Permissions and Roles

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An Overview about Permissions and Roles in CLEW.


What they do

Permissions allow users to access certain features of a course or project site, depending on their roles and on the decisions made by the site owner and the system administrator. Roles are simply collections of permissions. Some roles allow the user to simply access or read content, while other roles allow for advanced changes, such as adding participants, editing the site's content, and changing permissions for other roles. All roles are not created equal. When a site is created for you, you then have the role with the most permissions and the broadest level of access. You can therefore choose (within the limits established by the system administrator) which tools (e.g., Forums, Announcements, Resources) you want the site to have. For some of these tools, you can set permissions that allow or prevent users from seeing or performing certain tasks, depending on their roles. For a summary of participant roles and how to find out what your role is, see Participant Roles below.

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Key concepts

Roles may vary in name, depending on the application. However, in general, the organizer of a project site, or the instructor of a course site, has full permissions and can add or delete content within the site. Users who join an existing site will have a more limited role. The permissions of this role allow for interaction in the site, such as creating Chat messages and Discussion replies, but do not allow for advanced tasks, such as uploading files into Resources or posting to the Calendar. However, each implementation of the application will be different. System administrators can decide during implementation which roles to install, and which permissions these roles will have. Roles, and the associated permissions, will vary. If you have any questions about the roles in your site, please contact

Participant Roles at the University of Windsor

Participant Roles at the University of Windsor

Course Sites

Project Sites

Please contact if you are experiencing any difficulties with roles.

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Permissions and Roles

To complete the procedures in this article, you must be assigned a role having the necessary permissions. This often excludes Students and TAs by default. To determine your role and accompanying permissions, follow the directions in Permissions and Roles.

Determining your role

Changing participant roles from Worksite Setup

Note: To complete these procedures, you must be assigned a role having the necessary permissions. To determine your role, follow the directions in Participant roles. From Worksite Setup in My Workspace, you can change the roles you assigned to site participants:

Note: Although you can check multiple boxes, you can only edit information about one site at a time.

Below your site's information, you will see its participant list, which contains each participant's name, role, and status. For each participant that you wish to modify, select the role(s) for the participant(s), and then click Update Participants.

Things to remember

The availability of a tool in a site depends upon the particular implementation by the system administrator. If you have broad rights to a site and find that a tool is not available through Site Editor, consult the LMS Administrator at

The Resources and Drop Box tools share the same permissions set; if you change permissions for one, you can modify them in the Resources tool.

Default roles have default permissions; however, these defaults can be edited on the system level by the system administrator and on the site level by anyone with full permissions to the site.

All users are assigned the broadest role in their respective My Workspace; this gives a user editing control over his or her "My Workspace" site.

Tool Permissions

Within some tools, those with Instructor or Organizer privileges may be able to modify who can perform various actions within that tool.

Below are the most common types of functions that can be edited by selecting the check-box beside that function under the column of the role you wish to adjust. The Resources and Drop Box tools share the same permissions set; if you change permissions for one, you change them for the other.

The ability to alter Permissions is available within these tools: Announcements, Calendar, Resources, Chat, Polls, Site Mailing List, Glossary and Assignments. Forums and Discussions enable various functions for specific users using the "Settings" options (Forums) and "Manage"(Discussions) function areas.

Common Permissions Options in most tools

More Specialized Permissions Options


Example of a grading rule add to a TA's account via Permission Settings


In Discussions, TAs & TA-Graders are like students and this cannot be changed by the instructor. Lead TAs are the same as Instructors.


In Forums, TAs (by default) are like students, TA-Graders (by default) are considered Non-Editing Authors - meaning that they can do the same as students and grade Topics / Forums, Lead TAs are the same as Instructors. Instructors can change permissions in Forums for any role.

The following images demonstrate the types of Permissions panels you may see.

The following images demonstrate the types of Permissions panels you may see.

Resources Permissions Panel


Announcements Permissions Panel


Calendar Permissions Panel


Assignments Permissions Panel

This article is based on the equivalent Sakai help article created by Indiana University found at:
Additional sources of content include Brock University's Sakai / Isaak Wiki and the University of Florida Sakai / e-Learning Documentation with thanks and appreciation for the collaboration.

All respective sources used are under a free-for-reuse license and additional permission has been obtained.

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Other articles about Sakai tools and how instructors can use them:

Core Tools: Announcements | Assignments | Email | Forums | Gradebook | Quizzes & Tests II | Resources | Site Editor | Syllabus

More Tools: Polls | Chat | Drop Box | Home | Discussions | News | Feedback | Sections | Lessons | Site Stats | Web Content | Wiki

Related articles: How to add tools to CLEW | Using the Text Editor | Manage Groups | Permissions and Roles | Contact the CTL for help

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We are constantly trying to improve the information in this Wiki.
If you notice any errors or omissions with this material, please advise the LMS Team or submit a Service Request at

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