Currently sorting of students (people in course) is by fullname which I find somewhat awkward as most users prefer to see firstname + lastname; however, most lists from the school (such as school rosters) are sorted by lastname. While it makes sense to me to sort by lastname, I think ideally it is best to give the users (i.e. teachers) the option to sort either by lastname, firstname, or username. This could be implemented either at the site or course level (my preference would be the course level so that each teacher can control how the names are sorted; however, AT Wyatt suggested the site level. As I envision it, the field could be added in with the group mode dropdown boxes in /course/edit.php as group members sorted by: with options of - Firstname, Lastname, Username.
I am requesting this because adding group members to the sections was a tedious process for me and my teachers because the list we had been given from the school was the student's official firstname; however, when I had pulled in the enrollment data I used the student's preferred name which means that what was on the teacher's roster as William Jones was in the group listing of people in course as Billy Jones. It was difficult to find Jones and required visually scanning the whole list. Hence, it would have been really helpful to be able to sort by lastname.
Thanks for your consideration of this improvement and let me know if there is anything I can do to support its introduction into Moodle.
Peace - Anthony