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Can Mahara be customised to create a student-group hub?

anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 2

16 August 2011, 9:30

Good Morning,

I'd like to utilise a social-network site for student-groups using only Free and Open-Source tools.

Mockup of the student-group homepage (dashboard): Mockup of the student-group homepage (dashboard)

Can Mahara be customised to give me these features, if not, could you recommend a package (i.e. a CMS Distribution, a CMS+ a set of modules, a non-CMS social-network &etc.) that will enable me to do this?

Thanks for all suggestions & information,

Alec Taylor

PS: Would also be great if the login could be integrated with Facebook (API).

anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 214

17 August 2011, 5:57

Hi Alex,

For starters, the Janrain plugin we wrote at LUNS ( should allow you to use Facebook as an authentication source relatively easily.

The rest... well... Mahara already does some of it already:

  • Inbox; and
  • Groups.

There's currently no Calendar in mahara - I presume that this is linked to the Events section, which again Mahara doesn't yet do.

It would be relatively easy to create a new plugin to handle events. I'm not sure what type of plugin this would be, and it may in fact need to be a new plugin type (the existing types are blocktype, artefact, auth, search, interaction, and notification). It might fit under interaction but I'm not convinced. This isn't as scary as it sounds, and it would add a really cool feature to Mahara.

The calendar itself could probably be a blocktype and would probably grab information from the Events plugin, and presumably some other locations which store date information (friend's birthdays, plan target dates, etc).

Where you have 'Sitewide Feed', and 'My Feed', what are you expecting to see on those pages? The My Feed page sounds a bit like a user's personal dashboard which, by default, contains a view of the inbox, and list of the users' groups already.

I think, all in all, this is probably possible, but it would require development to add the additional features (Events, and Calendar), and some theme design to get the exact look that you're after.

If you're not comfortable with doing this kind of development yourself, there are a couple of partners who do this kind of development. Most of us (I work for LUNS), will also ask if you're happy to submit this to the core project for inclusion in later releases. This has the benefit that you're contributing the code back for others to use, but also that it will be supported in future release of mahara (if it's accepted).

Obviously, it's difficult to give a more definate answer without having a more detailed set of requirements, and it would probably take a bit of nailing down.

Hope that this gives you some insight into what mahara could offer,

Andrew Nicols

anonymous profile picture
Account deleted
Posts: 2

17 August 2011, 7:15

Thanks Andrew,

I'm looking for a package with a more developed events module...

Have been researching a wide variety of social-networking packages, including Drupal Commons, OpenAtrium, Diaspora, Insoshi, Yogurt Social Network, BuddyPress, Elgg, Mahara, CommunityEngine, Lovd by Less &etc

In search of a package which can do most—If not all—my required features.

I might use mahara for some other purpose sometime in the future, but from the sounds of thing, mahara isn't what I'm looking for.

All the best,

Alec Taylor

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