Mahara Assignment Submission

Assignment submissions ::: assignsubmission_mahara
Maintained by Catalyst logoAaron Wells, Tony Box, Ruslan Kabalin, Catalyst IT
Part of set Mahara.
Allows grading of Mahara portfolio pages & collections in Moodle.
Latest release:
456 sites
30 fans
Current versions available: 5

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.

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.


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  • 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?
  • 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
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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
  • Nick Williams
    Wed, Jun 19, 2019, 9:41 PM
    Is there a way to integrate plagiarism checking into Mahara submissions? We currently use the Turnitin V2 stand-alone plugin which as far as we know does not work with Mahara, however we are unsure if the TII plugin that integrates with Assignment activities would work.

    Any and all advice on this appreciated!


  • Nick Williams
    Wed, Jun 19, 2019, 9:45 PM
    Is there a way to integrate plagiarism checking into Mahara submissions? We currently use the Turnitin V2 stand-alone plugin which as far as we know does not work with Mahara, however we are unsure if the TII plugin that integrates with Assignment activities would work.

    Any and all advice on this appreciated!


  • Kristina Hoeppner
    Thu, Jun 20, 2019, 5:14 AM
    Hi Nick,

    At the moment the plugin doesn't work with Turnitin. Instead of continuing work on this MNet plugin, we are looking into making one available that uses LTI / web services as basis for the authentication connection. I don't yet have a definitive time yet when that will be available, but we are aiming for later in the year.

    That would then be the version of the plugin for which we would want to look into Turnitin integration. If you'd like to sponsor this project, please ge in touch with me.

    The Mahara portfolios submitted to Moodle are not actually stored in Moodle and thus wouldn't be able to go through Turnitin without any additional development work. And submitting an HTML export also hasn't work yet. As interim solution some organisations submit the portfolio as usual via the plugin and also make a PDF printout available as uploaded file to the submission which then goes through Turnitin. That way, Turnitin can see the text and evaluate it and the lecturers can still look at the portfolio itself along with any multimedia content, which would be ignored by Turnitin anyway.

  • Simon Davies
    Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 9:51 PM
    Hi Kristina, I'm currently working with a client that is hoping to adopt Mahara (ideal for their situation) but the absence of a direct plagiarism hookup is a potential deal-breaker - can you give any indication of when this might be available? Cheers, Simon
  • Andreas Schenkel
    Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 4:59 PM
    Will there be an update to support moodle 3.7 ?
  • Andreas Schenkel
    Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 2:22 AM
    Plugin scheint auch mit 3.7 zu funktionieren ....
  • Kristina Hoeppner
    Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 8:48 AM
    Thanks for the update, Andreas. Sorry, we haven't had time to review it for 3.7 yet. So your testing is very valuable.
  • Nicolas Dunand
    Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 7:14 PM
    Dear Kristina, Aaron, and CatalystIT team,

    Will there be any more updates for this plugin ?
  • Kristina Hoeppner
    Mon, Mar 14, 2022, 9:06 AM
    @mdelucas Work is underway to support submitting to Ouriginal (formerly Urkund), which should pave the way to make it available for Turnitin as well.
  • Kristina Hoeppner
    Thu, Mar 17, 2022, 3:00 AM
    A little clarification for the connection to Ouriginal: The changes are actually made to the Ouriginal plugin in Moodle (and thus would subsequently need to be made to the Turnitin plugin) rather than the Mahara assignment submission plugin. The Mahara assignment submission plugin is necessary though to connect the portfolios into the assignment for Ouriginal to pick it up.
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