Managing roles and users

Site: Solent Online Learning
Course: Learning Technologies Staff Help and Support
Book: Managing roles and users
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Wednesday, 1 December 2021, 4:32 PM



  • Main user roles and permissions
  • Assigning course reps
  • Key contacts & participants list
  • Groups and groupings

Main user roles and permissions

The most common staff user roles on SOL include:

  • Unit Leader - able to view and edit all content, and release grades
  • Tutor - able to edit all content, but cannot release grades
  • Non-Editing Tutor - able to view all content, but cannot edit
  • Course Leader - able to view and edit all content - should only be listed on Course Pages
  • Moderator - able to view assessments and input grades
Staff already enrolled on a unit or course page are no longer able to assign Unit Leader, Tutor, Non-Editing Tutor or Course Leader roles to another member of staff.  

Requesting a role

Unit Leader and Course Leader information is now referenced from the Quercus database.  Because of this, these roles must be approved by your School Executive Officer and added to Quercus before the role can be assigned in SOL.

Unit Leader

You can request to be Unit Leader on a unit page via the enrolment self-serviceFurther instructions can be found here.  Please note that requests for Unit Leader enrolment may take up to 48 hours.

Tutor and Non-editing Tutor

You can add yourself as a Tutor or Non-editing Tutor on a unit page via the enrolment-self service.  Further instructions can be found here.  Please contact if you would like to be enrolled as a Tutor on a page that may contain sensitive information.  

Course Leader

If you would like to be listed as Course Leader on a Course Page, please contact  They will need to confirm your Course Leader status.  Once confirmed, your role will be pulled through to SOL automatically after it has been recorded in Quercus.  Please note that we no longer add Course Leaders to Unit Pages.


Unit Leaders can assign other members of staff the role of 'Moderator'.  Further instructions can be found here.

Students on Unit and Course Pages

Students are added to automatically to Unit and Course pages via their enrolments in Quercus.  The enrolments that feed data from Quercus into SOL take place every evening, meaning that if a student was enrolled on Quercus during the day, they will not appear on SOL until the following day.

Contact for any queries regarding student enrolments.

Please note that staff cannot manually enrol Students onto a Unit or Course page.

Contact for any queries regarding special circumstances for student enrolments.

Key contacts & participant list

Key Contacts

The 'Key Contacts' block displays a list of users on your unit and various methods for communicating with them. The block is customisable and allows you to choose specific roles to display. By default the block will show Unit Leaders and Tutors on the unit but this can be changed.  The block provides quick links for students to email or message Unit Leaders or Tutors.

key contacts block

To show more roles within the 'Key Contacts' block:

1. With editing turned on, locate the block and click on 'cog' Actions icon, then Configure Key Contacts block.

configure key contacts

2. Go to the section 'Roles to show' and select Yes to any other roles that need to appear in the block.

Add new role

Participants list 

Use the participants list for an overview of all users on a particular page, i.e. view a list of all the tutors or all the students.  A link is located in the main menu on the left hand side of the page.

1. Within the first block of the main menu, select the Participants link.  

participants link

2.  This screen shows all users (which can be filtered using the 'First name' and 'Surname' to see an individual user) and their last access. Use the 'Current role' dropdown menu to select only students. 

participants list

This screen does offer some options to message or email participants on the list.  However, if you wish to send a personal message to a student (or a few students), its best to use 'Quickmail' which is featured as a 'block' on the front of your unit page.  For important messages to all of your students, use the 'Unit announcements' forum under the 'Learning Community' tab, to contact your students.


Groups are a function in SOL that can organise your students across a unit/site into discreet groups. Once completed, you can choose to apply these group associations to many items in SOL (such as forums, wikis or assignments, etc.) to enhance the student experience or to aid administration of large cohorts with multiple tutors on a unit.

You are able to:

  • create groups
  • add students to groups 
  • apply these groups to items
These actions will not affect any parts of your SOL site or your students' experience unless you ask it to.

You can create as many groups as you like in a given SOL site. Students can be put in more than one group. You also have extra control of how you use these extra groups with the Grouping function (see Grouping chapter).

Setting up Groups is an advanced action so speak to the Learning Technologies advisors ( for further help. To read more about groups see Moodle groups and more about groupings see Moodle groupings.

Setting up Groups

1. Locate the Participants link within the main menu on the left hand side of the page.

participants link

2.  This will take you to your participants list.  To access the Groups menu, select the Gear Menu (cog icon), and then select Groups.

groups from participants list

3. At the top of this 'Groups' page, select 'Groups' from the three tabs, 'Groups', 'Groupings' and' Overview'. 

groups tabs

4. Before you can add students to Groups, create the Groups. At the bottom-left of this page, click Create Group.

create group

5. This will open the settings for the 'Create Group' page.  Type the name of the group you want to create in the section marked 'Group Name'. 

name group

6. There is no need to complete any other fields to create your group, so click on Save Changes.

groups save changes

Adding Students to Groups

1. Now you have created your groups, start adding students to them. 

On the main Groups page, notice the groups listed in the left-hand column. Select the one to add students to, then click on the Add/Remove Users button, underneath the right-hand column.

select group to add members

2. On this 'Add/Remove Users' page, notice a list in the 'Potential Members' column on the right.  These are users attached to the site that are not yet in this group. Highlight the name of a student that you wish to add (to highlight multiple users at once, press the 'CTRL' key as you click). Once complete, click Add

add group members

3. The user(s) are added to the 'Group Members' column on the left.

view group members in group

4. Once complete, click the Back To Groups button to return to the main Groups page.  back to groups

Now when the appropriate group is selected from the Groups column, you will see the 'Members Of...' the group in the right-hand column.

Using Groups

Once Groups are created and students added to them, it is possible to use them with most items within your SOL site. How they work exactly will differ between tools, but generally it will be in one of two ways:

  • For group work, students can see and communicate/work with other students in their group (Forums, Wikis or Chat).
  • For administration of your cohort, tutors can choose to display assignments/work by only students in a particular group (Assignments).

1. To change the group settings on a activity, go to the administration settings for that activity. For example, this is the administration block for the 'forum' tool.  Click on Edit settings.

edit settings

2. Scroll down to the section 'Common Module Settings' (if collapsed, click on the small grey arrow to reveal the section).  Go to the drop-down menu called 'Group Mode'. By default it is set to 'No Groups'. Choose either 'Separate Groups' or 'Visible Groups'.

common module settings

These settings relate to the first mode of Group functionality, where students are able to work together. 'Separate Groups' means students can ONLY see and contribute to their own group's work; 'Visible Groups' allows them to see the work of others, but not contribute. As a general rule, you might use 'Visible Groups' for formative work, but 'Separate Groups' for summative projects.

3. Scroll down to the bottom of the settings page and click Save and display.

save and display

4. Once set up, you should be able to see the following drop-down list at the top-left of the activity that you've made 'Group' compatible. This will allow you to shift between the work of your different groups.

groups in forum

Unless you are using 'Visible Group' settings in a piece of group work, the students will experience this item seamlessly. They will not see the 'Group' settings, they will just experience the item in the groups/setting that you want them to.


You can have as many Groups per site as you want, and students can be added to multiple groups, too.  The main reason you might use several groups, and add students to multiple groups, is that you may wish to split a cohort up in more than one way.  

However, this means SOL can end up with a lot of groups that aren't related to each other. The way SOL differentiates between these is by using Groupings.

For more information regarding Groups click through to the following pages.

Groupings example

Below is a cohort of 20 students split up into two groups of ten, based on their seminar sessions. The same cohort is then split up into five groups of four to work in groups.  If you want to target your seminar groups with information via a forum you will need separate groups set up for group work in an assignment. 

This is achieved by creating two 'Groupings', one containing the Tuesday and Thursday Groups, and the other containing Groups One to Five, as shown below:

StudentsGrouping 1: Session GroupsGrouping 2: Work Groups
1 Tuesday Group Group One
5 Group Two
9 Group Three
11 Thursday Group
13 Group Four
17 Group Five

When applying the 'Groups' setting to an activity, such as a Forum or Assignment, you are given the option to choose which 'Grouping' you wish to be observed for that activity. This tells SOL which criteria you want your cohort to be divided up  for this item. 

See the next sub-chapters on how to achieve this.

Setting up Groupings

Now you have created 'Groups', you need to set up 'Groupings' from the Groups page by selecting the Groupings tab.  The image below  shows that there are currently no groupings available. 

1. Click on the Create Grouping button.

create grouping

2. On the 'Create Grouping' form, fill in the 'Grouping name' text.

add grouping name

3. Click Save changes to be taken back to the 'Groupings overview' page.

groupings without groups

4. Your 'grouping' can be seen in the table, but there are no groups in it. To add groups, click the Show Groups In Grouping button (two people icon).

add groups to grouping

5. You are on the 'Add/Remove Groups' page for this 'Grouping'. Highlight the groups you want in this 'Grouping' in the right-hand column, and click Add.

add groups to grouping

6. Click Back To Groupings, once you've added your groups.

back to groupings

7. Back to the 'Groupings overview' page you will see the choices you've made reflected in the table.

groupings with groups

Using Groupings

The primary way of using groupings is as a means of splitting a cohort into groups using more than one criteria.

1. To define which grouping you wish to use in a particular SOL activity, such as a Forum or an Assignment, go to 'edit settings' for the item.

edit settings for assignment

2. Scroll down to the 'Common Module Settings' section.  If this section is collapsed, just click on the small grey arrow to open.

apply grouping settings

3. select the 'Group Mode', as discussed in a previous chapter. 

4. select the 'Grouping' that you wish to be used for this item from the drop-down 'Grouping' list.

5. Click on the Save and display button at the bottom of the page. 

grouping settings applied

You have now associated this item with a Grouping, and the Groups in that grouping will be used when students interact with it.