Group roles will be a welcome feature, but I don't see how they help with this problem. Remember, the problem is that the teacher can override an existing role only once in a given context. So if the teacher needs two different sets of capabilities for Students in a forum, she must ask the admin to create a copy of the Student role so she can make the necessary overrides and assign them to her students. This will be true with or without group roles.
By the way, my example with the million roles is wrong. If an activity has 20 capabilities, then the admin could cover all future role requests by pre-defining 20 roles for this one activity. Each would have a single capability Allowed and the hundred plus remaining capabilities Not set. Then a teacher could assign subsets of the 20 roles (there are 2^20 distinct subsets). This "mix in" approach effectively gives the teacher the ability to create roles using role assignment.
Roles and permissions
Give a student permission to do something
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