What is it?
Permissions provide a way of tweaking which roles (e.g. Student, Tutor, Non-Editing Tutor) can do which actions (e.g. view submissions, view names, grade submissions, edit settings) on which elements (e.g. submissions, feedback).
You edit Permissions within the settings of a particular activity or resource.
A role is a collection of permissions that is used to grant particular access to specific users in specific contexts. The combination of roles and context define a specific user's ability to do something on any page. The most common examples are the roles of student and tutor in the context of a course. E.g. a student does not have permission to edit a course, or grade work, but a tutor does.
UCL Moodle contains the following roles.
- Students: who are currently enrolled in a course. They can view course content, participate in activities, submit coursework and view their own grades. The permissions are identical to the Participant role, but with an alternative name.
- Participants: are those from voluntary membership clubs, networks, non-academic Moodle courses or past students. The permissions are identical to the Student role, but with an alternative name.
- Guests: do not need to log in to UCL Moodle to access courses that have been made available to guests, either with an enrolment key (password) or without one. They have minimal privileges, including not being able to see participants lists or user profiles. They have read-only access and cannot participate in any activities.
- Tutors: are academic staff who require edit access and are the default teaching role. They can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. The permissions are identical to the Course Administrator role, but with an alternative name.
- Non-editing tutors: are academic staff, external examiners and Teaching Assistants who can grade student work but DO NOT require edit access. They can teach in courses and grade students, but may not edit content or alter activities.
- Non-editing Tutor (no emails): are academic staff, external examiners and Teaching Assistants who can grade student work but DO NOT require edit access. However, this role also has the addition of not receiving any emails from the course either. All notifications, except messages, are disabled.
Course editor roles:
- Course Administrators: are non-academic staff who require edit access. They can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. The permissions is identical to the tutor role, but with an alternative name.
- Course Administrator (no email): are non-academic staff who require edit access, ONLY at category level, without being inundated by emails. They can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the course administrator (and tutor) roles, except that emails won't be sent from forums, assignments etc.
- Tutors: (see above).
- Leaders: are staff leading on a module or programme. They can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the Course Administrator role, but with an alternative name. Used for academic staff who require edit access.
- Question Sharers: are staff who can share quiz questions amongst courses in a department (category). To assign this role, go to the category and assign roles from the Settings menu. This will allows tutors and course administrators in a department to use their quiz questions within other courses and share them with colleagues.
- Course Administrators:
- Authenticated users: are all users logged in to UCL Moodle.
- Enrolment key-holders: has no permissions and only exists for the purpose of assigning a named enrolment key holder in multi-tutor courses that students will be prompted to contact should they require the enrolment key (password) to access the course. This role may only be assigned to one user per course. If more than one user is assigned the first person in the list will be used. This role is usually assigned to the course administrator or academic responsible for communicating the enrolment key to students.
- Personal Tutors: have a view of their personal tutees (students) MyFeedback reports. However, if they try to access assessments linked from the report, they will need tutor/course admin access to the course to be able to see the assessment details and feedback in context.
- MyFeedback Departmental Administrator: enables departmental administrators to access students' assessment MyFeedback report for an entire faculty or department.
- QAA reviewers: can view any course and its content.
Support staff roles: These roles are mainly at category or site level.
- UCL Support Staff: are Subject Librarians, Faculty Information Support Officers, Personal Tutors, Teaching Assistants and External Examiners who do not need to grade student work. They have read-only access and are NOT able to grade student work or see hidden activities and sections.
- Service Desk Administrators: are members of the UCL ISD Service Desk team, who support UCL staff and students to use UCL Moodle. They can create courses and update user profile details (e.g. names).
- Over-viewing Advisors: are staff from the UCL Digital Education team, who have non-editing teaching permissions to all the courses in UCL Moodle.
- Library Administrators: are Library staff who require edit access to courses in a particular department (category). They can do anything within a course, including enrolling students, editing content, adding activities and grading students. This role is identical to the Tutor and Course Administrator roles, but with an alternative name and only available at category level (faculty/department).
- Digital Education Admin: have site level access to all courses and can upload resources, but can't alter site settings.
- Accessibility assistant: are student assistants working under the oversight of Digital Education to assist staff in making accessibility improvements to Moodle documents and content.
Why use it?
Consider the Restrict Access settings of the resource or activity first. If those don't achieve what you need because, for example,
- you want students to see all submissions to a Workshop activity, rather than just their allocation.
- you want students to be able to view all submissions to an Assignment, rather than just their own.
then turn to Permissions.
Who can use it?
Anyone with an editing role in that Moodle space, such as tutor and course administrator.
Before I start...
Changing permissions on a role, or activity in your course can have far-reaching implications, so you'll need to test this carefully the first time round as follows:
- Request a test Moodle space (via Moodle's Staff Help menu).
- Within it, set up several Moodle Student Test accounts.
How do I change permissions?
- In your Moodle space (if you're new to this, use a test space as mentioned above), Turn Editing On; controls display.
- Click on the activity / resource whose permissions you need to change; its front page displays.
- In its Settings block click Permissions; a long and detailed list of permissions for that activity display (check the title at the top to confirm that you are looking at the intended activity).
- Note that the permissions vary between the different activities and resources.
- In the Capability column, find the permission title which seems to do what you need.
- In its corresponding Risks column check the risks and make decisions.
- In its corresponding Roles With Permission column, add roles using the + (Plus) icon, and remove any roles you yourself have permission to remove using the x (Remove) icon.
- Test by giving your Student Test Accounts the role(s) affected, logging in as them, and checking you have the intended level of access. Go through the activity carefully in the various roles affected and check everything is in order.
- If not, return to the Permissions, make refinements, and test again until it works as you wish.
- Finally, apply these new permissions to the relevant elements on your live Moodle space.
If you find any inaccurate or missing information you can even update this yourself (it's a communal wiki).
If you have a specific question about the tool please contact the Digital Education team.
- As mentioned above, do test carefully on a test Moodle space with test users in different roles.
- Use Permissions only if Restrict Access in the Settings of the activity or resource does not do what you need.
- If your Moodle space has multiple editors, liaise carefully with them about this. It may be helpful to keep a hidden page where you apprise each other of these kinds of changes, titled 'Moodle space configuration' or something meaningful to you all.
Examples and case studies
The UCL Arena Teaching Associates Programme has a Workshop activity where participants submit draft fellowship case studies and give and receive peer feedback. After peers have given each other feedback, if they all agree, then the Workshop permissions are changed so that all participants can browse all submissions and all feedback.
Questions & Answers
Q. How do I get a general idea of what a Moodle course looks like for a particular role, e.g. a student?
A. In Moodle click on your name in the top right corner of the screen and select Switch role to... in the drop-down menu. Then choose the type of role you would like to simulate. Your logged in information, in the top-right of the Moodle page will change to reflect this simulated role.
Note, this does not accurately reflect all aspects of the role's permissions, but gives you a rough idea of what users in that role can see and do. If you need to test what users in particular groups can see, or need more exact testing, then please set up Moodle Student Test accounts instead.
Moodle Student Test accounts