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.
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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.


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Comments RSS


  • Picture of Tony Box
    Thu, 26 Sep 2013, 12:47 AM
    Hi Roland,

    Thanks a bunch for the detailed bug report. Would you please add it to the bug tracker on GitHub?

    You can find the link to the bug tracker up above, within the "Useful Links" section which is below the description of the plugin.

  • Picture of Bei Chapman
    Thu, 17 Jul 2014, 3:58 AM
    Hi Tony,

    I am very new to Mahara thing. Today I installed these 3 Mahara plugins (assignment submission, feedback and local) into my moodle dev environment, which is using Moodle 2.6.2 and PHP 5.3.3. I haven't studied and touched Mahara instance on a separate site.

    However, when I go to course, and try to add an assignment, I get the following error:
    "QuickForm Error: nonexistent html element Element 'assignsubmission_mahara_enabled' does not exist in HTML_QuickForm::removeElement()"

    Basically the assignment tool is not usable now.

    Any ideas what I did wrong here?

    Thanks a lot.
  • Paul
    Fri, 19 Dec 2014, 4:08 AM
    Will this tool work with Moodle 2.7 and 2.8? Further, does it work with Mahara 1.10?
  • Picture of Tony Box
    Fri, 19 Dec 2014, 7:53 AM
    Hi Paul,

    This version of the plugin will no longer be supported and is going to be replaced by a new version that will work with moodle 2.6+. The new version is going to be maintained by the Mahara team themselves. An added bonus is that the local plugin will no longer be needed.

    If you check back sometime next week or possibly early January, the Mahara assignment submission and feedback plugins will both be updated with the newest versions.

  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 11 Mar 2015, 11:16 PM
    I just tried out the latest version from February 10th, 2015 and I am most impressed.
    This version seems to work flawlessly with our setup and I greatly appreciate your work on this. I love that our teachers can grade portfolio pages right in Moodle. Great job to all involved.
  • Catalyst logo
    Thu, 12 Mar 2015, 10:15 AM
    Thanks Chris, I'm glad to hear it!
  • Picture of Anis Jradah
    Wed, 27 May 2015, 4:23 PM
    Dear All,

    While we are upgrading to the latest version we are getting this error:
    Cannot downgrade assignsubmission_mahara from 20140412000 to 2014082002.

    Any help.

    Thank you,
  • Catalyst logo
    Thu, 28 May 2015, 7:43 AM
    It appears that the problem Anis describes, is due to the last release of the Portland U plugin having an erroneous extra "0" on the end of its version number. The workaround is to directly update the stored version number in your database.

    update mdl_config_plugins set value='2014041200' where plugin='assignsubmission_mahara' and name='version' and value='20140412000';

    There is a bug tracker report about this issue here:
  • Picture of Remy Olasoji
    Wed, 7 Oct 2015, 6:38 PM
    Dear all,

    Thanks for these plugin which I believe I installed successfully today. As directed, I subscribed to "Assign Submission Mahara services" on our peer record's Services tab. However, when I tried to add an assignment activity to a course, there was no option for Mahara as a submission type.

    Have I missed a step?

  • Picture of Remy Olasoji
    Wed, 7 Oct 2015, 6:40 PM
    By the way, we've got Moodle 2.7.7 and Mahara 15.04 installed so I've downloaded and installed assignfeedback_mahara_moodle27_2014051200 & assignsubmission_mahara_moodle27_2014110502 plugins.
  • Picture of Remy Olasoji
    Wed, 7 Oct 2015, 10:20 PM

    UPDATE: Please ignore the above two comments. The option is now showing - cache problem I guess.
    My apologies.

  • Picture of Anis Jradah
    Wed, 4 Nov 2015, 8:46 PM
    Dear All,

    Kindly advise if this plug-in works well with Moodle 2.9

    Thank you for your help.

    Best regards,
  • Catalyst logo
    Fri, 6 Nov 2015, 1:32 PM
    Hi Anis,

    I haven't tested it in Moodle 2.9 yet, so I can't say for sure. But at a quick glance it looks like there aren't any major API differences for mod/assign between 2.8 and 2.9, so the Moodle 2.8 version will probably work in Moodle 2.9.

  • Catalyst logo
    Mon, 9 Nov 2015, 2:43 PM
    Update: It has been verified that the plugin works in Moodle 2.9.
  • Catalyst logo
    Mon, 7 Dec 2015, 1:15 PM
    I've tested and found that the current version of the plugin also works fine in Moodle 3.0:
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