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23 July 2009, 8:24

Dear Richard, I think that your answer is not correct.
Paul's observation is useful.
The lack of documentation is making void the availability and development of additional issues and further extensions, plugins, etc.
I have the impression that the development team is too focused on himself and not on the community.
An open source project should work to reverse.
I have the impression that all are developing similar code to customize without a rational sharing with enormous waste of resources.
We need a manager operating at 100% on the contribution of developers to coordinate and plan.
Without rancor, Fiorentino
anonymous profile picture
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23 July 2009, 16:07

Hi Fiorentino,
I agree that Paul's post is useful and it is taken on board as I said. We are aware that documentation is lagging code changes and we aim to address that presently. We are also conscious of where some usability improvements can be made and this is an ongoing process. My point is that Mahara is an open source project and therefore inherently a continuous work in progress. Contributions are made by community members and obviously by the core coding team. There are many ways community members can contribute - they do not need to be developers - commissioned improvements, technical documentataion etc. are ways of contributing.

There will be a big effort shortly to improve the technical documentation we have to assist the community to make code contributions. There is coordination and planning via the roadmap on the Mahara wiki.

Thank-you for your post.



24 July 2009, 10:06

In Italy we say: "Behind a great man there is a great woman." I would say in this case: "Behind a great software, there is a great group." I am glad that you have correctly understood my words Richard and I am grateful you for thanks. I believed in Mahara from the first day and know that I have already given some assistance (see Italian translation). I hope to give more over time. Unfortunately they are not exactly an expert programmer, but I am a great worker and I always wanted to learn. I am sure that as soon as you are dedicated to the growth of the community. Meanwhile, I recommend this model. So the most urgent changes could easily be funded in small batches. Possibly the persons concerned could be used to finance the changes by dividing the expense. Greetings dear.
P.S. I hope to return soon to my request some time ago that certainly remember.
Craig Eves's profile picture
Posts: 104

22 July 2009, 23:41

Hi Paul

I am also not a developer but am able to provide support to over 8000 users of a Mahara  system in schools and tertiary institutes in NZ.

We have supplemented the documentation from the Mahara wiki  with videos and word documents, see

Mahara is reasonably intuitive with a wizards to create views, the school students seem to be a bit more able to cope with ambiguities better.  There are some usability issues that have been identified that are being worked on,  unfortunately this all takes time (and money).

There is an increasing level of interest in eportfolio systems in general so hopefully this will mean Mahara developments will progress faster.  Who knows, Mahara may reach a critical mass and take off like Moodle has.

In the end though it is up to you to decide which eportfolio system meets your needs best.




anonymous profile picture
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23 July 2009, 0:45

Many thanks Craig

I will have a look.

I was in Adelaide yesterday and this morning for a government meeting on funding training that was stressing Recognition of Prior learning and indeed was pushing elearning products such as Mahara. 

I just cant see how I can use the program without extensive customisation, and my attempts of hacking it havet been all that successful as I cannot understand the structure from the technical documentation.

But as it seems that I can unsubscribe, manually or by clicking the link I might as well see if I can't make it work



anonymous profile picture
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23 July 2009, 4:15

Hello guys,

 For all of us in the Old World - Ah,L' Europe, L'Europe...-, you may find useful to know the Directive 2002/58/EC about electronic communications privacy and spam:

I am also very interested in Paul's statement  " The absence of intelligible documentation really means that I am unwilling to require my staff to use the package.".

Although we have a user's guide in the form of a wiki, I do agree that the documentation may not be very appealing for many users ( I never managed that the lecturers of my college read it, for instance).From a training perspective, it would be very useful to have feedback and ideas from the community about how to make that guide more interactive and atractive.

I made some videos in camtasia that are free for download in my view. .Some users may like videos, although I am not very keen on "over-youtubing people". We had that debate in Sloodle, where the quality of some of the training videos displayed in YouTube was so poor that you need watch the video 4 or 5 times before you know which button you must press. 

I have dicovered recently Vimeo, that allows you to upload high quality videos (nothing to see with YouTube). However, according to their code of practice and ethos, training videos about Mahara could be seen as promoting a commercial product, so I don't think that we could use that channel.

Any feedback, ideas about revamping the user's guide are very welcome!


Craig Eves's profile picture
Posts: 104

23 July 2009, 18:54

I have a few ideas in this area.

The first step would see what documentation has already been developed - I know there is lots of material like your video that could be used. This need to be collated and managed (maybe in a separate documentation project )

In my opinion the best place to have user documenation available is within the application itself  - this makes it easy to find and maintain.

There are  different levels of users so there should be resources aimed at

  • getting started including description of the software purpose, installation requirements, login etc
  • introductory level - step by step instuctions with screenshots on performing common tasks
  • experienced users - task orientated, problems resolution , system reference etc

What can be done to improve the current documenation ?

make it more interactive - eg include in application with context sensitive help 

make content more tutorial like based around common tasks rather than a reference manual

add resources developed by the community

start a documentation project

I am willing to contribute in whatever way I can in my spare time Smile




anonymous profile picture
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19 November 2009, 9:07

PLEASE UNSUBSCRIBE ME! I can't figure out how to do it on the website.....I don't want any more emails from Mahara!!
anonymous profile picture
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19 November 2009, 17:59

It looks like you are already. Clicking on the "unsbscribe" link in the e-mails you get sent will unsubscribe you, and it looks like you've done that.
Of course, if you get this message, you might not actually be unsubscribed.. which would mean there's another bug Frown 
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