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Pedagogy /
Maintaining social networks

anonymous profile picture
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17 April 2009, 22:14

Hi All,

The things I do on a sunny afternoon J ... We are going to trial Mahoodle  for structured assignments and evidencing reflective learning. However Mahara’s support of multiple  views with distinct audiences seems to be a really good way to encourage  social networking (btw the integration of multimedia via drag and drop is a piece of cake ;) I really loved that bit).

I was only wondering how people can effectively maintain their networks? Let’s say you join a Mahara site with 10 groups (self-selected networks) who go about their different topics (having a blog, share youtube resources, recruit new members etc.) – how can you monitor most of their activities in a simple, informative way? I know that under Settings I can display “Watchlist Notifications”, however they just tell me “There has been a new activity related to view x” which is a very generic information and if I get 100 of these notifications I might want to pre-select  which ones to open and which ones to ignore..

Ok, given the little intro above I have 2 questions:

1)      Did anybody experience this as a problem, i.e. user struggling to follow the activities of their friends?

2)      Is there a way to create / simulate something like “an at-a-glance look at activity from across the site, as well as your friends' activity and your own actions”  (Just found that feature with Elgg 1.5)

Of course if you have any thoughts regarding Mahara and Networking I would love to hear them.


18 April 2009, 8:05

I state that I did not yet have a website in production.
I'm working a lot, though, to build it.
I must say that I have found some difficulty in understanding what's new on the site.
I believe that programmers have been very focused to include the features.
What we need is a home page that can extract and present the latest content.
At least those that users make public.
With my group we thought that this is a very important function.
The fact is that Mahara is an e-portfolio and not a Social Network in the proper sense.
anonymous profile picture
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18 April 2009, 17:51

Hi Fiorentino, thanks for that. I agree networking might be only a secondary concern for Mahara. However, maybe it becomes a more prominent feature in the future. I might post something in the ‘Roadmap’ forum  (two things would help: more specific notifications and the possibility to add a notifications block to a view)  ...  I read about Mahara vs Elgg in a Moodle Forum and Penny said something about the strengths each product  is developing over time. Fair enough, but we can’t throw an endless number of applications at students – sometimes they are less tech savvy than what many believe and educational online services have to compete with a whole bunch  of other tools students are already using ;)

anonymous profile picture
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19 April 2009, 17:03

Hiya - Fiorentino has it right - we have been focusing more on the e-portfolio side of things, with a view that the social networking is more of a teaser to get people involved - but of course this can all change over time.

One thing we've briefly discussed as part of our planned usability work is having a different homepage that surfaces notifications, making it easier for people to see what's happening. I'm not sure that work will result in significant changes to the notification system such that we can provide an at-a-glance list of recent activity, but it'll certainly set the stage for it in future development.

anonymous profile picture
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19 April 2009, 18:27

Sounds good! We are going to trial Mahara (out of the box) with our MBA students in July and hopefully I can post some concrete feedback after that which you might find helpful when working on usability aspects. cheers

20 April 2009, 4:37

As usual, Nigel is always present on the matters that stimulate the debate on Mahara. Thanks Nigel.
I believe that everyone should we be all in a single application. But this would require a team of almost infinite programming.
I think the intelligent architecture Mahara, as I have said many times, lends itself to interesting developments.
Except that I would say that to stimulate and broaden the group of development is necessary to provide adequate documentation software programmers.
This above all to avoid complicating the architecture of the software (what would happen easily if everyone worked on their own account) and do dirty work that does not serve the growth of the project, but only to isolate customizations.
anonymous profile picture
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20 April 2009, 5:58

Yes - documentation is one of those areas where we're really not doing that well. People are demanding many things, and currently import&export has the spotlight. After this work is done, I hope we can have a quieter time for a little while where we can get documentation up and running - not at the expense of stopping all development though of course!
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