A role is a collection of permissions defined for the whole system that you can assign to specific users in specific contexts. The combination of roles and context define a specific user's ability to do something on any page. The most common examples are the roles of student and teacher in the context of a course. CLE course participants, including UCSF students, faculty, and staff, have specific roles which dictate what can and cannot be done in a CLE course.
Courses are managed by Category Managers, who can perform actions higher than that of Managers and Instructors. If you are a Manager or Instructor and need to change something in your course but don't have the ability, please connect with your Category Manager.
- Managers can access courses and modify them (essentially do anything), but they usually do not participate in courses. The Manager role is designed to provide course administration staff (typically not Instructors) with the ability to manage courses. Managers do not receive email notifications (e.g., for forum posts). Managers can log in as (i.e., masquerade) other users in the courses they manage. The Manager role can assign the Instructor role. Managers can assign the following roles: Instructor, Course Assistant, Content Assistant, Grading Assistant, Student, Participant, SOM Course Staff
- Instructors can do anything within a course, including adding and modifying the activities and resources, and grading students. Users with the Instructor role are listed in course summaries. Instructors cannot assign the Instructor role, but can assign the following roles: Course Assistant, Content Assistant, Grading Assistant, Student, Participant
- Course Assistants can do almost everything an Instructor can do within a course, including changing the activities and grading students. Course Assistants cannot assign roles with editing capabilities. The Course Assistant role can also be assigned at the category level by Category Managers. Course Assistants can assign the following roles: Student, Participant
- The Content Assistant role can do a subset of what the Course Assistant role can do within a course. Content Assistants can add and modify resources and activities, add/edit questions and quizzes, add/edit questionnaires, edit course settings, and add/modify/delete blocks. Course Assistants cannot grade quizzes or assignments or access the gradebook. Content Assistants can assign the following roles: Student, Participant
- The Grading Assistant role can do a subset of what the Course Assistant role can do. Grading Assistants can grade students (quizzes, assignments) and can access the gradebook. Grading assistants cannot add or modify resources or activities, and cannot assign roles.
- Students can access resources and activities, as well as view their grades. Students cannot modify resources and activities, and cannot assign roles.
- Participants have fewer privileges than students. Participants can unenroll themselves from courses (when self- or manually-enrolled) and can participate in forums. Participants cannot take quizzes or submit assignments and do not appear in the gradebook. Participants can be assigned by Category Managers at the category level.
- This role (formerly known as SOM Course Staff) replicates the Instructor role, but users with this role are not listed in course overviews. Instructor (unlisted) can do anything within a course, including adding, modifying and deleting resources and activities, and grading students. Instructors (unlisted) can assign these roles: Course Assistant, Content Assistant, Grading Assistant, Student, Participant
- If no role is assigned, then the user can only access course content (resources, files, etc.). Course activities (e.g., forums, assignments, quizzes) are not accessible. The user will also not appear in the gradebook.
The following are special roles that can be assigned as noted to provide extra capabilities:
- Cohort Managers can only manage (create, modify, delete) cohorts at the category level. This role has no other capabilities; therefore, if users with this role need other capabilities within courses, they need be to assigned other roles (e.g., Course Assistant, Content Assistant, Instructor). Only Category Managers can assign Cohort Managers, and only at the category level within their categories.
Ilios Sync User
- An Ilios Sync User can apply and configure the Ilios sync enrollment plugin. This role has no other capabilities; therefore, it must be co-assigned with other roles. The Ilios Sync User can only be co-assigned with roles that can manage course enrollment: Manager, Instructor, Course Assistant, Content Assistant. Note:While the Ilios Sync User role can be co-assigned with other roles (e.g., Grading Assistant, Student) these other roles will not be able to assign the Ilios sync enrollment plugin since they can't access Enrollment Methods. Only Category Managers can assign the Ilios Sync User role. The role can be assigned at the category level, or at the course level.
- The Question Builder role allows the user to add and modify questions stored in category-level question bank categories. In addition, the user also has access to, and can therefore use, these questions when building quizzes. This role can only be assigned at the category level, and only by a Category Manager. Since question categories can only be accessed from within courses, and since this role has no other capabilities, any user with the Question Builder role must also be assigned a role within a course (usually, Manager, Instructor, Course Assistant). The course must be within the category where the Question Builder role was assigned.
- This is a very special role. It can only be assigned at the category level and only by site administrators. The assignment of the Ilios Participant role also only takes place using a special administrative plugin -- the Ilios Category Assignment tool. Using this role is a way to provide members of non-student Ilios users with participant-level access to all courses within a category. Ilios Participants assigned in this way are not actually enrolled into these courses. They appear as Other Users, not enrolled users (this mainly means that these courses will not appear in the users' course lists). For example, the School of Medicine is using this process to provide all non-student SOM Ilios users (over 4000 users), with access to all courses within the SOM category. As new non-student members are added to SOM Ilios, they are automatically synced to the SOM category.
These roles are used in collaboration spaces (i.e., not regular academic courses).
- The Leader of a collaboration space has the highest level of capabilities within a space. It is analogous to the Instructor role. Leaders can assign the following roles: Leader, Member
- A Member of a collaboration space has the lower level of capabilities within a space. It is analogous to the Student role.
Note: When setting up a collaboration space with self-enrollment, the Default assigned role should be set to Member. In this way, when users self-enroll in the space, they will be assigned the Member role.
Using Flex Roles
Flex roles allow Category Managers to provide extra capabilities to existing course roles. By using a flex role, course managers can extend user capabilities on a course-by-course basis. Flex roles can only be assigned by Category Managers.
Here are a couple examples:
- You have a small group of students in a course (i.e., they are assigned the Student role) that need to be able to download assignment submissions -- and only that. You don't want to co-assign the Content Assistant role since this will give the students far too many capabilities, such as the ability to read quiz questions. Flex roles come in handy here. You can co-assign a flex role to these students (who already have the Student role). Then, in Course administration > Users > Permissions, set the GRADE ASSIGNMENT (mod/assign:grade) capability to Allow for the just-assigned flex role. You can also rename the flex role in the course settings so it has a more meaningful name (e.g., "Assignment assistant"). Students who are now co-assigned the new flex role will be able to download assignment submissions.
- You have a course that has many quizzes. You have enrolled a large number of Participants, who can view content on the course. But they can't preview quizzes, because the Participant role can't preview quizzes. You could override the relevant permissions for the Participant role in the course so Participants could preview quizzes. But perhaps you only want a few of the Participants to be able to preview quizzes. This is where a flex role can come in handy. Modify a flex role (perhaps rename it "Quiz Previewer") so that it can preview quizzes. Co-assign this Quiz Previewer flex role to those Participants you want to be able to preview quizzes, and viola, these Participants -- and only these Participants -- will be able to preview this course's quizzes.
Step-by-Step Instructions (using the example above)
1. Go to the course where you want to use a flex role.
2. Go to the Role renaming section at the bottom of the course settings page. Rename the flex role you plan to use. This step is not required, but recommended since it will help you keep track of what the flex roles do.
3. Now, go to Permissions (under the gear icon on the Participants page) and select the role whose permissions you want to change. This step is important, since if you don't change what a flex role can do, it won't do anything.
4. After selecting the role, you can limit the number of capabilities that are listed by filtering for the one(s) you want to change. Then, change the permissions for the capabilities you want to change. In this case, we are changing mod/assign:grade to ALLOW (this will permit those with this role to download assignments). Make sure you save your changes.
5. Now that you have the flex role set up the way you want, it's time to co-assign it to users in your course. Go to the Participants page and co-assign the flex role to a user with an existing role:
Once the flex role has been co-assigned, this is how the enrollment will appear. Note that both roles are now assigned to the user.
Note that it only makes sense to co-assign a flex role alongside an existing role that cannot do what the flex role does. In this example, the Student role cannot download assignments, so by co-assigning this flex role, you are adding the assignment download capability to users with the Student role. It would make no sense to co-assign this flex role to a user who has the Instructor role since Instructors can already download assignments. This would be redundant.
This example is fairly simple in that only one capability needs to be changed. There may be times where the permissions for multiple capabilities need to be changed. Since working with roles can be rather complicated, please contact LTG or Brian if you need any assistance in setting this up.
Testing: Once you have set up the flex role and are ready to use it, you should first do some testing to make sure it behaves the way you want. This can be done in a couple of ways. The first is using a test account. Enroll a test account into the course, assign it the main role (e.g., Student), then co-assign the flex role. Test that it works how you expect by logging in with the test account (e.g., on another browser). The second method is to take advantage of the Log in as feature. Assign the flex role to a user who is already enrolled in the course, then log in as that user and confirm that the flex role is working as you want.
Multiple Flex Roles: Because there are three flex roles, it's possible to use more than one in a course. For example, in the same course, you might have one group of students that needs to download assignments, but you also have another group that needs to be able to author exam questions. You can assign one flex role for assignment downloads, and assign another for question authoring.
Role Assignments: Please note that flex roles can't be used to extend role assignments. Which roles can assign which roles is set at the system level. For example, if you want a role to be able to assign a role it can't by default (e.g., the Content Assistant role assigning the Instructor role), a flex role won't help in this situation.
Caveats: It might not be possible to create a flex role that can add a very specific capability. It will depend on whether the capabilities are granular enough. For example, in the assignment assistant example above, the permission change that was made will not only allow a student to download assignment submissions, but also access the grades for that assignment. It's not possible to prohibit assignment grade access without prohibiting assignment submission downloads. You will need to decide whether or not allowing assignment grade access is a problem.
Please Note: Flex roles can only be assigned by Category Managers. And remember that, by itself, a flex role doesn't do anything until overrides are enabled.