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Using Mahara in large institutions

David Kennedy's profile picture
Posts: 7

05 January 2009, 8:45 PM

hi Folks

I work at The University of Hong Kong and have been using a Moodle (1.9x)/ Mahara combination since July last year. As a dual platform it more than suits the needs of both my undergraduate and postrgraduate classes, except for one problem. As interest in the use of ePortfolios grows and the entire university moves to an outcomes based curriculum, more people want to use the system we have set up. Herein lies the problem: we are finding it very difficult to separate the various class groups (one group is about 240 students, with other class groups ranging from 20 to 100 students each) from 'seeing' each other since Mahara only allows one instantiation of the database. This makes group formation within classes very confusing since students in the larger classes are often not sure who is actually taking the same class without reading everyone's profile first. We have addressed the problem by duplicating the database and having multiple versions of Mahara for single sign on (SSO). 

 I hope this is clear. Does anyone know a better way to address this problem? Apparently, Mahara, unlike Moodle, cannot in the current form keep such groups separate from each other, which means that every student from any class can join any other class by clicking on the appropriate icon from Moodle.  Potentially we have up to 1500 students who could use the combination of MaHoodle and keeping students from different classes and year groups separate (as they are in Moodle) is urgently required.  Any suggestions or can we add this feature to the future features list?

 Many thanks to the team of developers for all of their hard work. MaHoodle is a great combination and facilitates a wide variety of learning designs and potential student activities.

 Happy new year to everyone and Kung Hoi Fat Choi for the year of the Ox



Nigel's profile picture
Posts: 1643

05 January 2009, 10:08 PM

Hi David,

I have a few questions to help me understand your situation better:

  1. I'm interested in how you have been, or are planning to move students around between groups?
  2. Why have you found the need to keep your classes of students on separate installations of Mahara?
  3. You have a Moodle set up - how exactly are your students kept apart in the Moodle, and how would you imagine things working from a student's point of view when they roam to the Mahara - who would they see in the Mahara, and what could they do?
Hopefully your answers will allow me to present a satisfactory answer Smile
Mark Pearson's profile picture
Posts: 15

06 January 2009, 11:19 AM


If I could throw my oar in here as a Moodle admin and Mahara investigator. Am I right in thinking that you'd like to have Moodle class = Mahara group in terms of enrolment/ membership? Since groups in Mahara are a lot more fluid than classes in Moodle (which is a good thing IMHO) could you not set your groups to 'request membership' with the group owner being the Teacher of the class? Then every student would request membership and the group owner would only accept those in the class. In addition, maybe the group names could contain some indication as to the class they are associated with. I suspect that a combination of descriptive nomenclature for each group where the syntax is widely distributed (for example, everyone at my college knows how usernames are constructed and so email addresses are easy to guess) and 'request membership' setting for groups might address most of the problems.

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