User Roles and Access Rights in Moodle


There are several user roles in Moodle 2 at UNSW, and each role has different access permissions.

This page outlines the different:

  • user roles
  • user access rights and
  • advanced functionality and customisation available.



Step by step instructions

Outlined below are the different user roles available in Moodle:


Instructors have access to all features and functions in a course, so they can perform all design, development, teaching and maintenance tasks, including course backup and rollover.

However, instructors are not permitted to:

  • create courses
  • enrol users (e.g. staff/students/guests) in a course. If they are academic staff they can, however, add staff to a course in myUNSW. Follow these instructions. (For permission (in both myUNSW and Moodle) to do this, apply to Academic Administration. Your Head of School or Associate Dean, Education, will have to sign off on your application.)
  • change any data that has been placed in the course via the UNSW NSS data feeds
  • restore a copy of a course with all the enrolments.


If as an Instructor, you want your tutors to be able to edit course content, contact your school admin staff advising course code and the name of the person whose role needs to be changed to that of Teaching Assistant. If the Academic Admin tab displays to you in myUNSW, you may be able to manage the change in the roles yourself, by following these Instructions.


Instructors can view their own courses as students would see them, by following the steps below. However, please note this view does not always reflect exactly what a student will see.

  1. In the Settings block, under Switch role to, click Student.
  2. View the part of the course you need to view as a student.
  3. When you have completed viewing the course as a student, click Return to my normal role either: in the Settings block or at the top right of the page.



Sometimes you need to see exactly what an individual user will see on screen in Moodle—for example, in order to duplicate an error which that user is experiencing. To do this, you can log in as that individual user—if you have instructor access to the relevant course. (If you have TELT Administrator access, you should use the "log in as" instructions for that role, at the bottom of this page.)

You cannot log in as a student user to a course that you have not released to students. This feature can only be used in available courses. In an unreleased course, the closest you can come to the student experience is to Switch role to Student in the Settings block, as described above.
  1. Log in as the course instructor.
  2. In the Navigation block, under My courses > [course name], click Participants.
  3. On the Participants page, in the First name/Surname column, locate the user you want to log in as, and click their name.
  4. On the user's profile page, in the Settings block, under Profile settings for [student's name], select Log in as.
  5. On the You are logged in as... page, click Continue.
When using Moodle as the user, remember that all your actions will be recorded as being performed by that user, not by "administrator on behalf of [that user]". If you perform any test postings or uploads, remember to remove them afterwards.
  1. When you've finished using Moodle as the user, at the upper right of the page click the link for your name. You will be logged back in to Moodle as the course instructor.

Summary table of Teaching Assistant and Tutor permissions

Role Turn Editing On View Gradebook Edit Gradebook Re-grade Quizzes Grade Moodle Assignments Grade Turnitin Assignments Rate Forums
Teaching Assistant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Grading Tutor No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Non-Grading Tutor No No No No No No


  • To grade an assignment, a Grading Tutor clicks the assignment's heading link in the Gradebook, or accesses the assignment’s Grading summary page using the assignment link on the course home page. A Non-Grading Tutor can only access the assignment’s Grading summary page from the link on the course main page. From the Grading summary page, both a Grading and a Non-Grading Tutor click View/grade all submissions. The marks they enter on the assignment's Grading page will display in the Gradebook.
  • A Grading Tutor can override quiz grades in exactly the same way as Instructor or Teaching Assistant can - the only difference is that, because a Grading Tutor cannot edit the Gradebook, they cannot change the quiz grade just by changing the total in the gradebook. To re-grade a quiz, an Instructor, a Teaching Assistant or a Grading Tutor must click the quiz link from inside the Grader report. A Non-Grading tutor cannot view the Grader report, so they cannot re-grade a quiz.

Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistants have similar privileges to Instructors, but they cannot:

  • control course availability
  • perform course rollover tasks
  • delete learning activities
  • change course appearance settings e.g. topic format

They have full access to all functions within the course files area, including deletion of files. They also have access to the Grade Centre.


  • Grading Tutors have permissions within Moodle as follows:
    • No Turn editing on button displays to them, so they may not edit resources, activities etc.
    • In the Gradebook, they can use the Separate Groups filter to view the grades for the entire class or for individual groups. That is, they are not restricted to viewing only the student records in the group they have been added to themselves, but can see all student records in all groups.
    • They can access to all student submissions, not just those of their own group. They can filter the view by selecting a group from the Separate Groups drop-down list and see submissions by all students in that group.
    • They can grade assignments for all groups. However, if you set up students in groups and make the assignments group assignments,  Grading Tutors can filter the list of submissions by their group and grade only the assignment submissions for their group.
    • They cannot edit the Gradebook. Grading Tutors can only grade assignments using the View/grade all submissions link on the assignment grading page - they cannot perform any grade administration.
    • They cannot log in as any another user.
    Can see the full list of students and staff in the Participants list.
  • Non-Grading Tutors can access all content and use most tools in the same way as students. They cannot edit course content, however, and they have no grading capabilities.

Auditor (Student)

An Auditor has access to Moodle content and most tools, but can only do so in read-only mode. Auditor typically does not gain access to plugin services, like Echo, Turnitin or theBox.

The student auditor role can be provisioned upon request to Academic Admin, by a TELT Administrator contacting the mailbox.

Access is commonly approved in the following two scenarios:

  • Where a higher degree by research student requires access to a course that is directly linked to their current research and such access has been approved by the student’s supervisor and the course convenor.
  • Where a student requires access to a course they have already attempted in order to prepare for a supplementary exam. Such access would normally only be granted if the student originally attempted the course no longer than a year prior and failed to meet the minimum requirement due to illness or misadventure.

A comparison of the Auditor and Guest roles can be found here.

Staff Auditor

A Staff Auditor has access to Moodle content and most tools, but can only do so in read-only mode. Staff auditors typically do not gain access to plugin services, like Echo, Turnitin or theBox.

The Staff Auditor role is provisioned via SiMS at the course level.

This role is useful for staff who you may wish to grant access to view the course contents but not participate.

A comparison of the Auditor and Guest roles can be found here.


Students have access to all the features and functions they need to complete their learning activities in a course.


Guest access can now be enabled within Moodle Self-enrolment courses

Enabling guest access allows users external to UNSW to view your course materials within Moodle. These users will access content anonymously but will not be able to participate in activities that require an identity within Moodle. For example: Assignment submissions. Guest access for courses require approval from the Head of Organisational Unit.

You can request guest access to be added to new or existing courses by completing the online Moodle Guest Access Course Request form. Requests will be processed within 48 business hours.

A comparison of the Auditor and Guest roles can be found here.

TELT Administrator


If you are accessing a course as a TELT Administrator, and need to log in as a student, use the following method:

  1. Log in to Moodle (in your TELT Admin role) and open the relevant course.
  2. On the course home page, either:
    • in the Settings block, under Course administrations, select Users, then Enrolled users, or
    • in the Navigation block, click Current course > [course name] > Participants.
  3. On the Enrolled users/Participants page, in the left-most column, click the relevant student's image or name.
  4. On the student's View profile page, in the Settings block, under Profile settings for [student's name], select Log in as.
  5. A confirmation page will display, with the message, "You are logged in as [student's name]". Click Continue.
  6. To return to the course in your TELT Admin role:
  • At the upper right of the page, click Logout.
  • On the Login page, click UNSW Students and Staff. The My home page will display, with the message at the upper right, "You are logged in as [your name]".

Additional information