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Control Access to Resources and Activities in Moodle

Instructors can control access to resources and activities based on dates and times, on grades earned on previous activities, or they can simply hide items from students until they are ready to be used.

There are three basic ways to control access to course content:

  • Visibility with Hide/Show
    The Hide/Show is available for all Activities and Resources, and affect the visibility of an item to students.
  • Activity settings for date/time
    Date/time settings are available for most Activities, but not for Resources. Date/time settings determine when students may submit to an activity, but still let them see the activity page and any grades that have been posted after the due date has passed. Examples of date/time settings are open and close times for quizzes, and due dates for assignments.
  • Visibility with Restrict access
    You can also control the visibility of an activity and resource using Restrict access.

Important! Hiding an activity using Restrict access or the Hide/Show icon also prevents students from viewing anything about the activity, including grades and due dates. We do not recommend using Restrict access or Hide/Show to end access to graded activities, as grades for the activity may be hidden from students.

Hide/Show an Activity, Resource, or Section

To quickly hide (or show) an Activity, Resource, or Section in your course, use the Hide/Show in the Edit menu for the item. The item will appear grayed-out to instructors, but for students the links to activities or resources will be invisible. To set whether hidden course Sections are shown dimmed.
Note: Graded activities that are hidden do not show in the Grade report for students. To prevent submissions without hiding the activity, see Release an Activity to Students Based on Date/Time, below.

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing links and icons appear on the page.
  2. To hide an item, next to the Resource, Activity, or Section you want to hide, click Edit, then Hide.
    - Hidden Resources or Activities will appear grayed-out to instructors and will not appear at all for students.
    - Hidden Sections may be completely hidden from students, or can show only the Section title depending on the Settings for the course (see Important Settings for your Moodle Course.)
  3. To un-hide an item, next to the Resource, Activity, or Section, click Edit, then Show. The item will again be visible (and clickable) for students.

Release an Activity to Students Based on Date/Time

For most Activities, you can use date/time restrictions to control when students can submit work, while still allowing students to open the activity page and read the activity description, view due dates, view grades, etc.
Note: Resources (such as Files, URLs and Pages) do not have date/time settings. To schedule the release of Resources, see Schedule the Visibility of an Activity or Resource using Restrict Access (below).

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing links and icons appear on the page.
  2. Add a new Activity, or locate an activity already in your course and click Edit, then Edit settings. The Edit settings page will open.
  3. On the Edit settings page, click Expand all (at top right) to expand all the headings on the page.
  4. Under the Availability or Timing heading, look for start and end time settings. (Settings options vary for different activities).
    Note: Date/time settings (if present) are separate from the Restrict access options that appear further down the Edit settings page; We do not recommend using both for the same activity).
  5. Click Save and return to course.

Use Restrict Access to Schedule the Availability of an Activity or Resource

Use Restrict access settings to prevent all access to resources or activities outside of a scheduled time frame. During the period when access is restricted, you have the option to show the link grayed-out, or make it completely hidden from students (as when you hide a link using the Hide/Show icon).
Note: Where possible we recommend using e Availability or Timing settings, if available, for start and end dates for submissions.

We do not recommend using both date/time and Restrict access settings for the same activity. If you do combine them, be sure they do not conflict. 

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing links and icons appear on the page.
  2. Add a new Resource or Activity, or for an existing item click Edit, then select Edit settings. The Edit settings page will open.
  3. On the Edit settings page, under Restrict access, click Add restriction.... The Add restriction... pop-up window will open..
  4. In the pop-up window, click Date. The pop-up window will close and Date options will be added to the Settings page under the Restrict access heading.
  5. For Access restrictions, select Student must match the following.
  6. For Date, select from or until to set a date restriction, and select the a date and time from the drop-down menus.
    Note: Start (from) and end (until) restrictions must be added separately. (See step 8.)
  7. (Optional) By default, restricted items are dimmed and not clickable with the release date below the link .To hide the activity entirely from students outside the availability dates, click the Eye icon (Moodle hide icon). The Eye icon will change to show a line through it (Moodle show icon) indicating the item will be hidden from students completely.
    Note: Hidden activities are completely hidden for students—on the course page, and in the gradebook.
  8. (Optional) To add another restriction click Add restriction... and repeat the above procedure.
  9. Click Save and return to course.
  10. To preview the results as a student, on the the Administration block, click Switch role to..., then Student.

Control the Visibility of an Activity or Resource Based on Grade

Use Restrict access settings to release an activity or resource to students based on the grade(s) they receive on a previous activity or activities:

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing links and icons appear on the page.
  2. Add a new Resource or Activity, or for an existing item click Edit, then select Edit settings. The Edit settings page will open.
  3. On the Edit settings page, under Restrict access, click Add restriction.... The Add restriction... pop-up window will open.
  4. In the pop-up window, click Grade. The pop-up window will close and options for restricting by grade will appear on the Course settings page under the Restrict access heading..
  5. For Grade, from the Choose drop-down, select the Activity or Category total that must receive a grade. 
  6. Select must be ≥ , and/or must be ≤, and enter the % value students must have scored on the conditional activity before receiving access to this activity.
    For example, if you want to provide a make-up activity for students who scored between 50-75% on a previous quiz, enter 50 in the first box, and 76 in the second box.
  7. (Optional) To add a restriction for an additional graded activity, click Add restriction... and repeat the procedure.
  8. Click Save and return to course.
  9. To preview the results as a student, on the Administration block, click Switch role to..., then Student.

Release an Activity or Resource to Specific Students

You can tailor access to activities and resources by Groups or Groupings of students using Restrict access settings. For example, you could have some students who get early access to an activity or resource, or some students who are allowed an extended deadline. This method of releasing activities can be useful for accommodations, make-up work, advanced work, extra credit, or independent studies. You can use this feature to release an item to a particular Group, without putting the Group in a Grouping (as required when using Common Module settings).

Note: There are more efficient methods for accomplishing the following tasks:

To assign an activity to members of a particular group or grouping:

  1. Create the Group and add only the user(s) you want to be able to access the activity or resource (see Create & Modify Groups in Moodle).
    Or, create a Grouping of more than one Group who you want to be able to access the activity or resource (see Create Groupings in Moodle).
  2. Click Turn editing on (at top right). 
  3. Add or locate the Activity or Resource that you want to make available, or for an existing item, click Edit, then Edit settings. The Edit settings page will open.
  4. On the Edit settings page, under Restrict access, click Add restriction.... The Add restriction... pop-up window will open.
  5. Click Group or Grouping. The pop-up window will close and a new restriction option will appear on the Settings page.
  6. From the Group or Grouping drop-down menu, select the group or grouping for which you want to set access. 
  7. Click Save and return to course.

Tip: To set up different sets of conditions for different groups, use Restriction sets.