Adjusting group settings mid-course will affect student views of previous documents.)

A screenshot of the "Grouping" page with automatic group assignment enabled, an enrollment estimate of 10, and a target group size of 5

By default, Perusall sorts students into different groups for each assignment. If you want students to be in the same groups for the entire semester, you can set up manual group assignments. (This option requires that you wait until students enter your Perusall site from Canvas to do this – students are not imported automatically from Canvas.)

Troubleshooting Groups

Perusall sets up student groups as soon as each document is uploaded, which can occasionally result in some errors with group assignments. (For example, for a large lecture course with 80 students, Perusall might put 20 students in one group and 60 in another.)

Fortunately, this is easy to fix:

  1. Double-check your group settings (in “Settings” -> “Grouping”) to make sure they’re accurate before proceeding.
  2. On the Perusall course home page, click the “Documents” link in the top navigation.
  3. On the Documents page, click the name of the Document you want to check.
  4. Click the “Groups” button on the right. This will pop up a list of the groups assigned to this document.
  5. Click “Reshuffle groups” and click “OK” in the pop-up message explaining how this will affect preexisting student comments in the document.

Perusall’s documentation provides more detailed information about group settings.