Assignment submissions : Mahara Assignment Submission

Maintained by Catalyst logo Aaron Wells, Picture of Tony Box Tony Box, Picture of Ruslan Kabalin Ruslan Kabalin, Picture of Catalyst IT Catalyst IT
Allows grading of Mahara portfolio pages & collections in Moodle.
318 sites
30 fans
506 sites
22 fans

Mahara Assignment Submission Plugin

This repository houses an updated Mahara assignment submission plugin.


  • XML-RPC integration with a Mahara installation
  • The student selects one of their Mahara portfolio pages or collections as a Moodle assignment submission
  • If multiple submissions are allowed, it releases the previously selected submission
  • Abides by Moodle assignments config options
  • Popups for quickly previewing submissions (no windows... no tabs)
  • Mahara pages can be made to lock upon submission, and unlock upon grading. Or stay permanently locked. Or not lock at all.
  • Unlock-on-grading functionality also supports marking workflow. Submitted pages will unlock when the workflow state changes to "Released".



  1. Make sure that your Moodle and Mahara versions are up to date.
  2. Connect your Moodle and Mahara sites via MNet. (For detailed instructions see the Mahara wiki).
  3. If you are using Mahara 1.9 or earlier, apply the included patch file "mahara-patch.txt" to your Mahara site.
  4. If you are using Moodle 2.6, apply the included patch file "moodle-patch.txt" to your Moodle site.
  5. If you are using Moodle 2.5 or earlier, install the Mahara local plugin now.
  6. Install this plugin the normal way: by using the Moodle web installer, or by extracting the plugin archive to {Moodle_Root}/mod/assign/submission/mahara and going to the admin "Notifications" page.
  7. Once the plugin is installed, go to "Site administration -> Networking -> Manage Peers". Select the peer record for your Mahara site, click on the "Services" tab, and subscribe to the "Assign Submission Mahara services" service.
  8. Open the "Site admin" -> "Plugins" -> "Activity modules" -> "Assignment" -> "Submission plugins" -> "Mahara portfolio" and configure default locking behavior.
  9. Now you may create your first Mahara assignment.

Upgrading (Moodle 2.6 or later)

There were previously two different forks of the Mahara assignment submission plugin for Moodle, one developed by the University of Portland, and another by Lancaster University. This plugin is designed to allow you to upgrade from either. It will automatically detect which version of the plugin you have installed, and migrate it accordingly. So all you need to do is:

  1. Remove the current contents of your mod/assign/submission/mahara directory.
  2. Follow the steps under "Installation" above. (This will trigger the database upgrade script.)
  3. If you are using Moodle 2.7 or later and you have previously installed the Mahara assignment feedback plugin (mod/assign/feedback/mahara), the upgrade will prompt you to uninstall it. You will then need to remove its directory.
  4. If you have also installed the Mahara local plugin (local/mahara), you should now uninstall it and remove its directory.

NOTE: If you were using the Mahara assignment feedback plugin before, you need to upgrade this assignment submission plugin before uninstalling the assignment feedback plugin. This is to allow the per-assignment locking settings from the feedback plugin to be migrated into the replacement system in the submission plugin.


  1. Go into a Moodle course as a teacher.
  2. An an "Assignment" activity to the course.
  3. Under the assignment's "Submission types" section, you should see an option for "Mahara portfolio". Tick this box, and any others you also want the student to include in their submission.
  4. Use the "Lock submitted pages" menu to choose whether you want submitted Mahara pages & collections to be locked from editing in Mahara. This feature is useful if you wish to prevent students to edit the page after the submission deadline.
  5. Once the assignment is set up, a student in the course will see a screen to let them select one of their Mahara portfolio pages or collections as part of their assignment submission.
  6. As the teacher, when you view the assignment submission via the gradebook, you will see a link that will allow you to view the submitted Mahara page or collection. (The plugin will automatically generate the access rights in Mahara).
  7. See the Readme for more details.

Feedback plugin (Moodle 2.6 only)

In Moodle 2.6, if you set the plugin to lock submitted pages & collections, they will remain locked in Mahara permanently. If you wish them to become unlocked once they are graded, you should also install the Mahara assignment feedback plugin, and activate it in your assignment.


Please use plugin repository bug tracker for reporting issues.


The original Moodle 1.9 version of this plugin was funded through a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Education to a collaborative group of the following New Hampshire school districts:
  • Exeter Region Cooperative
  • Windham
  • Oyster River
  • Farmington
  • Newmarket
  • Timberlane School District

The upgrade to Moodle 2.0 and 2.1 was completed by Aaron Wells at Catalyst and supported by NetSpot and Pukunui Technology.

The upgrade to the Moodle 2.3 mod/assign plugin was developed by:

Subsequent updates to the plugin for Moodle 2.6 and 2.7 were implemented by Aaron Wells at Catalyst with funding from:

The upgrade to use events for unlocking behaviour and supporting grading workflow was developed by Lancaster University.


This plugin is part of set Mahara assignment.

Potential privacy issues

Mahara pages and collections submitted by the student will be visible to the teacher (or any Moodle user who can view the gradebook and grade students), regardless of their privacy settings in Mahara. The plugin generates a special "secret URL" for this purpose, which it links to in the Moodle gradebook. This acts like any other Mahara "secret URL", except that the student cannot delete it, and it will only work for users who are logged in to Mahara via MNet. If the page is released after grading, the "secret URL" will be disabled at that time.


Screenshot #0
Screenshot #1
Screenshot #2
Screenshot #3
Screenshot #4
Screenshot #5


Please login to view contributors details and/or to contact them

Comments RSS

Show comments
  • Picture of Andreas Schenkel
    Thu, Dec 8, 2016, 3:10 AM
    Hello. I am thinking about installing the "Mahara Assignment Submission plugin" for many moodle instances. Will the development of this plugin be continued in the future for the new moodle relaeses?
    I am a little bit afraid to install the plugin for so many schools. If the developement would stop then many schools would be disappointed ... So what should I do. Can you give me a hint?
  • Catalyst logo
    Mon, Jan 9, 2017, 6:36 AM
    Hi Andreas,

    My employer, Catalyst IT in New Zealand, is one of the primary maintainers of this plugin (and of Mahara). We're an open-source software consulting company. If you want some assurance that the plugin will continue to be maintained, your surest bet would be to look into opening a support contract with us. smile

    Outside of that, we try to at least test out the plugin against each new Moodle release to ensure that it continues to function. The fine folks at University of Portland and University of Lancaster have been putting in occasional work on the plugin as well, as needed by their institutions. And as an open-source project, we always welcome contributions from anyone, via the project's Github page.

  • Lina
    Fri, Mar 3, 2017, 5:31 PM
    Hi Aaron,
    We have installed the Mahara assignment plugin on Moodle3.1 and it was working fine.
    But after we've upgrade the Mahara to Mahara 16.10.1., we found the problem as below:

    Students can login to Mahara through Moodle. So the SSO is working fine.
    But when the students trying to add a Mahara submission, after they click the "add submission" button, it is always saying:
    You have no available Mahara pages or collections. Please click here to visit "Mahara" and create a new one.

    But the students do have a lot pages which are just created, haven't submitted to any other assignments yet.
    Would you please help with this?
    Many thanks.

    Best wishes,
  • Picture of Kristina Hoeppner
    Fri, Mar 24, 2017, 4:55 AM
    Discussed with Lina at and problem was resolved.
  • Picture of Bei Chapman
    Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 3:10 AM

    I have installed this plugin Release 1.2.1-mdl2.7+ in my 3.1.1 Moodle dev, and I have 16.10 Mahara dev. The SSO from Moodle to Mahara is working fine.

    The student can add the Mahara portfolio (page) in the Moodle assignment submission window w/o any trouble. However, when the teacher clicks on the submitted link via "view submissions" page in Moodle, it brings the teacher back to the Moodle dev login page. The same thing happens if the student clicks on "click here" link within the sentence "Select one of your available portfolio pages or collections from the list below, or click here to visit "cuportfolio-dev" and create a new one."

    I have examined the hyperlink for "click here", and it points to the same url as the link inside "Network services" block for SSO. But not sure why it doesn't work as the SSO link.

    It seems like it lost the session key for some reason.

    Any ideas what I have done wrong here?

    Thank you so much ahead.
  • Picture of Bei Chapman
    Fri, Jul 7, 2017, 1:40 AM
    Please ignore what I posted yesterday. The problem that I experienced disappeared today in my DEV env for no reason. Still not sure why though.

  • Paul
    Mon, Sep 11, 2017, 11:57 PM
    Any update on when the plugin will work with Moodle 3.3?
  • Picture of Kristina Hoeppner
    Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 7:12 AM
  • Picture of Nick Williams
    Fri, Mar 2, 2018, 11:52 PM
    Hi All,

    We have just installed the assignment plugin (build 2017101600) on our 3.1.5 Moodle and while we had successfully set up SSO beforehand however now when students attempt to submit anything to Mahara via an assignment they see a message saying "You have no available Mahara pages or collections. Please click here to visit "Home - Mahara" and create a new one."

    Has anyone else had similar trouble and managed to find a solution?


  • Picture of Kristina Hoeppner
    Mon, Mar 5, 2018, 11:43 AM
    Hi Nick. Have you verified that the students have portfolios in their accounts? Have you followed the setup instructions and subscribed to the service?
  • Picture of Hermann Klocker-Mark
    Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 4:24 PM
    I am using this plugin since years successfully. Since two weeks I have exactly the same problem

    You have no available Mahara pages or collections. Please click here to visit

    for only ONE specific user - it is working for all others. Where should I look into?

    Version: 3.4.1+ (2017111301.07)
    Release: 02.28.2018
    PHP: 7.0.25-0ubuntu0.16.04.1
    Mahara Version | 17.10.3
  • Picture of Kristina Hoeppner
    Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 3:59 AM
    Hermann, what makes this specific user different than the others? Does that user have any portfolios in their account that have already been submitted? Is there anything in the error log (Moodle / Mahara) when that the account tries to retrieve the portfolios?
  • Picture of Simon Lewis
    Mon, Nov 12, 2018, 11:51 PM
    It looks like we have the exact same issue as Hermann & Nick were having, but I can't find any solution anyhwere.
    We've been trying to fix it for a few days but with no luck. Basically it seems that if a student has created more than 5 mahara pages the link doesn't work and on moodle this message comes up "You have no available Mahara pages or collections. Please click here to visit "Home - Mahara" and create a new one." Less than 5 pages it seems to work ok and the list displays. We updated to moodle 3.4.3 this summer and these are the first submissions since. Our mahara version is 18.04.02 and the assignsubmission_mahara plugin version is 1.3 2018053100.
    Can anyone post how they fixed the problem?
  • Picture of Gary Prosser
    Tue, May 14, 2019, 5:20 AM
    Hi - we have had success with students who can 'submit' their portfolio (created on our mahara site) into a moodle assignment (a different server connected via mnet). My question is about grading: for each student has 'submitted' the name of their portfolio is shown with a 'Grade' button. The Grade button in the grading grid opens a window with a document 'preview' area and a message 'Generating PDF'. However, the pdf is always a single blank page.

    Also from the Assignment administration block 'Download all submissions' leads to a message 'Nothing has been submitted for this assignment'.

    Non Mahara portfolio assignments ie plain file submission DO show submitted files (pdf, docx etc) as annotatable pdf.

    Is my expectation that documents in the submitted portfolio will be viewable AND annotatable within Moodle incorrect (meaning the grader has to 'jump' to Mahara to view each document) ?

    We are using v 1.2.3 of this plugin, v 3.3.5 Moodle and v 1.7 of Mahara
1 2 3
Please login to post comments