Mahara Assessment in Moodle 2

It seems like far more than a year or so ago that I wrote my previous post on how Mahara views could submitted for assessment in Moodle 1.9. Since then we’ve had the long awaited release of Moodle 2, a few releases of Mahara, and a whole bunch of other things which have distracted my attention from making noise about how much I wanted this feature to be updated for Moodle 2.

At last, the wait is over.

Part of my not-so-new-any-more role as Director of Consulting at NetSpot lets me advocate for the popular changes that I hear about from our clients and the broader community, and the ability to have a more seamless integration between Moodle and Mahara has been one which I’ve heard about many times from our clients who are using both products.

It all came to a head at a recent conference when a lecturer from a Moodle using University said to me:

If the view submission integration between Mahara and Moodle was updated for Moodle 2 then it would be the feature which would set these two apart from any other LMS/ePortfolio combination on the market for us…

Enough was enough, and so a few emails and phone calls later, with the help of Kristina Hoeppner and Richard Mansfield from the Mahara development team at Catalyst IT (who had already funded the bulk of the project), and some top-up funding kindly provided by NetSpot (thanks to Allan for his support on this one) and Pukunui Technology to finish off the development work to upgrade the 1.9 code and the integration has now been released to the community. As Moodleman has pointed out – this is a neat example of where three Mahara Partners/Moodle Partners have worked together to help a great idea make it to reality.

So what is so good about this integration? Check out the video below and you’ll see.

I can see huge potential for this feature to be used by any educational institution wanting to use Mahara as a portfolio assessment tool, while also allowing it to store result information within a student’s ePortfolio for safekeeping where they can use them as they please.

This to me now finishes the second of three killer features of the integration:

  • The first arrived with Moodle 2.0 with the ability to push content from Moodle into Mahara.
  • This is the second – the ability to submit Mahara pages (formerly views) for assessment in Moodle.
  • The final nail in the coffin will be the ability to browse for Mahara files through the file picker within Moodle – something which needs your vote in the Tracker to keep near the top of the new developments list.

Installation instructions and links to the code can all be found on the Mahara wiki, and if you’re coming to the ePortfolios Australia Conference next month then come and see me at the Mahara booth and I’ll show you a live demo and answer any questions as best I can – or head over to the Mahara Community forum about the integration and ask the developers directly.

28 comments on “Mahara Assessment in Moodle 2

  1. Great feature, this will definitely be most welcome and useful for institutions using both systems. For students it’ll be another step to self-directed learning, making it easier at the same time to fulfill the teacher’s requirements for submitting assignments ;-) into Moodle. A very logic step! Thank you all!

  2. Great to see. Funding of this project was 50% Netspot and 50% Pukunui Technology. Great to see Moodle Partners able to joint fund features to fast track them out.

    I agree on the Mahara Repository being a next logical step. Lets make that our next funding project! :)

    Julian

    • Hi Julian,
      I thought it was client funded work rather than work funded directly from Pukunui? If I’d know it was actually funded by Pukunui I’d have given credit – apologies!
      I’d also love to know who the major contributor of funding was for the upgrade that Kristina alluded to so I could thank them. Anyone know?
      Mark.

  3. Hi Mark

    Many thanks for this post and to NetSpot and Pukunui.

    I think is was just plain old Catalyst that financed the rest of the job.

    But plenty thanks to go round as ever for continuing Mahara sponsorship and contributions, including New Zealand’s Managed Learning Environment (MLE) team at the Ministry of Education.

    Don

  4. Looks great Mark but I do remain worried about the tendency for academic staff to just use the eportfolio as a glorified assessment management tool. Here students do this in your eportfolio and then submit it. Well what’s the difference between that and any other method of submission? Just that a copy sits in the eportfolio.

    Sorry to sound negative but all too often I see good tech used for bad purposes or to benefit the academic and not the student. I’m sure this tech is excellent if well used. Let’s hope it is.

  5. @Mark Smithers
    Hey Mark,

    Fair call – as with any technology, its only ever as good as the people using it :)

    I should apologise for the fairly trite example I provided, I should have been far more creative, but it was late, I was tired, and one of the down sides of being a vendor is that you tend to think of the most common use cases you hear about out in the field, which in my experiences are rarely mindblowing :)

    Thanks for the feedback,

    Mark.

  6. Hi Mark

    This is fantastic and certainly something i’ve been looking for, for a while now. I’m just wondering whether the lecturer is able to go back to the unit at any time and revisit the students work (even post assessment?).

    And whether the comments made by the lecturer reside in Mahara with the view/page or are back in Moodle inside the unit?

    Thanks!
    Rebecca

    • Answer to both is – it depends.

      The lecturer could go back and look at the link post-course, but it would depend on whether the student has left the view there as to whether they could access it.

      Re the comments – it would depend if the comment was left on the Feedback link in the view or in the Feedback area within the Moodle assignment.

      Hope that helps :)

      Mark.

  7. Hi Mark,

    Firstly, thanks for the wonderful video on Mahara Assignments, it left me with a sigh-of-relief to see how Mahara views can be assessed without using Course Groups (absolute nightmare in tracking what has been submitted after released back to student)

    An issue I do have (among many) is if a student would like to submit a collection, does this plugin meet that expectation yet?

    Thanks!

    Gemma

    • I have a workaround for you.
      Once a student has created a collection all they have to do is create a secret URL to their collection. Then create a single page that has a text box in it with a link to the Collection’s secret URL.

      Then they submit the single page with the link.

      It’s a little messy but it works.

      Regards,

      Rupert.

  8. Hi Mark:
    I just looked at this again in the context of Mozilla’s Open Badges. http://openbadges.org/ I like the idea of Moodle Outcomes pushing back to Mahara – similar to their concept for the Open Badge infrastructure.

    Can you email me to follow up? I’m a Mahara producer (not SW developer) developing an idea that would be great to get your feedback on. Should be interesting and shouldn’t take long if it isn’t.

    PS: they’ve announced a competition for funding with the MacArthur Foundation.

  9. Hi Gemma,

    I’ve been asking on the Mahara forums and there’s no Collection submission as yet. They say a year or more. My pilot participants should appreciate the integration after fighting with the course groups view submission, but all they see is the lack of collection submission.

    Thanks for the update, Mark.

  10. Hi Mark,

    I’ve just received word that the Mahoodle integration doesn’t work properly with Mahara 1.4 – via Netspot code review – but your video and the live demonstration you gave at the ePortfolio conference showed it working with 1.4. Are you aware of the issues with the Outcomes Module not working correctly with Mahara 1.4?

    Thanks,

    Fiona

    • Hi Fiona,

      Haven’t come across either of these, but I know that the Tech Support team here are looking at it for your instance – I’ll leave it to them to comment back through the appropriate channels.

      Mark.

  11. Hi Mark

    Just wanted to query an issue that i’ve stumbled across with this otherwise awesome component.

    When choosing a page to submit, there is nothing stopping the student from clicking on multiple pages. Only the last page is actually submitted for assessment, however the other pages that the student has previously clicked on to submit seem to be ‘locked’ and no way to unlock them. The lecturer doesn’t see them to assess and release, and the student can’t unlock them.

    Have you come across this issue?

    Cheers
    Rebecca

    • Hi Rebecca,

      No, haven’t seen this one I’m afraid – I’d post it at mahara.org in the Mahoodle forums for a start and see how you go, or speak to the vendor supporting your Moodle/Mahara sites.

      Cheers,

      Mark.

  12. Hi Mark,

    It was an error in the review. All is well in the land of Moodle 2.0 and Mahara 1.4 integration.

    Thank you,

    Fiona

    • Hi Fiona,

      Yep, Luke and I worked through the expected versus observed behaviour, Luke sorted the issues and we sent a couple of code tweaks back to the Mahara developers. Glad its all resolved :)

      Mark.

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