Instructor Support for Educational Systems

How do I set restrictions for an Assignment and/or set different (due) dates per group or sections of students?

Updated Sep 15, 2021

This article explains how to set restrictions for an Assignment and/or set different (due) dates per group or sections of students.

Table of Contents

Setting restrictions for an Assignment

  • Click Course Tools in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Assignments. You will land on the Assignments homepage with an overview of all the  assignments you have created. 
  • Click New Assignment to create a new assignment.
  • Click the arrow next to the assignment to open the quick-menu. 
  • Click Edit Assignment to edit an assignment.
  1. Indicate a deadline at Has Due Date. Important: if you select Now as the due date this renders the Properties Assignment type and Submission type unchangeable. By clicking Now, you will set the actual deadline in motion. Make sure to communicate this deadline in advance with your students.  
  2. Hidden from users is turned on by default when you create an assignment. This means that students cannot see the assignment. Deselect the option Hidden from users to make the assignment visible to students.
  3. Go to the Availibity Dates & Conditions tab to edit more condition settings.
  1. Indicate whether the assignment Has Start Date. This is the time and date when students can start submitting the assignment. 
  2. Indicate whether the assignment Has End Date. This is the time and date when the assignment closes and students are no longer able to view or submit the assignment. Click Now if the date and time are to start immediately.
    Important: the option Now should only be used for End Date when you want to close the assignment directly.
  3. Add Release Conditions if you wish.
  4. Under Special Access, you can select whether certain students get special access to the assignment.

It is not recommended to set the Due Date and End Date to Now when creating a new assignment. It is best to schedule a Due Date and an End Date during the process of creating the assignment. This way you do not have to worry about processing communicated deadlines and it makes it much clearer for the student when the deadline is set, and when they will not have access to the assignment anymore.

When selecting Has End Date, students will not be able to see their submissions after the end date. When selecting Has Due Date, students can access and even hand in their submissions after the due date. As an instructor you will be able to see if they complied to the due date, or if they handed in their submissions late. 

Set different (due) dates per group or sections of students: add users to Special Access

Go to the Availibity Dates & Conditions tab and click Manage Special Access to give certain students special access to the assignment.

  1. Under Manage Special Access, you can select whether you want to: Allow users with special access to submit outside the normal availability dates for this folder if certain students get different submission dates for this assignment. Allow only users with special access to see this folder if only certain students are allowed to see this assignment. 
  2. Then click Add Users to Special Access to select students who will get special access.
  1. If you want certain students to be given a different deadline than the rest of the group, set a separate deadline at Due Date.
  2. If you want the assignment to be displayed differently to certain students, fill in a customized Start Date and/or End Date.

Now we are going to select the students who will get special access.

  1. Use Search Options to find students that you want to give special access:
    • Select in the drop-down menu under View By if you want to search among all students in the course (User) or in a certain group (Groups) and click Apply. If you chose a group, you can then select which group you would like to search in the drop-down menu, (click Apply once more). 
    • In the search bar, fill in (a part of) the student's name or their student number to quickly find them. Click enter or click the magnifying glass icon.
  2. Select the student(s) it concerns. Tick the box at the top to select all students that are showing up through the search filter. 
  3. Click Save to return to the Manage Special Access page.

By searching per group, you can easily give the entire group within the course special access, without having to look up each individual student separately to add them. If you want to give different groups different access, add them per group.

You will now see an overview of the students added to special access, with their new start, due and/or end dates. Click Save and Close to exit Special Access, and return to the Edit Assignment page.

FAQ - Using Special Access in Assignments and Quizzes

Can I edit the dates for a whole group after I already Added users to Special Access?

Yes, you can! When you want to change the dates for a specific group, you do not need to change them one by one.

Instead, you can follow the steps of Set different (due) dates per group or sections of students: add users to Special Access to filter the group and give them new dates. The new dates will override the old special access dates. 

Can I clear the dates for a whole group after I already Added users to Special Access?

Yes you can! Follow the steps of Set different (due) dates per group or sections of students: add users to Special Access to filter the group but leave all the start, end and due dates empty. At the end you will see a list of students, but without any dates: 

Can I edit/clear the dates for all groups of a Category after I already Added users to Special Access?

Yes you can! Follow the steps of Can I edit the dates for a whole group after I already Added users to Special Access?, but select the group category instead of a specific group and click on Apply. 

You can now select all students that are enrolled in a group that is part of your chosen category and edit/clear the dates accordingly.

Can I edit/clear the dates for all students after I already Added users to Special Access?

Yes, you can! Follow the steps of Can I clear the dates for a whole group after I already Added users to Special Access? but select View by Users instead and click on Apply.

You can now select all students in your course and edit/clear the dates accordingly.

When should I create a separate assignment per group of students instead of using Special Access?

In some cases it might be smarter to create separate assignments per group of students. Below you can find a quick comparison between both options. However, we highly recommend you to contact your Teaching Support team at your Faculty, before setting up assignments/quizzes for a large number of groups. They can help you plan and set up your assignments and give you advice on what you should use, based on your needs.


1 Assignment/Quiz - Different dates per group of students
Multiple Assignments/Quizzes, each for a group of students.
Assignment/Quiz Instructions
All students see the same instructions as presented under Description of that Assignment
You can insert different instructions per assignment/quiz
Associated to a Grade Item in the Gradebook
All grades of all students are presented in 1 column in the gradebook for this particular assignment/quiz.
Multiple assignments/quizzes implies multiple columns in the gradebook. This might impact your final grade calculation, since a student will not have a grade for each assignment/quiz.
Different due dates
You can set different dates for individual students, or in bulk for groups of students via the Special Access functionality.
You can set different dates per assignment/quiz.
Evaluation process
All student submissions are bundled within 1 assignment/quiz.

You might need to make arrangements with your colleagues in case you are assessing with multiple markers.

Each assignment/quiz only shows submissions of students of that group/section.


You need to assess multiple assignments/quizzes in case you need to assess multiple group of students.


Can I enforce the submission of certain file types?

Yes, this is possible with the selection bar in the screenshot below. It is possible to enforce the following file types:

  • Annotable files (.docx, .odt, .ppt, .txt, .rtf, etc)
  • .PDF only
  • Previewable files (such as, .HTML and .BMP)
  • Images and videos
  • Custom filetypes (the instructor can specify this)

If a student tries to upload a file that does not meet the requirements, an error message will pop up.

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