Taking a Deep Dive With a Tech Tool BLEND/Canvas Assignment Groups: An Overlooked Power Tool for Organization

Hi! My name is Laurie Beaman and I am one of three Technology Design Specialists in Austin ISD. I previously taught at Navarro High School. I am passionate about supporting teachers in finding ways to leverage technology within their classroom structure that coincide with their instructional priorities and goals. I love seeing ways in which technology is used to inspire students and create connections across our district. I am a parent of two AISD elementary students and married to a phenomenal teacher at LBJ High School. I love the mountains, being outdoors, an amazing book, a great cup o’ joe, and watching football.

When I started using BLEND/Canvas as a teacher, I was thrilled by the abundance of features that it provided and the customization I could make for my classroom context. With all of the options, I focused on what I knew were top priorities in my course and glazed over some of the tailoring I wasn’t sure applied to me. One of the features that I overlooked was Assignment Groups, which seemed to be the equivalent of grade categories in Frontline/Teams. Since Frontline was the gradebook of record and time was limited, I never fully explored how I could leverage assignment groups in my class. 

However, in a meeting with a teacher this week, I revisited Assignment Groups as we looked at the various gradebook filters available. I couldn’t stop thinking about possibilities!  Assignment groups are a way to organize assignments in your course, and they are SIMPLE to set up and adjust. They can be used for you, your students, and/or caregivers/observers to have a clearer view of the inner workings of things that are submitted or graded in BLEND.  This includes BLEND assignments, quizzes, and discussions. Here are some top of mind uses that I thought of as we explored: 

  • Does the BLEND gradebook sometimes make your head hurt or do you find it overwhelming?
  • Do you have a project, unit/interdisciplinary unit or multi unit course review that you want to filter and see progress on?
    • You can create an assignment group specific to that topic, sequence of assignments, or review set that doesn’t disrupt your course modules but allows you to view them in one place in your gradebook. This could also help you have one place to identify which units students are struggling with as they review course material.
  • Would it be helpful for students and observers to know which assignments they still have an opportunity to master and retake?
    • Along with available dates, you could use an assignment group to designate which assignments are no longer available to be turned in. Since assignment groups can be modified at any time (even after students have submitted) , you can update the group with assignments as they are no longer available for students to turn in.

These were just a few uses that were  top of mind! I can’t wait to see how all of you innovators out there take some of these ideas and apply them to your own context. Please share back if you find value or have an idea for the tool (or another BLEND/Canvas feature you’d like to see highlighted). 


Want to explore how you might leverage technology to meet your classroom needs? Reach out to your designated Tech Design Specialist to set up a time to collaborate!

Want to learn more about Assignment Groups? Dig into the BLEND/Canvas guides below.

How do  I add an assignment group in a course?


Using Assignment Groups allows you to organize the assignments in your course. When Assignment Groups are set up you can filter by assignment groups in the Gradebook.

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