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Restricting Access

For some types of discussions, you will want everyone in your course to have access for the entire semester. For other discussions, you might want to restrict access to a shorter time period or to a specific group of users. You can restrict access to forums and topics in four ways:

  • Hide the forum or topic for all users
  • Set visibility and posting restrictions for all users
  • Use release conditions to display a forum or topic based on other activities within the course (for example: reading a content topic, completing a quiz, etc.)
  • Restrict access to members of specific groups or sections

Note: Any restrictions placed on a forum also apply to all topics within the forum.

Hiding a Discussion Forum or Topic

Hidden topics will not be displayed on the main Discussions page (except for specific role users with permission to see hidden forums and topics or to manage discussions). By hiding topics, you can control which topics users can access at different times throughout the course. For example, you could create weekly discussion topics for users to reflect on the material covered in each week of the course and make each topic available for one week only. You can specify start and end dates for when a forum or topic is visible to set up visibility ahead of time to match your course’s schedule.

  1. On the Discussions page, click on the down arrow next to the forum or topic you want to hide and select Hide from Users. Alternatively, you can also edit the forum/topic then go to Restrictions and click on the check box Hide from Users.
  2. Click Save and Close.

Hiding a Discussion forum or Topic

Visibility and Posting Restrictions

Setting the visibility and posting restrictions will allow or prevent users from seeing or accessing the forum or topic after a specific Availability date.

Availability Start Date Properties
Property Description

Visible with access restricted before start

The topic/forum will be visible to learners before the Start Date, but they cannot click/open it.

Visible with submission restricted before start

The topic/forum will be visible to learners before the Start Date and they can access it but cannot post new threads or replies. This will effectively make a discussion read-only.

Hidden before start

The topic/forum will be hidden from learners until the Start Date. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends will be hidden until the Start Date. Notifications will also not be sent until the Start Date.

Availability End Date Properties<
Property Description

Visible with access restricted after end

The topic/forum will be visible to learners after the End Date, but they cannot click/open it.

Visible with submission restricted after end

The topic/forum will be visible to learners after the End Date and they can access it but cannot post new threads or replies. This will effectively make a discussion read-only.

Hidden after end

The topic/forum will be hidden from learners after then End Date. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends will be hidden after the End Date. Notifications will also not be sent after the End date.

Visibility and Access to Forums and Topics Based on Availability Date
Property Description

Visible with access restricted

Students:

  • can see the forum/topic name, dates, and other restrictions
  • cannot click the forum/topic to access it
  • cannot see the forum/topic description
  • cannot see topics within the forum/topic

Visible with submission restricted

Students:

  • can see all details of the forum/topic including description and all topics within it
  • cannot post to any topic within the forum

Hidden

Students:

  • cannot see forum/topic that are hidden before or after start/end dates

Setting Release Conditions for a Discussion Forum or Topic

Release conditions enable you to specify requirements that users must satisfy before they can access a discussion forum or topic. For example, you might require that users view a content topic or submit an assignment to a Dropbox folder before accessing a discussion topic. Or you might create an extra-help discussion topic for users who fail a particular quiz.

Add Release Conditions to a Forum or Topic

  1. On the main Discussions page, click the Edit icon from the drop-down list for the Forum or Topic. 
  2. Click the Restrictions tab.
  3. If the controls in the Release Conditions section are not visible, click Show Forum Release Conditions or Show Topic Release Conditions
  4. Do one of the following:
    • If you have already created a release condition elsewhere and want to attach it to this forum or topic, click Attach Existing. Select the conditions you want to add, then click Attach.
    • If you want to add a new release condition that does not already exist, click Create and Attach. Enter the details for the new release condition, then click Create
      Add Release Conditions for a discussion forum or topic
  5. Choose whether access to the forum or topic is dependent on meeting all or any of your conditions.
  6. Click Save.

Setting Group Restrictions for a Discussion Forum or Topic

You can restrict a forum or topic so that it is only accessible to members of a specific group. This enables you to create group discussion areas where members of a group can collaborate on assignments or discuss course material in small teams.

Note: You must create groups before you can set group restrictions.

Restrict a Single Forum or Topic

  1. On the main Discussions page, click the Edit icon for the forum or topic. If you are creating a new forum or topic, you can create group restrictions after clicking Save.
  2. Click the Restrictions tab.
  3. If the options in the Group Restrictions area are not visible, click Show Forum Group Restrictions or Show Topic Group Restrictions.
  4. Select Restrict this forum to the following groups or Restrict this topic to the following groups and click Add Groups.
  5. Select a Group Category. Select “Sections” to restrict access to sections.
  6. Select the groups.
  7. Click Add.
  8. Click Save.

To remove a group’s access, click Delete (X icon) next to the group and then click Save.

To open the forum or topic to everyone again, clear the Restrict this forum to the following groups check box or Restrict this topic to the following groups check box and click Save.

Restrict Multiple Forums or Topics Simultaneously

  1. On the main Discussions page, click Group and Section Restrictions on the tool menu.
  2. Select a Group Category.
  3. Select the Forum containing the topics you want to restrict or select “All Forums.”
  4. To restrict a forum or topic to specific groups, select the check box in the Restricted column, then select the groups you want to be able to access the forum or topic.
  5. Click Save.

Restrict Multiple Forums or Topics Simultaneously

To open a forum or topic to everyone, clear the checkbox in the Restricted column and click Save.

Automatically Create Restricted Discussion Topics for All Groups in a Category

You can automatically create a discussion topic for each group in a selected category. Topics are named after the group categories and groups they are associated with.

  1. On the main Discussions page, click Group and Section Restrictions.
  2. Select a Group Category.
  3. Select the Forum in which to create the topics. If you want to create a new forum for the restricted topics, click New Forum.
  4. Click the Automatically create restricted topics links
  5. Click Save.