Moodle Roles

A role is a collection of permissions for a specific user in a specific context. 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. What you can and cannot do is determined by your role. Specific examples of roles coming into play are explained below.

Why do Moodle roles matter?

Editing Privileges

Certain roles can edit the gradebook, but others cannot. Similarly, only certain roles can edit the course. These privileges are granted based on your role. You can edit your course because your Moodle account is assigned the role of teacher for your course. Your student cannot edit your course because their Moodle account is assigned as student for your course. Moodle roles grant privileges for certain contexts.

Visibility of Courses and Items

When a course is set to hide, only teachers can view the course. Any user with the role of student cannot see a hidden course. If you make a course visible, students can see the course. Changing the visibility of a course requires a few simple steps. Each item and file within a course has individual visibility settings under its common module settings. Activities or resources that are hidden are visible only to teachers, not students.

Teachers vs. Community Teachers

St. Olaf courses on Moodle are taught by users known as teachers. Users in this role can do almost anything within a course, including altering activities and grading students. Non-St. Olaf courses (any course in the category Community Sites) are taught by users known as community teachers. The only differences between teachers and community teachers are:

  • their course type (St. Olaf versus non-St. Olaf),
  • how their students are enrolled (automatically versus manually).

What are the type of roles?

If you are reading this, you are probably in the teacher or community teacher role for your course. The chart below will explain the roles Moodle users can have and what permissions are granted as a result.

  • Can edit entire gradebook
  • Can edit their St. Olaf course
  • Can assign users teacher, non-editing teacher, and TA/grader roles
Community teacher
  • Can edit entire gradebook
  • Can edit their non-St. Olaf course
  • Can edit entire gradebook
  • Can edit their St. Olaf course
  • Can assign users community teacher, non-editing teacher, student, and TA/grader roles
Non-editing teacher
  • Can edit entire gradebook
  • Can view course, but not edit
  • Can edit one grade item at a time in gradebook
  • Can view course, but not edit
  • Can view own grades
  • Can view course


Now that you know a bit about what Moodle roles are and why they matter, take a look at how to begin enrolling users in your course.