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Tag Cloud Block?

Patric Lougheed's profile picture
Posts: 76

20 January 2017, 5:02 PM

Greetings Mahara Peeps!

I was wondering if there is a functional reason there is not a tagcloud blocktype that can be added to a users profile? There is a great deal of interest in having the tag block appear in other places other than in the admin areas.


Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3866

24 January 2017, 9:03 AM

Hello Patric,

The biggest reason is permissions so far. A user can see their tag cloud in the side bar and click on any tag and have access to it. Whereas if we put the tag cloud into a block on the profile page or anywhere else, other people would see it as well, but they may not have access to all the content. They can also only access files and journal entries and such through pages whereas a user can click on them directly.

That's pretty much why we didn't implement the block in the first place as the budget at the time didn't provide for dealing with all these questions.




Patric Lougheed's profile picture
Posts: 76

24 January 2017, 10:12 AM

Thanks Kristina,

I had a feeling this was the issue but hoped it would be more straightforward. There has been a great deal of interest in my Mahara community to be able to include a tag block in the student profile and it sounds like a great deal more work would need to be done.


Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3866

24 January 2017, 10:29 PM

Hi Patric,

I'm afraid it does as far as I can see it because we typically only show other users to what they have access to and not what any portfolio owner has done in their portfolio for privacy reasons.

I wonder though if we could make it a bit easier though and therefore feedback from your users would be valuable.

What if a tag cloud on the profile page / in a block on any page were restricted to the tags on pages and collections and not worry about tags on content? We already filter out the pages and display them depending on the access another user has. Maybe displaying the tags for those pages in a separate block wouldn't be too hard. Would that be a possibility for you or do your users primarily tag artefacts but not pages and collections?

Why do you want the tag cloud? Is it to explore the portfolios of other people and to see where they have most of their content or is it to find specific content? If you use the fulltext search, you can limit the search results to tags and get both content and portfolio pages in which that content is used.




Patric Lougheed's profile picture
Posts: 76

25 January 2017, 8:35 AM

Hi Kristina,

I asked the instructor who has been working on this. Here is his response:


Thanks for the response.
The idea of the tag cloud with text size representing the use of tag was very appealing for the following reasons.  
One of the key emerging trends in education is the idea of competencies that arise from diverse experiences.  That is students collecting evidence from more project based experiences rather than being assessed not eh same thing.  Being able to tag a page or a collection with some key works that represent competencies allows the user to show how their diverse experiences are addressing accreditation or provincial competency descriptors.  The great advantage of this process is that rather than aiming pages and collections at competencies the user is able to create their portfolio as they want in relation their learning experiences and then as they create the final page/collection with an array of artifacts and reflections or during conferencing with others they can tag the evidence in relation to the competency.  
The key premise here is one does not realize a competency is being learned until after an experience that makes that competency make sense, defines it in terms of real experiences.
Secondly, I was working with a local school principle who runs a inquiry based program and they were using WORDPRESS to do this very process of tagging.  It was easy and allowed them to assess their students work.  In a way this was the only functional benefit of Wordpress over Mahara I could see, but it meant they would struggle on with Wordpress as portfolio rather than consider Mahara.
I created a mock up of a tag cloud from Mahara using the Tag cloud on the content page and showed this to the Ministry of Education here in BC and they were very excited by the idea.  Hence we have tried to pursue this with you as it would open the door for developing real digital portfolios by students, with a tagging system being used to assess in relation to Ministry of Education in BC new “Big Ideas” curriculum.  
Our key need would be the ability to display a tag cloud that linked to pages and collections.  Linking to artifacts would be of secondary importance and not needed if pages and collections, based on permissions set on the page/collection, could be displayed where the user wanted.
Finally, the really exciting pedagogical idea of such a tool is that at the end of a period of time the user could do a summative reflection on a particular tag (competency) by clicking on the tag, reviewing the tagged evidence and writing a summative reflection with tag cloud displayed and key artifacts highlighted.
Metaphorically, the tagging system offers cross-content, cross-context and cross-time reflection on a user’s learning, a kind of organic lattice work of learning inter-actions that would generate powerful autoethnographic learning potential for the user.  Funny enough this is key premise in professional learning literature but few tools effectively enable such a process.
Thanks for considering this idea and happy to follow-up or try to pilot anything.
Dr. Tim Hopper
Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3866

28 March 2017, 9:14 AM

Hello Patric and Tim,

I'm very sorry of having missed to answer you until now. Just saw the date of your last post. :-(

Thank you very much for the additional information and ideas that are coming through there. If we nail the permissions for displaying tags then that would be a great feature. We can already search for pages / portfolios by tag on "Shared with me" and also in the fulltext search. Aggregating that and putting a graphical representation on it would then be the next step as well as displaying a page where you only see the results with the chosen tag.

I'll follow up with an email.




30 March 2017, 6:05 AM



I am beginning to delve a bit in Mahara and have some ideas about what I would like to do with it but I find this particular idea quite interesting. I have a few questions / observations about how it could work and also to see if I understand correctly through my French.

  1. The Idea of a Tag Cloud implies having keywords shown bigger or smaller to represent their occurrences. Do you have in mind a representation based on each learner's work or a global representation of every user's ?
  2. In spite of the answer to the last question, and since permissions are the main problem, it would be nice to have such a feature at a user level, since one of the points is to help each learner make sense of his or hers experiences as a whole.
  3. Since a tag is just an instant DB query, it might be simple enough to have a global cloud which retrieves accessible content for the user making the query, thus working around the permissions problem. Of course, the search results may not represent the weight of a particular tag, and it may end up with too many empty results, but could it be a first step from which users may be more inclined to share their contents (I mean in some other place than Facebook ;-) ?

I find this idea very interesting because while tag clouds usually shows trends, it can effectively help the learner to see his experiences in a new light !

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3866

18 April 2017, 1:52 PM

Hello Yves,

Thank you for your thoughts on the tagging functionality. Currently, we are only looking at representing an individual learner's tags in the cloud rather than everyone's. The latter could be interesting, but so far, it was more to find content for a single person rather than seeing what everyone tagged.

We already have a few places where you can search for tagged portfolios and content: "Shared by me" and if you use the fulltext search, you can also search for tags only there. Then results are presented in a flat way not a cloud. But the cloud will make it visually more attractive and show an overall picture over a learner's content to which you have access rather than one tag at a time. :-)

I'm a fan of word / tag clouds as they can show patterns and trends very nicely that lists or tables with numerical representations can't do so easily.




Ramón Ovelar's profile picture
Posts: 6

23 July 2019, 11:08 PM

Hello Kristina,

I was wondering if there is some advancements in this tag cloud issue. As Mahara is offering the Diary feature, some users in my community are interested in creating pages that would display a sort of blog. Tagclouds being a typical element in blogs, this would be an interesting feature for them. I have read previous messages and understood the permission issue, but this should not be a problem for a public blog. Do you know if there is any plugin fitting our  need.

Many thanks in advance,

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3866

26 July 2019, 5:21 AM

Hi Ramón,

I'm afraid I'm not aware of anyone having made any progress on the tag cloud in a block setting. We've added a number of other tagging features in Mahara 18.10, but not to the effect of the tag cloud. Is that something that your team would like to tackle or is interested in sponsoring?



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