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For sharing content within a course, individual rules can be set to control visibility and access to a course element.

Advanced users can take advantage of an expert mode for configuring these rules to depict complex scenarios.

Visibility and access

Settings in these two areas have the following basic effects:

Visibility

If a content’s visibility is limited, i. e. the content is only visible to a specified group, it will not be displayed to users in the course menu. However, if the user is a member of the group and thus fulfils the condition for visibility, they can see the course element in the course navigation.

The navigation menu of a course is flexible and may change depending on the time and type of use of the course (received assessments, work in groups).

 Course menu example ...

View of a user who does not meet the condition for visibility: The user cannot see the podcast entry in the navigation.

Course view of a user who does not meet the condition for visibility
View of a user who meets the condition for visibility: The user can see the podcast entry in the navigation.
Course view of a user who meets the condition for visibility

Limiting the visibility of a course element in the course editor

AccessIf content is limited in access, it will be visible in the course navigation (provided that no visibility rule prevents it), but the actual content will not be displayed to the user. Instead, they will see a message with relevant access information. In the example, the final test is only available to members of the group Group1 who have passed the course element Task.

Course view of a course element with limited visibility

Correlation between visibility and access

Date-dependent configuration

The following figure shows how the date-dependent configurations of visibility and access interact. In the upper part of the figure, no settings have been adjusted. Visibility and access are thus not limited. In the lower part of the figure, different times were selected for visibility and access. For the period in which the course element is visible in the menu and its content is not accessible, a notification, instead of the course element content, can be displayed to the user.


Figure visibility and access

Group-dependent configuration

This figure shows the group-dependent visibility and access configuration. In the upper part of the figure, no input has been made. All course participants can thus see the course element link and access its content – regardless of whether or not they are in a learning group. In the lower part of the figure, this only applies to the groups "red" and "green".


Figure visibility and access with multiple groups


Default setting

If no additional settings are configured, the content of a course element will be visible by default to all users of the user group specified with the publication status after publishing the course. For example, if a course is published with the status BAR (all registered users), all content of the course will be visible to all users who can log on to this system.

Through the limitation of access, it is possible to provide the learners with an overview of the course content and the conditions under which the content can be accessed (e. g. from a given date, after enrolling in a group, or after passing a test).

A limitation of the visibility of content is, for example, useful if you aim to offer different course content to different groups of users.

Note

Please note that it is not useful to limit the visibility more than the access because the content of an invisible course element is not accessible anyway.

Create or change visibility and access rules

The settings for both visibility and access can be configured in the course editor.

In addition to the Title and description tab, the course itself and any course element type include the tabs Visibility and Access.

Visibility and access tab in the course editor

The following attributes are available in the system to set visibility and access rules in the course editor:

 General attributes ...

In the areas Visibility and Access, authors and course owners can individually determine the presentation of course elements. If no input is made in the access area, the content of a course element will by default be visible to all course participants after publishing the element. Apart from the general options listed below, additional configuration options are available depending on the course element.

The following general options are available for the configuration of visibility and access:

Course editor - Tab visibility and access


General configuration optionsDescription
Blocked for learners

If you select this checkbox, all other configuration options will disappear. The course element content is now exclusively accessible for tutors and administrators of the course.

Block access or visibility for learners
Depending on dateMark this checkbox to specify a particular access time. You can set individual dates or date ranges by filling in only one or both input fields respectively. You can also create or delete dates via the + and - buttons.

Set access or visibility rights depending on dates

Depending on group

Select this checkbox to restrict the accessibility of the course element to learning groups or learning areas. You can then select existing groups and areas or create new ones.

If you set restrictions with the configuration option "depending on group", the corresponding course element will be restricted for all non-members of the group. This includes, for example, users who have not yet confirmed the group invitation or who are on the waiting list for a group. Such users cannot yet see or access the restricted course element.


Set access or visibility rights depending on groups

Depending on assessmentHere, you will find all assessable course elements. These include, for example, the elements test, assessment, task, or structure. 

If you select the option Check for "passed", you will be able to choose a course element from the input field Course element, which the user must have passed as a prerequisite to accessing this course element. 

If you select the option Check score, you can indicate a number of points in the input field "Passing score", which have to be achieved in order to be able to access the course element.

Set access or visibility rights depending on assessments

Depending on attribute

The visibility of this option is system-dependent.

Via this option, you can set visibility or access rights according to user attributes. Only users who meet the predefined attributes will be able to see the course element or have access to its content. Multiple attributes need to be linked with an operator (AND/OR).

Different kinds of relational operators might be available depending on the selected attribute. For example:

  • "contains the value"
  • "does not contain value"
  • "has exactly the value"
  • "does not have value"
  • "starts with value"
  • "ends with value"
  • "greater than" (>)
  • "less than" (<)
  • "greater than/equals" (<=)
  • "less than/equals" (>=)

A list of all available attributes of several selected institutions can be found on the page Overview of the OPAL-Shibboleth attributes.

Set access or visibility rights depending on attributes

Apply rules also for author, owner and tutorThis option does not become visible until one of the other options has been selected. If you activate the checkbox, the same access rules which apply to users will also be valid for tutors and course administrators.

Apply rules also for author, owner and tutor

PasswordThis option is only available in the area Access and can either be applied to the whole course or a structural element of the course. Enter the desired password, which users will need to use in order to gain access to the course content, in the text field.

Set access or visibility rights depending on passwords

Display expert modeClick on the button Display expert mode to open an input field, which allows you to perform a more complex configuration according to your needs. For more detailed information about the expert mode, see the help page Publishing within Courses (Expert Mode).
Set access or visibility rights in the expert mode
Advanced configuration optionsIn the case of individual course element types, there are further attributes to configure access to editing rights for course participants.

If various restrictive single options are set, they will be linked with AND, i.e. all conditions of the single options must be met for the user to see and have access to the course element. The only exceptions are the single options Attributes. In this case, various restrictive single options can also be linked with OR. The OR linking only requires the fulfilment of one condition in order to enable visibility or access, unless other restrictive single options prevent this.

All restrictions are also automatically valid for all subordinate course elements.

Note about hiding access restrictions

If a course element is visible, but there are

  • current or future access restrictions or
  • restricted rights for the course element,

the user will be informed accordingly when accessing the course element. This information helps the user to learn more about the functions available, e.g. which functions will be available at what time and under what conditions.

If required, however, you can hide this information text (from the user) for each course element individually.

 How to do that? ...

Notification message about existing access and authorisation restrictions in the course view:

Course element with notification message about authorisation restrictions

1

To hide this message, open the course editor and switch to the Visibility tab of the respective course element.

In the section Information if course node is visible but not accessible (max. 248 characters), remove the check mark in front of the entry Show access restrictions below the text field.

Publish your changes.

Course editor setting to hide notification message

2

The note will no longer be visible in the course view.

Course element without notification message about authorisation restrictions


 Special attributes for access rights of individual course elements ...

Access rights of individual course elements

For individual course element types, there are further attributes which can be used to regulate access to editing rights for course participants.

The following editing rights can be restricted or extended using the general configuration attributes (depending on date, group, etc.):

Task
  • Assignment
  • Edit task folder  
  • Drop box - Delete own solutions
  • Drop box  
  • Return box
  • Assessment
  • Sample solution
Blog
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
File Dialogue
  • Only file download / read in the forum  
  • File up- and download/ read and write in the forum
  • Edit or delete files / Moderate in the forum
Forum
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
Calendar
  • Read  
  • Add and edit dates
Link List
  • Display  
  • Display and add
  • Display, edit, and delete
Bibliography
  • Display  
  • Display and edit
Messages
  • Read
  • Write
  • Manage
Folder
  • Download
  • Upload
  • Delete
Podcast
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
Page
  • Display  
  • Display and edit
Profile
  • Display
  • Add
Test

Configurable in the tab Visibility :

  • Conduct test
  • View assessment
  • View results
Wiki
  • Read  
  • Add and edit articles

Advanced users can take advantage of an expert mode for configuring these rules to depict complex scenarios.