Publishing within courses (visibility and access)

Last modified by Carina Enke on 23.01.2024

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.


A supplementary video is available for this function.



Visibility and access

Settings in these two areas have the following basic effects:


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.

Kurseditor - Sichtbarkeit gruppenabhängig Bsp2_en.png

View of a user who meets the condition for visibility: The user can see the podcast entry in the navigation.

Kurseditor - Sichtbarkeit gruppenabhängig Bsp3_en.png

Kurseditor - Sichtbarkeit gruppenabhängig Bsp1_en.png


If 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.

Kursrun - Zugang beschränkt Bsp_en.png

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.

Grafik - Sichtbarkeit und Zugang_en.png

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".

Grafik - gruppenabhängige Konfiguration _en.png

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.


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.

Kurseditor - Tab Sichtbarkeit und Zugang_en.png

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

General attributes ...


General configuration optionsDescription 
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

Blocked for learnersIf you mark the checkbox, the area or functional section will only be visible or accessible to supervisors and administrators of the course. Registered learners and non-registered guests do not see the element or have no access to the content.

Block access or visibility for learners

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

Whether or not this option is displayed is system-dependent. You can use it to set visibility or access privileges according to user attributes. Only users who meet the predefined conditions will see the course element or have access to its content. If you want to use several attributes, you need to link them with one of the operators (AND/OR) above the attribute list.

The following comparison operators can be used depending on the selected attribute:


  • "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" (>=)

See the Overview of OPAL-Shibboleth attributes page for a list of attributes available for selected institutions.

OPAL School authors can use the Main school attribute to restrict course access to their own school. An example can be found on the Publish course only for users of one/my school help page.

The verification of the created attribute rules is not case-sensitive to the specified values. That means, for example, if your access rule reads "Study group" attribute contains the value "Law", the actual verification will be done with the word "law" in lowercase. As a result, the course element will be accessible both to users in the "Law" and to users in the "Family law" study group alike.


Set access or visibility rights depending on attributes

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

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

Only blocked for guests

If this checkbox is selected, the element or function is only available to registered learners, supervisors and administrators of the course.

This checkbox is only necessary if you still want to block individual course modules or functional sections for guests in an otherwise public course (publication status Icon_BARG.png "Public - Visible to everyone" or BARG) and only make them accessible to registered users.

If your course has the publication status Icon_BAR.png "Public - for registered users", non-registered users (= guests) generally have no access to the course.

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

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.):

  • Assignment
  • Edit task folder  
  • Drop box - Delete own solutions
  • Drop box  
  • Return box
  • Assessment
  • Sample solution

  • 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

  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate

  • Read  
  • Add and edit dates

Link List
  • Display  
  • Display and add
  • Display, edit, and delete

  • Display  
  • Display and edit

  • Read
  • Write
  • Manage

  • Download
  • Upload
  • Delete

  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate

  • Display  
  • Display and edit

  • Display
  • Add


Configurable in the tab Visibility :

  • Conduct test
  • View assessment
  • View results

  • Read  
  • Add and edit articles

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