Forums | Mahara Community
Prioritising and archiving groups
07 November 2013, 3:14
We've been using mahara for 3 years now at our Univesrity and found that tutors tend to organise student activity by setting up Groups, for example by module.
This has led to tutors building up a long list of groups they administer. We are now looking for a way that tutors can prioritise or filter out groups from their list, so they can see the most relevant groups or hide groups from their list. Tutors still need to be members of the group but groups tend to be set up and used for a particular academic year and then only needed for reference/audit purposes. A new group gets set up for students studying the same module in the following year.
One way we thought this might be done was to add in an expiry date for a group, so that although it remained available it didn't return in any searches (unless you searched for expired groups). Or a way to customise which groups were shown on the Dashboard personal info bar. At the moment they are all shown alphabetically and this tends to be where users access their groups.
Is anyone else coming across these types of user issues and thinking about how to handle them?
07 November 2013, 23:21
I think I wouldn't call it an expiry but an archive-function for groups, if you can't or don't want to delete the groups.
But what about a block-element that a user can add to his dash-page where he can add links to groups he frequently enters? I think, that would be the quickest solution and it could work as a standalone plugin.
11 November 2013, 23:36
Thanks for the suggestion Tobias, I like the idea of having a customisable block on the Dashboard for frequently used groups, so users can prioritise what they'd like to see.
12 November 2013, 11:19
Our primary focus is on project based learning (projects are identified and designed by students and may run for up to 3 years). This calls for a functional project management/progressing system that is simple and avoids the unknowable call for exact start and finish dates required in typical Gantt chart type systems. We want to use Mahara for this and are working with the Plan/Tasks block.
For our purposes it is precise enough to lodge a Plan in any one of three categories of the future being Now, Sooner and Later where the boundaries for each of these categories is set and regularly adjusted to suit the student's own circumstances.
Using the student's dashboard Page laid out in 3 columns headed, Now, Sooner and Later (and now with the row function in 1.8) we arrive at a changeable arrangement of Plans that is very useful when it comes to seeing what to do next. The student moves the Plan blocks around about once a month or so to keep their Dashboard up to date.
Howvere (and the reason I am appending this story to this thread) is that the list of Plans on the Plan page (Content -> Plans) soon becomes overcrowded and, cannot be sorted easily it seems - just like as in the Groups zone as you describe.
Being able to archive each Plan, once it is no longer in use, would help a lot, so only current Plans show up - deleting them would loose any capacity to look back at all Plans completed in, say 2012, which would be a shame.
We're looking for an easy work-around for this and, when we find it, will post it here ..,
Any suggestions also welcome ...
13 November 2013, 2:40
Hi Andrew, that sounds like a great use for Plans. I like the simple way you get the students to think in different timeframes, and move the Plans between them as time passes.
As for crowding, I'm running into similar issues with the CPD plugin, which is based on Plans. I'm already onto three pages.
One difference between the two is that Plans are displayed alphabetically in ascending order, which doesn't help you (CPDs are descending by time, which at least puts the most recent at the top).
I think it would be great to be able to make folders and drag older plans (or CPDs) to them. I suspect this would be easier to code than formal archiving and would accomplish much the same result.
And could perhaps be used elsewhere in Mahara...?
17 November 2013, 17:37
If you are a member of lots of groups, it can certainly get crowded and any ideas to make the organization of groups would be helpful. In the past, I've heard people asking for hierarchical groups so as to gather them up better.
In the meantime you could try using group categories. That doesn't help with how the groups are displayed in the sidebar on the dashboard, but you could filter for them more easily when you are on the "My groups" / "Find groups" pages. The filters could be your academic years, for example.
22 November 2013, 6:03
I think the idea of a blocktype for the dashboard is a great! And we could probably write it to use a few of the existing features of groups for filtering. Such as:
- Editability dates,
- Hide group and
- Group Categories
A user for example could then add a blocktype where they might choose to show only a particular group category or groups they can currently edit, groups they're an admin/tutor of etc. Those are just the items I've checked so far that might make sense for a user to be able to configure to be seen in a blocktype instance - any others?
02 December 2013, 11:21
There's an obscure but very handy feature in Mahara, where if you put the tag "profile" on a page, it will show up in the "Pages" list in your sidebar's profile block.
I wonder if we could do something similar with this hypothetical groups block. Like, if you add a groups block to your Dashboard, put an option on the block's settings page that says "this block controls which groups show up in my sidebar".
Although that would be kind of a roundabout way of doing things. It would be a lot more intuitive to just create a settings page for the profile sideblock.
30 November 2013, 5:47
Thanks for the categories suggestion, that's a definite option to help out. It would be useful to have the ability to add a group to more than one category or include tags for groups.
02 December 2013, 11:17
Group tags is an interesting idea. Although, for it to be useful for people organizing their groups, the tags would have to be personal to each user, which would probably be a little counter-intuitive.
On the other hand, group tags (set by a group admin) could be handy when you're searching for groups to join. Or heck, they might even be handy for organizing if your group admins are setting them in a reasonable way.