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Guest Access to Moodle Courses

The instructor of a Moodle course can configure the course settings to allow Guest access, then share the course URL and a custom password with those they would like to be able to view the course.

Guests have minimal privileges in Moodle courses. Guests cannot participate in activities, view students’ contributions to the course, or view sensitive student data (e.g., names or grades).
Note: If you have someone participating in your class who needs to see student work or interact with students, they should be given a more official role. This can be done through SPIRE (e.g., auditors, TAs, or co-instructors) or through a special account request (e.g., unofficial course assistants or students working on an incomplete). For more information, see Access to Moodle - Overview.

Before Enabling Guest Access

Before allowing guests to access your course, it is your obligation to understand student privacy and copyright regulations.

Protect Student Privacy

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), all University employees are legally and ethically obligated to protect the confidentiality of student records. In particular, names of students and their work should not be exposed to anyone outside the class without the students’ consent.

Caution: With a few exceptions, activities and blocks in Moodle that would reveal student identities are automatically closed to guests. If any of the following are used in your course, and Guest access is enabled, you may address the problem as follows:

  • Latest News block: Remove the block or change permissions to prevent guests from viewing the Latest News block in your course.
  • Comments block: Use a Forum activity instead or change permissions to prevent guests from viewing the Comments block in your course.
  • Glossary and Database activities: These activities may reveal author's names. If students have contributed content to a Glossary or Database, you should change permissions to prevent Guest access. For assistance with changing guest permissions to ensure that student privacy is protected, contact the Instructional Media Lab at instruct@umass.edu or 413-545-2823.

Limit Access to Copyrighted Materials

Instructors must also consider that guests may be able to see copyrighted materials that have been posted under Fair Use. By increasing the number of people who can see this copyrighted material, an Instructor increases the risk that the copyright holder will complain and the use of the copyrighted materials will be found to be “unfair.” If using copyrighted materials under fair use, Instructors should limit the guests who have access to their course or hide these materials from Guests.

For assistance changing the permissions for particular resources so that they will be hidden from Guests, please contact the Instructional Media Lab at instruct@umass.edu or 413-545-2823.

Set up Guest Access (Instructors Only)

  1. Log in to Moodle and go to the course for which you wish to enable Guest access.
  2. Locate and click on Course Management (black gear icon , top right). The Course management panel will open.
  3. Under Course Settings select All course administration. The Course Administration page will open.
  4. Locate and click the Users tab, then click on Enrollment methods. The Enrollment methods page will open.
  5. On the Enrollment methods page, if you have not yet enabled Guest access for the course, the Guest access method will appear grayed out. Click on the Settings icon (enrollment method icon) to open the Guest access page.
  6. On the Guest access page, select yes to Allow guest access.
  7. Enter a password (required). Passwords must have 8 characters, and contain at least 1 digit, 1 lowercase letter, 1 uppercase letter, and 1 non-alphanumeric letter.
    Note: If you forget the password, return to this page and select the Unmask check box next to the password to view it.
  8. Click Save changes. You will be returned to the Enrollment methods page.
  9. Return to your course page and in your browser's address box, select the URL, then right-click your selection and choose Copy. 
     (click to enlarge)
  10. Paste the URL into a document that you can easily locate. You will share the URL and guest password with individuals who you want to allow to access your course as a Guest.
  11. To test Guest access for your course, log out of Moodle (or open a different browser) and try to log in as a Guest as described here: Log in as a Guest to a Moodle Course.
  12. Once you have successfully tested logging into your course as a Guest, share the URL for your course page and the password with your guests to allow them to view your course.
    Note: You may also want to send your guest(s) the link to our help page: Log in as a Guest to a Moodle Course.