What are Permissions and Roles?

Permissions

Permissions allow users to access features and content within the tools included in a course or collaboration site. Usually, permissions are associated with users' roles within a site. For example, by default, individuals in the Owner and Instructor roles have the ability to view hidden files and folders in the Resources tool, while individuals in the Member or Student roles do not. Similarly, by default, individuals in the Instructor roles have the ability to send messages to the site email address via the Site Email tool, while individuals in the Student role do not.

In many cases, site owners or administrators can modify permissions for the various roles within a particular tool. For example, individuals in the Instructor roles have the ability to modify the permissions in the Site Email tool to allow students to send messages to the Site Email tool.

Note: the Resources and File Drop tools share a single set of permissions. These permissions can be modified by selecting Permissions in the Resources tool.

Roles

Roles are collections of permissions. More basic roles allow users to access posted content and perform basic tasks, while more advanced roles allow users to create and edit content, add site tools, add site participants, and modify permissions for other roles. The most advanced roles are the Owner and Instructor roles; these roles are automatically assigned to the creators of collaboration and course sites, respectively. In addition to the ability to create, edit, and delete content within the site, these roles have the ability to delete the site itself.

If necessary, site owners and administrators can change the roles of the participants in their sites. For more information on changing roles within a site, see How do I change participant roles within a site?

Roles in course sites

The following participant roles are available in course sites:

  • Instructor: Individuals in the Instructor role have full permissions throughout the site, including the ability to publish or unpublish the site; add or remove site tools; add or remove site participants; modify permissions for other roles; create, edit, and delete content; and delete the site itself. By default, the Instructor role is automatically assigned to the creators of course sites, as well as any individuals listed as instructors on course rosters added to course sites.
  • Secondary Instructor: Individuals in the Secondary Instructor role have the same permissions throughout the site as individuals in the Instructor role; however, they do not have the ability to delete the site itself.
  • Teaching Assistant: Individuals in the Teaching Assistant role have significant permissions throughout the site, including the ability to create, edit, and delete content in most tools. By default, they do not have the ability to grade assessments in the Tests & Quizzes tool, add or remove site participants, or edit course rosters.
  • Student: Individuals in the Student role have the ability to access unhidden content in tools such as the Resources tool and the Lessons tool; they also have the ability to access and complete assignments, assessments, and posts in tools such as the Assignments tool, the Tests & Quizzes tool, and the Forums tool. By default, the Student role is automatically assigned to any individuals listed as students on course rosters added to course sites.
  • Waitlisted Student: Individuals in the Waitlisted Student role have the same permissions throughout the site as individuals in the Student role. By default, the Waitlisted Student role is automatically assigned to any individuals listed as waitlisted students on waitlist rosters added to course sites; at the end of the add/drop period, students on the waitlist roster who have not fully enrolled in the course will be removed from the course site. For more information on the Waitlisted Student role, see the help articles on waitlisted students.  
  • Former Student: Individuals in the Former Student role have extremely limited access to the site, and cannot access content in most tools. By default, approximately six weeks after courses conclude, the Former Student role is automatically assigned to any individuals listed as students on the course rosters in the corresponding course sites. This change ensures that any copyrights associated with content in course sites are properly protected. Due to the limited nature of this role, it is not recommended for use in active course sites.  

Roles in collaboration sites

The following participant roles are available in collaboration sites:

  • Owner: Individuals in the Owner role have full permissions throughout the site, including the ability to publish or unpublish the site; add or remove site tools; add or remove site participants; modify permissions for other roles; create, edit, and delete content; and delete the site itself.
  • Administrator: Individuals in the Administrator role have the same permissions throughout the site as individuals in the Instructor role; however, they do not have the ability to delete the site itself.
  • Member: Individuals in the Member role have the ability to access unhidden content in tools such as the Resources tool and the Lessons tool; they also have the ability to upload content in the Resources tool and send messages to the site email address via the Site Email tool. In tools usually used for course activities, such as the Assignments tool and the Tests & Quizzes tool, members have the same permissions as those associated with the Student role.
  • Observer: Individuals in the Observer role have the ability to view unhidden content in tools such as the Resources tool and the Lessons tool, but do not have the ability to create, edit, or submit content.