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Restrict access to sections and activities

The restrict access feature enables teachers to restrict the availability of any activity, resource or course section according to conditions such as date, grade obtained, group or other activity completion. It allows gamification of courses and provides a way to guide students through a course in a specified order, creating alternative pathways and introducing repetition (for example). Such mechanisms can allow teachers to offer learning experiences that cater more to individuals, providing reinforcement when it is needed.

Restrict access settings

In the settings for each activity, and for course sections, there is a 'Restrict Access' section.

To get to this, click 'Edit' alongside the activity or section you want to restrict and then choose 'Edit Settings' (or add a new activity or section), which will bring you to the settings page.

In the 'Restrict Access' section of the activity settings page, click the 'Add restriction' button.

Restrict access button

This opens the restriction options. NB In each case you can choose that the student must or must not match the restriction(s) chosen.

Restriction type

Restrict access by activity completion

This is one of the more commonly used restrictions. In its simplest form it requires a student to complete 1 activity before the next is made available. The settings allow this to include completion of any one of a group of activities, or all of the selected activities.

  1. Click on 'Activity completion'
  2. Select the activity that must be completed e.g. a Glossary that requies students to add one or more entries for it to be marked complete, and select the 'must be marked complete' (or 'complete with pass grade' if appropriate).

Restrict by activity completion

See also 'using a nested restriction set below'.

Restrict access by date

Another common restriction is by date which allows sections or activities to be made available at specific points through a course e.g. weekly readings or quizzes (or for them to be hidden after a specified date).

Restrict access by date

Restrict access by group

Where groups (and groupings) are being used, it is possible to restrict access to sections and activities to one or more of these groups.

Restrict access by group

NB For more information on restricting access via groupings, see the Create groupings guide.


To hide the section, or link to the activity/resource and the accompanying restrict access information from the student, you should click on the eye icon to the left of each restriction.

Hide restrict access info

Restrict access using a nested restriction set

This opens up the possibility of having students complete one, all, or any of a set of activities. A good example would be having students have to complete either of 2 groups of activities by nesting 2 'student must match all of the following' restrictions (2 and 3) within a 'student must match any of the following' restriction (1). Students will have to have completed either group 2 or group 3 in order to access.

Example of nested restrictions

For more guidance on using 'restrict access' please see - this page also has links to gamification examples that use restrict access in complex ways to encourage participation and engagement with materials.

The information on this page relates to Moodle v3.4 and was last updated October 2018.


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