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Assign Roles to Individuals in Your Moodle Course

Instructors can add abilities for individual users enrolled in their course by adding a "role."  Roles can be added at the course level, or only for a particular resource or activity. Roles are "additive"; they add new privileges without blocking what the user can already do. For example, teaching assistants start out as Non-editing teachers. If you add the role of Course Designer they will still be able to grade student work, and will also be able to upload course files, and edit activities.

Roles available are:

  • Course Designer can upload materials and add content to a course.
  • TA - Manage Gradebook, in addition to directly entering grades, can export student data and edit grade categories and calculations. Note: This role can only be added for TAs.
  • Course Assistant can participate in activities and interact with students. Course Assistants can apply grades from within an activity (such as an Assignment), but do not have access to the Gradebook.*
    Note: This role can only be assigned to an already-enrolled user from within an activity or resource.
  • Student - Unlimited quiz time has unlimited time to complete quizzes in Moodle, regardless of the time limit set in the quiz settings.
  • Student - with Incomplete can access a course when the course is not generally available to students, e.g., after the end of the semester. Note: To access the course, the student must click Show all courses to see the link to the course in their My Courses block on the Moodle home page.
  • Access Quickmail Block allows an individual course member to send email to course members from the Quickmail block without allowing all students to access Quickmail.
  • Post to Announcements can post to the Announcements forum (formerly called the News forum). Note: This role cannot be added to an individual who only has a Course Designer role in the course.

For a guide to role capabilities see Role Permissions in Moodle.


* Important: Because adding roles may allow access to student posts, assignments and other work, it should be exercised only when federal FERPA privacy rules will not be broken. In accordance with FERPA, all University employees are legally and ethically obligated to protect the confidentiality of student records. For more on FERPA and how to obtain certification to ensure that you are familiar with the provisions of the law and that you are prepared for the day-to-day challenges of protecting confidential student information, see About FERPA Certification.


Note: Teaching Assistants and Co-instructors who need access to the gradebook and grading functions must be listed in SPIRE as a Teaching Assistant or Secondary Instructor to be given the Non-editing Teacher or Teacher role in Moodle.

Add a Role at the Course Level

Adding a role at the course level grants broad permissions to the selected user. The most common uses are:

  • Allow a Non-editing Teacher (TA) to upload materials and add content to a course (Course Designer).
  • Allow a Non-editing Teacher (TA) to have full access to the gradebook (TA - Manage Gradebook).
  • Give a Student unlimited time on any quiz assigned in the course (Student - Unlimited quiz time).
  • Give a Student access to a  to a previous semester's course and allow them to complete assigned work. (Student - with Incomplete).
  • Allow a course member to use the Quickmail block (Access Quickmail Block).
  • Allow a course member to post in the Announcements forum (Post to Announcements).

Note: It is not recommended to add Course Designer at the course level for students enrolled in the course for credit. To allow a student to facilitate a particular Activity or contribute a Resource, see Assign a Role to a Student for a Particular Resource or Activity below.

To add a role at the course level:

  1. From your course home page, go to the Administration block and click Users, then Enrolled Users. The Enrolled users page will open. 
  2. Locate the individual for whom you would like to add a role. The list may be more than one page for a large class.  You can sort the list by clicking the top-left header to sort by First name, Last name or Email address.
  3. To the right of the person's name, in the Roles column, click +. The Assign Roles pop-up will open.
  4. To add a role, click the role name. The Assign roles pop-up will close. The added role will appear next to the previously existing roles.
  5. To remove a role, click X next to that role for a particular user. The Confirm role change pop-up will open.
  6. Click Remove. The Confirm role pop-up will close and the role will no longer be listed for that user.

Assign a Role to a Student for a Particular Resource or Activity

Adding a role at the item level grants permissions to a user only for that activity or resource. Common uses of this feature include: 

  • To allow a particular student to add a resource such as a folder of readings, or build an activity such as a quiz, assign the student the Course Designer role for that activity.
  • To allow a particular student to facilitate an activity, for example, to lead a discussion forum, assign the student the Course Assistant role for that activity. Note: Because Course Assistants can apply grades from within an activity (such as an Assignment) and can access student discussion posts, assignment submissions, and other work, the role should only be assigned when FERPA privacy rules will not be broken.  
  • To allow a particular student unlimited time to complete a particular Quiz, assign the Student - Unlimited quiz time role for that activity.

To add a role for a student (or students) for a particular Resource or Activity:

  1. On your course homepage, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing links and icons will appear.
  2. Locate the activity or resource you would like the student to access and click the Assign Roles icon (Assign roles icon) for that item on your course page. The Assign Roles in... page will open.
  3. On the Assign Roles in... page, click the role you want to add: Course Designer, Course Assistant, or Student - Unlimited quiz time. The Assign role page will open.
  4. In the Potential users list (at right), click the name of the person for whom you want to add the role. The name will become highlighted.
  5. Click < Add (at the center of the page). The name will move out of the Potential users list and into the Existing users list (at left).
  6. To remove a name from the Existing users list and return it to the Potential users list, click the Name in the left list then click Remove >.
  7. When you are done, click Back to the list of all roles (at bottom left). The individuals for whom you added roles will appear to the right of the role's description under Users with role.