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You are here: Home > Administration > Users > Permissions > Assign System Roles

Assign roles in system allows you to assign roles at a site wide level. Roles assigned at a site wide level apply across the whole Totara site.

For example; a user assigned the global role of Trainer will have this role in every course on the site.

Most likely you will only want to assign the default roles of administrator and course creator at site wide level, though you may create additional roles, such as the inspector role, which require assigning globally.

Administrators can do anything and go anywhere in the site. You should limit the number of people with administrator privileges to a bare minimum.  If a lot of people have administrator access, it’s a recipe for disaster because they can add accounts and courses and change site variables at will.

Course creators can create new courses and assign the role of trainer in them. If you are administering a small Totara site, enabling your colleagues to create their own courses removes you as a potential bottleneck. If you are running a university-wide site, however, using this extensively is not recommended. On a large site it can become difficult to track who is creating legitimate courses and who is abusing the system. A large number of bogus courses will clutter your system and could lead to performance slowdowns.

Global roles are assigned in exactly the same way as course roles including hidden assignments.

Note: Assigning users the global role of learner will result in them being enrolled in every course.

Roles can be assigned in different contexts. The context levels are

  1. System (the entire installation)
  2. Front page (the "site course")
  3. Course Categories
  4. Course Sub-categories
  5. Courses
  6. Blocks and Activities

So for example, if you grant a Learner role to a user in a Course, they will have that role for the course, but also to the lower level Blocks and Activities inside that course  Their actual permissions may depend on other roles and overrides that have been defined.

Locations for assigning roles

Assigning roles is executed in a particular context. A site and course are examples of two different contexts. While the process is similar for each context, the approach to role assignment page may be different. Here are several contexts and ways to find the assign roles.

  • System context: Site Administration > Users > Permissions > Assign system roles
  • Front page context: Site Administration > Front Page > Front Page roles  
  • Course category context: Assign roles link in course categories page
  • Course context: Assign roles link in course administration block
  • Module context: "Locally assigned roles" tab in editing activity page
  • Block context: Assign roles link in course block (with editing turned on)
  • User context: Roles tab in user profile page

The assign roles page lists the names of users assigned to each role (unless there are more than 10 users, in which case this is stated).

Assigning a role

"Learner", "Trainer", "Manager" are some of the predefined roles that come with Totara. The site administrator may have created additional roles.

To assign a role:

  1. Choose the type of role you wish to assign. For example, if we wanted to assign a learner role to Martin, we'd choose "learner" from the list of roles.
  2. Once you have chosen a role, two lists appear: a list of users who currently have that role (learner Demo in the example), and a list of users who don't. We can select Martin in the second list, and use the left-facing arrow button to add Martin to the list of learners. Multiple users may be selected by holding down the Apple or Ctrl key whilst clicking on the users' names.

Removing someone from a role is done by moving the user from the left column to the right.

Hidden assignments

To hide which role a user is assigned to, click the Hidden assignments check box before assigning the role to the user. This feature is useful for example if you don't want everyone with trainer rights listed in the course description. This feature is also very useful for hiding system wide roles from everyone else on the site.

Note: The role assignment is not hidden from admins or trainers i.e. users with the viewhiddenassigns capability.

Beware of assignments that don't make sense

There are many role assignments that do not make sense as the underlying functionality does not exist. Just because you give someone the "right" to do something does not guarantee that the interface or facility actually exists within the context that you have assigned that right. For example, you can assign a user the right to create new categories in the category context, however there is no interface within Totara to do that (category creation is only available at the system level).

Note: Users should only be assigned the role of administrator (i.e. a role with the capability moodle/site:doanything set to allow) in the system context. Users should only be assigned the role of course creator in the system or a course category context.

Multiple assignments

A significant part of the roles infrastructure is the ability to assign a user into multiple roles (at the same time). The capabilities of each role are merged to produce the effective set of capabilities. In particular it is perfectly possible for a user to be both a trainer and learner in the same course.  You should be careful to ensure that if you change a user's role that you remove them from any other roles as required as this will no longer be done automatically.

System roles

Roles assigned in the system context  are called system roles and apply across the entire site, including the front page. For example, a user assigned the system role of trainer will have this role in every course on the site.

In many sites only administrators and course creators are assigned system roles.

Front page roles

You can assign roles and set up role overrides for your front page in exactly the same way as for a course.

There are various ways of enabling logged-in users to participate in front page activities, depending on your Moodle version.  

Assigning a role for a front page activity

To assign a user a role for a front page activity:

  1. Assign the user a front page role, such as learner, in Administration > Front Page > Front Page roles.
  2. Click the "Locally assigned roles" tab in editing activity page for the front page activity.
  3. Choose the type of role you wish to assign.
  4. Use the left-facing arrow button to add a particular user to the list of users with the role.

If a user is unassigned from a front page role AFTER being assigned a role for a front page activity, they remain assigned the role for the front page activity.




Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community.

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