Assigning roles to users in Moodle based on their profile data using php script

In case you want to allow some particular blocks to be seen only by a particular group of users in your Moodle, you can do as below:

Note: assuming you've already created all the user accounts in your Moodle.

1. Categorize your users using some fields like department or description:

For example, I have Middle School Students and High School Students. Each of the students has Graduation Year information stored in the department field of the user profile. I will then use that field to determine which school they are studying now:
  • Student Number 1's department: 2015 class => High School
  • Student Number 2's department: 2021 class => Middle School
The below snippet is pretty handy to identify which school a student is studying based on her graduation year:


function class_to_grade_level($class_of) {
// you may want to change the timezone

$grad_year = intval($class_of);
$current_year = intval(strftime("%Y"));
$current_month = intval(strftime("%m"));
$grade_level = 13 - ($grad_year - $current_year);
if(($current_month >=1) and ($current_month <= 6)) {
$grade_level -= 1;
if($grade_level >= 13){
$grade_level = "Graduated";
return $grade_level;

function class_to_school($class_of) {
$MS = array(6, 7, 8);
$HS = array(9, 10, 11, 12);

$grade_level = class_to_grade_level($class_of);
if (in_array($grade_level, $MS)) {
return 'MS';
} elseif (in_array($grade_level, $HS)) {
return 'HS';
} else {
return 'Grad';


2. In Moodle, create 2 custom roles (Student archtype) named (Site administration -> Users -> Permissions -> Define roles -> Add a new role):
  • Middle School
  • High School
With Context types where this role may be assigned:
  • Block
  • (You may want to restrict students of each school to only see course's categories of that school)
Write down the role id(s) of the two new roles by looking at the URL when you editing the role:

I created those two roles with the following ids:

  • Middle School: 10
  • High School: 9
3. Go to the front page, add two blocks for two schools, and override their permissions:

=> Create
  • Middle School Announcement RSS feed block (feed links of the MS announcement)
  • High School Announcement RSS feed block (feed links of the HS announcement)
=> Then click "Assign role..." of each block.
=> Write down the context id of the block by checking the url:

So for two school blocks, I have:
  • Middle School block's context id: 49
  • High School block's context id: 48
=> Go to http\://<contextid>
=> In the "View block" section, remove every role except for the school role:
  • Middle School block: Middle School role
  • High School block: High School role
4. Place the following php script in a folder inside your moodle root, /var/www/moodle/your_script_folder/. Go into that folder and run it:

$ cd /var/www/moodle/your_script_folder
$ php assign_school_role.php

The script has been tested with Moodle 2.9.

5. Awesome!