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Roles in Moodle

There are several distinct roles individuals can have in a Moodle course. Each role provides access to a specific set of capabilities.

  • Your status in a class in SPIRE determines the role you are initially given in a Moodle course: Student, Non-editing teacher (Teaching Assistant), or Teacher (Instructor).
    Note: Teaching assistants who need access to the gradebook and grading functions must be listed in SPIRE as a Teaching Assistant to be given the Non-editing teacher role in Moodle. Co-instructors who need access to the gradebook and grading functions must be listed in SPIRE as a Primary or Secondary Instructor to be given the Teacher role in Moodle.
  • Instructors have the ability to assign additional roles to people already enrolled in a course. Course Designer, Course Assistant, Student - Unlimited quiz timeStudent - with Incomplete, Access Quickmail Block, and Post to Announcements Forum can be added by an instructor to provide additional privileges for particular course members, either for the whole course, or for a specific activity.
  • For individuals who are not enrolled in a course through SPIRE, special access may be applied under limited circumstances. The instructor can request Course Designer, Contributor, or Temporary Speaker access for an unenrolled individual.
  • Instructors can activate Guest access for their courses, which allows limited access to the course, but does not provide access to student data or allow guests to participate in activities.

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

Roles Available in Moodle at UMass Amherst


If you are listed as the Primary Instructor, Secondary Instructor, or Section Assistant for a class in SPIRE, you will be enrolled as a Teacher for the course in Moodle.

Teachers have full access to build and facilitate a course in Moodle. They can add resources and activities, change settings, enter grades, and configure the gradebook. Teachers have the ability to provide additional privileges for other course members by adding roles for users, either for the entire course or for a particular activity. Teachers can also allow guests limited access to their course. For details, see Request Your Moodle Course - Overview.

Non-editing Teacher

If you are listed as a Teaching Assistant [WCT (Moodle/BB only] for a class in SPIRE, you will be enrolled as a Non-editing teacher for the course in Moodle.

Non-editing teachers can view and grade student submissions, and participate in activities like forums, databases, glossaries and wikis. However, they may not add or alter activities or resources.

Note: The primary instructor for the course, who has the role of Teacher, can grant additional access to Non-editing teachers. For details, see Teaching Assistant Access to Moodle.

TA - Manage Gradebook

A graduate and undergraduate TA enrolled in Moodle courses as a Non-editing teacher can view student submissions and enter grades in the Moodle gradebook, but cannot set up categories or calculations, and cannot export data.

Instructors can add the role of TA-Manage gradebook to give a TA full access to the gradebook, comparable to a Teacher's access.

Note: This role can only be added for Non-editing teachers (TAs). For details, see Teaching Assistant Access to Moodle.

Course Designer

A Course Designer can add activities and resources to a course, but cannot participate in the course, interact with students, or access the gradebook.

Instructors can request Course Designer access for departmental staff or student assistants who are not associated with their course in SPIRE but need to help build a Moodle course. To arrange for Course Designer access for an assistant who is not enrolled in the course through SPIRE, see Request Course Designer Access to Moodle.

Instructors can also add the role of Course Designer to someone already enrolled in their course who needs to help build or edit elements of the course. For example, the role can be added for a TA with the Non-editing teacher role so that they can upload files. It can also be assigned to particular students so that they can be involved in creating or editing parts of the course site (use with caution). For details, see Assign Roles to Individuals in Your Moodle Course.


If you are enrolled in a class in SPIRE as a student, you will be enrolled as a Student in the Moodle course for that class.

Students in Moodle can participate in course activities and download course materials. Some activities such as Assignments and Quizzes, are submitted by individual students. Other activities, such as Wiki, Database, Glossary, and certain types of Forums may be collaborative. Each student can only view their own grades in Moodle. For details, see Access to Moodle for Students.

Student - Unlimited Quiz Time

Instructors can add the role Student - Unlimited quiz time for students already enrolled in a course to allow them unlimited time in quiz activities, regardless of the time limit set in the quiz settings. The role can be applied at the course or activity level to accommodate students who must be afforded more time than the rest of the class in quiz-taking. The amount of time they spend on a given quiz is still tracked on that quiz’s Results page, and they are still bound by the range of dates the quiz is open. For details, see Assign Roles to Individuals in Your Moodle Course.

Student - with Incomplete

By adding the role of Student - with Incomplete, an instructor can give an enrolled student access to the course when the course is not normally available (e.g., after the end of the semester). Note: The student must click Show all courses to see the link to the course in their My Courses menu on the Moodle home page. The course will be listed in the Navigation tray under My courses, with an icon (hidden-icon.png) indicating the course is "hidden." For details, see Assign Roles to Individuals in your Moodle Course.

Access Quickmail Block

Instructors can add the Access Quickmail Block role for certain course members who normally would not be able to use Quickmail. For example, a departmental assistant with the role of Course Designer with the added role of Access Quickmail Block could send email to course members.

Post to Announcements Forum

Instructors can add the role of Post to Announcements Forum for a course member such as a Course Assistant, Contributor, or Temporary Speaker. Note: For privacy reasons, Post to Announcements cannot be assigned to a Course Designer if that is their only role in the course. For details, see Assign Roles to Individuals in your Moodle Course.

Course Assistant

Course Assistant is a special role that can only be assigned to an already-enrolled user from within an activity or resource. It can be used to elevate a student to have a teacher-like role in a specific activity (such as moderating a Forum in the course). Course Assistants can apply grades from within an activity (such as an Assignment), but do not have access to the Gradebook. For details, see Assign Roles to Individuals in Your Moodle Course.


Guests have minimal privileges in Moodle courses. Guests cannot participate in activities or view students’ contributions to the course, and do not have access to sensitive student data such as names or grades.

The instructor for a course can activate Guest access and set a password to share with invited guests. This login will enable the guest to view materials posted in the course and see which activities the instructor has included without jeopardizing student privacy. Guests do not need to have an IT NetID. To view all precautions regarding this role, see Guest Access to Moodle Courses.

Temporary Speaker

Temporary Speaker access allows an off-campus guest, such as a visiting scholar or professional, to participate in activities with students. The guest will have access for up to one (1) week. The instructor for the course must submit a Request Temporary Speaker Access form.
Note: This form only needs to be used for individuals who do not have an active IT NetID. For an on-campus guest, request Contributor access.


A Contributor has the same level of access to resources and activities in Moodle as a StudentContributor access is intended for use by visiting scholars, guest speakers from your department, students fulfilling requirements for an incomplete or taking an Independent Study, or others who need to actively participate in the course. Contributors must have an IT NetID. To request Contributor access, the instructor for the course must submit the Request Contributor Access form.