Keywords:  permission, access, editing, moderating, view, edit, role, grant, demote, actions, activities, resource, activity

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.

Participant roles:

Teaching roles:

Course editor roles:

Administrative roles:

Reviewer roles:

Support staff roles: These roles are mainly at category or site level.

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,

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:

How do I change permissions?

  1. In your Moodle space (if you're new to this, use a test space as mentioned above), Turn Editing On; controls display.
  2. Click on the activity / resource whose permissions you need to change; its front page displays.
  3. 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).
  4. Note that the permissions vary between the different activities and resources.
  5. In the Capability column, find the permission title which seems to do what you need.
  6. In its corresponding Risks column check the risks and make decisions.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. If not, return to the Permissions, make refinements, and test again until it works as you wish.
  10. Finally, apply these new permissions to the relevant elements on your live Moodle space.

Further guidance on Roles and Permissions is available from moodledocs.

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.


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.

Further roles FAQs are available on moodledocs.

Further information

See also:

Moodle Student Test accounts