Is Observer the right base role for a "Peer Mentor"? (Cross-post)

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At our institution we have a variety of "Peer Mentor" (PM)-type roles: students who are placed in undergraduate classes as advisors/mentors/tutors to the enrolled students. The PM is a fellow matriculated undergrad, but not enrolled in the course (in many case, they have successfully completed the course in the past).

We have created custom roles for these students based on Student and on TA, but both have been problematic:

  • When we use Student as the base role, the PM ends up listed in the gradebook.
  • When we use TA as the base role, the PM gets too much access: they are able to see unpublished and locked assignments and quizzes, and course Nav links that were hidden by the instructor. It does not appear to be possible to adjust those particular permissions.

Would a custom role based on Observer work? Here's what I would need the PM to be able to do:

  • Create announcements
  • Send messages to entire course and individuals in course
  • view discussions, view all discussion replies, Start discussions, respond to discussions
  • (Maybe) post content such as files (this is not a deal breaker, but this one is definitely not possible with the student base role)

Is all that possible with observer? If not, can any of the problems with Student or TA be resolved? Thanks so much!

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Hi @mbmacdonald,

I checked out the permissions area, and it seems like you could set up an custom observer-based role to do everything on your list.  A couple of caveats about observer-based roles...  1 - Observer based roles can only access the course during the course availability window (not before or after).  2 - When looking at the people area, even though you've given a custom role name, the user would show as "observing: nobody" and not the custom role name you gave.  This may seem trivial, but it confuses a lot of people at my institution (we use an observer-based custom role for waitlisted students).

Hope this helps a bit more!


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