Mahara in Practice 1 – Groups and Assessment

One of the least understood things in Mahara is the potential for using groups as an assessment mechanism. I think this is because of two reasons:

  1. The documentation about this feature on is not great, something I’ll rectify shortly after making this post (if I can stay awake), and
  2. Those who sign up for a free demo Mahara account anywhere won’t get to see the feature, as you need an Admin user to set up the special group types that can be used for assessment.

For a while its struck me as a shame that this is the case as I think it is one of Mahara’s better kept secrets, so I have finally gotten around to putting together a presentation on how it all works, why you should care and what would make it better in future.

The essence of this feature in Mahara is the existence of mythical beasts called ‘Course groups’, which are groups set up with the main purpose of having users submit a view into the group for review or assessment, with the view being locked from editing while the view is being assessed. Rather than write about it, I’ll just sit back and let the man on the video do the talking. Enjoy.

While I’m here, I’ll share the news that I’ll hopefully be presenting at the UK Moodlemoot in April and will most definitely be presenting and maybe running a workshop at the Australian Moodlemoot in July, so come along and say hi while I’m wandering around trying to keep my serious work face on. This would particularly help at the UK Moot where I’ll be jetlagged, ten thousand miles from home and feeling like a small-town kid in one of the biggest cities in the world for the first time – which coincidentally is exactly what I’ll be.

Oh, and if you’re keen on presenting at the Australian Moot for either a presentation slot or a workshop then we’re now accepting submissions – get on board!

4 thoughts on “Mahara in Practice 1 – Groups and Assessment

  1. Thanks to your video now I can understand the course-groups! I used to try creating some of them, but I couldn’t keep on finding how they work.

    But now I’ve done in my mahara test site what you say and I have they working fine. 🙂

    Thanks for your work. I’ll spread between my teachers so they could go in deep into Mahara assessment possibilities.

  2. Hi Mark

    Thanks for the video. Very helpful. I do have a question though:

    In a Course Controlled Membership group, are members of that group visible to other members of Mahara who are not part of the Controlled Membership Group?

    What we have is a Moodle recognition course. Within the Moodle course there are groups. Mahara is accessed by students from Moodle. Students will upload evidence into Mahara. What we want to do is to keep the Moodle groups distinct from each other in Mahara. Can we do this using the Course Controlled Membership Group functionality or is there another way?


    • Hi Ann,

      In a word – no. The focus of Mahara is quite different from Moodle and is based around openness and social networking, so users are free to search for and find other users within Mahara, their membership to any groups is irrelevant.

      There has been talk of setting up a ‘walled garden’ concept in Mahara, (search for that term in if you want to find out from the source) which aims to segregate users belonging to different institutions in Mahara, which would be the case if you had people connecting from two different Moodle sites for example, but this is about as close as you’ll get as far as I know.

      Hope this helps,


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