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1.1.2 Roles

The next link in the Administration block is “Assign Roles”, but before we can discuss this link, we need to explain what roles are. Moodle now uses a set of Roles throughout its system. Roles are mostly managed and maintained by your system administrator, but as a teacher, you do need to know the basic concept of the roles. A role is basically a collection of permissions defined for the whole site that you can assign to specific users in specific contexts.

For example, you may have a Role called "Teacher" that is set up to allow teachers to do certain things (and not others). Once this role exists, you can assign it to someone in a course to make them a "Teacher" for that course. You could also assign the role to a user in the course category to make them a "Teacher" for all the courses under that category, or assign the role to a user just in a single forum, giving that user those capabilities just in that forum.

To better understand this, we should talk about contexts. Contexts are the "areas" in Moodle where roles can be assigned to people. They are arranged in a hierarchical fashion, with permissions inherited from "higher" to "lower" contexts.

1. Site (System)
2. Course Categories
3. Course Sub-categories
4. Courses
5. Blocks and Activities

So… if a user was defined as a “Teacher” role for a Course Category, they would be a teacher in all of the course sub-categories, courses and blocks and activities that resided beneath that particular Course Category.

By default, when your course is created and you are assigned as the teacher for that course by your administrator, you will have the role of “teacher” for your course. When students enroll in your course, they will have the role of “student” for your course. Other roles that exist include a “non-editing teacher” and a “guest”. Your system administrator can also create any additional non-conventional roles as necessary.

Why is this important to you? Well… as a teacher in your class, you will be able to assign roles for all the blocks and activities in your class (as well as for the actual course itself). So, if you wanted to allow a student teacher in your class to grade assignments, but not alter activities… you could set their role for the course to be “non-editing teacher”. Or, if you wanted to set up a forum where one of your students had total control in running the forum, you could set their role for just that activity to be “teacher”. Then, they could edit all the forum settings… but they would still remain as a student for the rest of your course. Basically, roles simply give you the flexibility to decide who gets to do what.