CLE User Roles

A role is a collection of permissions that you can assign to specific users in specific contexts. The combination of roles and context define a user's abilities 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.

Roles Permissions Flex Roles

Role Descriptions

The following roles are used in CLE courses; see below for detailed role descriptions. Screen-Shot-2016-05-24-at-3.55.27-PM.png

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 Assistant

  • 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

Content Assistant

  • 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

Grading Assistant

  • 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. Participant role can be assigned by course manager, instructor, instructor (unlisted), course assistant, and content assistant. Category Managers can also assign the Participant role at the category level.

Instructor (unlisted)

  • 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

No Role

  • 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.

Switching Roles

The “switch roles” feature in CLE allows users with Manager roles to switch temporarily to another role from the user menu 'Switch role' so that they can see what the course would look like to someone with that role. Switching roles is not perfect because you remain the same user, and your user may not have things like grades, which will make some student views look different than a real student might see.

Please follow these instructions to view your CLE site in a different role:

1. Go to and login.
2. Enter your course site (under my courses or by searching) and select your course.
3. Click on the wheel in the upper right hand corner of the page to display the drop down menu and select "turn editing on".

4. Locate the arrow located next to your name in the upper right hand corner and click on it.

5. From the dropdown menu select "switch role to..".


6. On the next screen select the role that you wish to switch to.

7. In the right upper corner under your name, you will see the role that you selected.




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