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Comments on feature proposals /
Thoughts on Mahara 1.4


Dave Emsley's profile picture
Posts: 23

04 July 2011, 8:06 AM

I'm not a developer, I've not had much input into this as I'm just a user so can I apologise in advance if what I say now offends some of the people who've worked hard on it.  It is not my intention to offend and I really appreciate the hard work that has gone into a fantastic product. However....

Where has the blogging facility gone?  Probably the most useful facility in Mahara was the ability to create and publish blogs and it has disappeared from Mahara 1.4 to be replaced by something called a "Journal".

This Journal allows me to make several entries; however it does not allow me to follow threads through and add posts to seperate "blogs".

Although the front end to Mahara 1.4 is much nicer than the older style, the page layout system and general look and feel are much improved  we will not be using it as the main pedagogical uses have been completely removed.

Sorry to be so negative in this post but we need students to be able to blog, organise their blogging and develop and reflect on their learning - if they cannot thread their journals we're stuffed!!  Back to 1.2 for us :-(

Dave Emsley's profile picture
Posts: 23

04 July 2011, 9:24 AM

In reply to my own blog I'm taking the roadmap for journals from the mahara wiki - https://wiki.mahara.org/index.php/Roadmap/5_Journals_(aka_Blogs)

This CLEARLY shows that each journal can have seperate posts.  Why has this been abandoned for 1.4?

 

Dirk Meyer's profile picture
Posts: 423

04 July 2011, 9:53 AM

Dave,

a user has to enable multiple journals first. This can be done at http://www.yourdomain/account/  Just click on 'Enable multiple journals' and then 'Save'

Dave Emsley's profile picture
Posts: 23

04 July 2011, 12:24 PM

@Dirk - thank you for pointing this out - it is a very well hidden "feature". I don't suppose there is a site wide way of setting this is there?

Faith in Mahara restored after a shaky few hours - Thanks Dirk :-)

Iñaki Arenaza's profile picture
Posts: 253

04 July 2011, 1:27 PM

I don't suppose there is a site wide way of setting this is there?

I'm afraid it isn't. For new users you can change lib/user.php, function expected_account_preferences() (around line 200) and change the line that reads:

'multipleblogs' => 0,

to

'multipleblogs' => 1,

and newly created users will get multiple blogs by defauls.

For existing users, you may need to update records in the usr_account_preferences table for those users that have only one blog. You can use the following SQL query to see which users get only one blog (unless they manually change the account setting). You need to type it in a single single, though I type it here in several lines for readability:

SELECT usr.id, usr.username
  FROM usr
  JOIN usr_account_preference usr_ac ON (usr.id = usr_ac.usr)
 WHERE usr_ac.field = 'multipleblogs' AND
(usr_ac.value='0' OR usr_ac.value='');

and you can change the setting to multiple blogs to all of them with something like this (again in a single line):

UPDATE usr_account_preference set value='1'
 WHERE field='multipleblogs' AND (value='0' OR value='');

if you want to change the setting to some of them, you can do it with something like this (again in a single line). You just need to specify the usernames in quotes separated by commas in the last part of the sentence:

UPDATE usr_account_preference set value='1'
 WHERE field='multipleblogs' AND
(value='0' OR value='') AND usr IN (
                SELECT usr1.id
                  FROM usr usr1
                 WHERE usr1.username IN ('username1', 'username2', 'username3'))

Hope this helps :-)

Saludos.
Iñaki.

cherie dignan's profile picture
Posts: 5

04 July 2011, 11:29 AM

Guess that's a code issue then Dave?

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3366

05 July 2011, 3:48 AM

Hello Dave,

I'm sorry to read that you had trouble with the new version. I haven't by any means caught up with the user manual for 1.4 as I only started on it recently.

If you want to read up a bit about some of the changes to 1.4, please check out this discussion thread.

Multiple journals still exist, but a number of users found it tricky as they created many different journals instead of journal posts. Therefore, the default setting is to only have one journal. With Mahara 1.5 (next year), an institution administrator will have the possibility to decide most of the default settings for his institution as per this wiki page.

Please don't go back to Mahara 1.2. The support for it ended with the release of Mahara 1.4. That means, if there are any security issues, no updates will be released. Updates will only be released for Mahar 1.3 and Mahara 1.4.

Mahara 1.4 still has all the Mahara 1.2 functionality. Due to some re-ordering and re-thinking of certain functionalities, some features are now found in different places, but they are all still there as far as I know. Please ask in the forum first before reverting to an old version. Smile

Cheers

Kristina

Dave Emsley's profile picture
Posts: 23

05 July 2011, 7:47 AM

Hi all,

Thanks for such super, and rapid, responses.  1.4 *IS* a super product and now that we have a solution to the issue we won't be going back. 

  • Probably won't recode the user.php file although it seems a simple code to sort.
  • I don't think we'll bother using SQL query to update either; a simple link for the students will suffice.

Again thanks everyone for the support.

 

Paul Seiler's profile picture
Posts: 31

05 July 2011, 2:07 PM

Dave, here in NZ we have soon been on a 1.4 alpha since 1 February and it is wonderful (admittedly, we upgraded from 1.2).Better in so many ways.

In addition to the default setting for 1 or multiple journals there is another way to handle this. Catalyst are currently adding tags to journal posts, allowing the one journal to cater fro many 'topics' and using tags only posts on the same topic would appear on a particular page. Or something like this, right Kristina?

Paul.

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3366

07 July 2011, 6:33 AM

Hello Dave and Paul,

Yes, something like that. Smile This will become a Mahara 1.5 feature. Currently, you can already add tags to your journal posts to find them more easily when you go through your tags. We are going to expand the usage of tags so that you can display all journal posts of one tag in a portfolio page. That is similar to displaying all journal posts from one journal but more flexible as you would not necessarily need multiple journals anymore in the future, but could decide to display all posts with the tag "conference reflections" in one page and posts with the tag "course reflections" in another page where all posts are part of the journal "learning reflections".

Cheers

Kristina

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