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Is there a way to track user activity?

Teresa Brady's profile picture
Posts: 33

03 June 2012, 21:06

Hi, I'm sorry if this has been answered elseware, but is there a way to track user activity?

I did find a topic called "Activity Log or User Logs to track usage?" but it didn't answer my question.

What I mean by tracking user activity, I mean tracking such as:

  • how many times a user has logged in
  • when they have logged in
  • possibly a summary of activities when logged in

Is there possibly a plugin or setting that does this?

If Mahara is integrated using Mahoodle, does the user access tracking on Moodle do this?

Thanks in advance for your feedback,


Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 4770

04 June 2012, 0:57

Hello Teresa,

Thanks for your questions. When you have set up Mahoodle, all actions taking place in Moodle will be tracked by Moodle, but no Mahara-related activities will be tracked.

Mahara does not have the sameor similar logging functionality as Moodle (yet) as nobody has proposed and implemented such an extensive logging facility yet. Some users do analytics work with Google Analytics - or you can also use open source tools for that.

See for example.

Currently, the developers at Catalyst are working on rich statistics (sorry dajan, I haven't updated the blueprints yet) which will give insight into how Mahara is used by users of an institution, e.g. how many different artefacts and block types are used etc. I find these statistics better to ascertain what users are doing and what type of evidence they are using in their portfolios. That of course is different from the reporting you propose, which for a large part is for administrators to track down users who may have done something (wrong or objectionable).

The functionality can always be added if there is funding available. Wink



04 June 2012, 5:17

How did you know I will come and read Teresa message here?

Didn't change the blueprint about stats, Ok, you are forgiven.



By the way, my position about stats, to answer Teresa is still the same: a portfolio is a private place where students/users must feel free and not spied to really engage truthfully with their learning and the reflection about their learning. I am not against what Catalyst will provide in term of stats because they put the focus on what happen globally on the platform to provide users help services.

Teresa Brady's profile picture
Posts: 33

04 June 2012, 9:14

Thanks for your reply Kristina... the rich stats sound like they'll be a really good feature...

I do think portfolio privacy is super important... I think that too many people do make their content public, which leaves their assignment/assessment content open for others to plaigarise.

I think that if the portfolio is part of an assignment/assessment item, and a dispute arises as to who authored content, access, etc it would be great to be able to have factual and accurate dates, as to who logged in etc to settle any issues or disputes.

We've had a huge leap in users recently (and it's continuing to steadily rise!) in Mahara, which is really cool. Cool


04 June 2012, 13:00


Thanks for your comment. At the present time Mahara is not an assessment platform, it doesn't have the tools for this (yet ?). I consider, and I think it am in the right line of what Catalyst claim, that Mahara is for formative assessment and we have to leave CMS doing the summative assessment job.

I have the same concern as you about the comment we (teachers) leave to students and what they do with them (edit, delete, make them private or public), it is then because I always give my summative feedback or give important information on Moodle.

So in my institution we make a very clear barrier between the portfolio and the course work. It is clear that everything that need a timestamps or a proof of reading or accessing is on Moodle.

I wish that we improve the relationship between the portfolio and the CMS instead of developing to many control systems in the porfolio.

This is only my point of view.

Happy Mahara and happy teaching



Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 4770

04 June 2012, 15:00

Hello dajan,

I think "Catalyst's claim" is a bit too strong. Yes, Mahara has not been created with a strong asessment toolbox, but that doesn't mean that schools etc. aren't trying to use it for such or that it could not have features that aid assessment more in the future. Through its use in schools in particular some more controlled / assessment features have and will find their way into the software. But of course that doesn't mean that everybody has to use these features.



Don Presant's profile picture
Posts: 255

04 June 2012, 17:58

Just to put in my thoughts...having user/learner tracking tools like this would also help identify learners having trouble, ie a kind of formative assessment.

05 June 2012, 10:50

Hello Don,

Nice to read from you (and happy to see you soon in UK I think).

I agree with you that this sort of stats are useful to find students in trouble on the plateform. But according to the present litterature (e.g., Fischer 2005, Merzeau 2009 or Stieger 2010), traces are mostly used to "control" and "verify" what the user is doing more than finding those with difficulties to then helping them.

Fischer, F. (2005) “L’utilisation des traces numériques dans l’enseignement à distance.”
Merzeau, Louise (2009) “Présence numérique : les médiations de l’identité.” Les Enjeux de l’information et de la communication, Volume 2009(1), pp. 79–91.
Stieger, Stefan and Reips, Ulf-Dietrich (2010) “What are participants doing while filling in an online questionnaire: A paradata collection tool and an empirical study.” Computers in Human Behavior, In Press, Corrected Proof.

05 June 2012, 10:41

Hi Kistina,

Ok, sorry for the "claim".


anonymous profile picture
Account deleted
Posts: 27

13 December 2012, 7:42

I realize this particular discussion is long over, but it's the most appropriate one I found when looking for the same information.

As  Mahara Administrator, I'd be happy with just being able to identify periods of high and low usage (think in terms of downtime planning), and how many users are currently logged in (is the site slow because there are many users logged in, or some other reason?).

Kwantlen Polytechnic
(Off to look into adding Google Analytics)

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