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Why use Institutions?

nick vaughan's profile picture
Posts: 5

25 June 2009, 4:25 AM


I've been playing around with mahara for a few days before I present it to the Leadership group at our school. So far I'm finding it to be an excellent piece of software that should fulfil all their requirements. 

I have it setup so it authenticates users using LDAP against the Active Directory. What I could do is set up institutions for each year group, one for staff and one for admin and the user will be placed in the appropriate institutions on initial login. My question is: What exactly are institutions for and is there any benefit in doing this or should I just place all users in the same institution??



Nigel's profile picture
Posts: 1643

25 June 2009, 9:02 PM

Hi. Institutions are there mostly to segregate uses for the purpose of authentication, and user administration.

For example, you might have a region-wide Mahara install, with schools having an institution each on the Mahara. Then users in each institution can be the 'admins' for the users in those institutions, which lets them deal with things like password resets, and leaves the site admins to deal with just the institutional admins.

In your case, I'm not sure you get any benefits out of this - especially in the case of year groups, as students will move years regularly (of course). You would probably get away with not using institutions at all, in fact. They don't actually limit who can see who, or provide extra sharing options for view etc. They're just there for user management currently.

26 June 2009, 3:23 AM


We had an interesting debate about the utility of institutions and the differences between institutions and groups in the following threat:

 As Nigel has mentioned, it s a question of how you "map" your learners and staff in your eportfolio platform.


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