8.2. Configure site

Administration → Configure site

Note

Configure site is only accessible by site administrators.

In Configure site you can:

  • set general parameters for your Mahara site
  • edit site pages
  • determine the display of certain menu items
  • allow networking with Moodle or another Mahara
  • create and share site pages and collections
  • upload site files

8.2.1. Site options

Administration → Configure site → Site options

In Site options you can set global options that will apply by default throughout the entire site.

Note

One or more fields may be disabled if overridden by a setting in your config.php file.

When you are done editing one or more settings, click the Update site options button at the bottom of the page.

8.2.1.1. Site settings

Site settings

Site settings

  1. Site name: Choose a name for your Mahara instance. It appears in certain places around the site, e.g. in the title bar of the browser and in emails sent from the site. Therefore, it should not be too long.
  2. Language: Set the default language for your site. If you have multiple language packs installed, you see a drop-down menu. Otherwise, the standard language, English, is displayed.
  3. Country: The country selected is the default for country selections throughout your Mahara installation, e.g. in contact information.
  4. Theme: Mahara comes with a number of themes that you can use. Choose one from the drop-down menu to make it the default theme for your site. If you have institutions set up, they can choose their own theme. You can search for community-contributed themes on the Mahara wiki.
  5. Drop-down navigation: If selected, the main Mahara navigation uses a drop-down menu for its sub navigation.
  6. Show homepage information: If enabled, information about Mahara and how it is used is displayed on the homepage for logged-out and on the Dashboard for logged-in users. Logged-in users can disable this. See also Quick links.
  7. Send weekly updates?: If checked, your site sends weekly updates to mahara.org with some statistics about your site. See also Register your Mahara site.

Note

You can install more language packs. There is a complete list of them as well as more information about the language packs on the wiki.

8.2.1.2. User settings

User settings

User settings

  1. Users can choose page themes: If this setting is enabled, users can select a theme for their portfolio page. The page is displayed with this theme to other users. Thus, the institution or site theme can be overwritten.

  2. Display remote avatars: If checked, users’ default profile pictures will be their Gravatar pictures (remote avatar). Users will need an account with Gravatar for this to work.

    Note

    If you use your own avatar server to provide profile pictures for your users, you can use that instead of Gravatar for the default profile pictures. In order to do so, you need to add $cfg->remoteavatarbaseurl = 'http://example.com/avatar/'; (with the correct URL to your service) to your config.php.

  3. Users can hide real names: If checked, users who have set a display name may choose to be searchable only by their display name and will not be found in searches by their real name. In the administration section of the site, users are always searchable by their real names. An administrator (site and institution) always sees the display name, first and last name and username.

  4. Search usernames: If checked, usernames can be searched on as part of “Search users” on the Dashboard and via Find friends.

  5. Anonymous comments: If checked, logged-out users / users without a login can leave comments on public pages or pages they can access via a secret URL.

  6. Logged-in profile access: If this option is unchecked, profile pages are initially viewable by all logged-in users, but the owner is allowed to restrict access to a smaller group if they wish. Enable this option if you want to make sure all users can see each others’ profile pages. Profiles of institution members will always be visible to other members of the same institution.

  7. Staff report access: If enabled, institution staff will have access to the reports page for users in their institutions. This page is normally restricted to administrators and lists extra user information including page access lists.

  8. Staff statistics access: If enabled, institution staff will have access to the statistics for users in their institutions. This is normally restricted to administrators and site staff.

  9. Users can disable device detection: If checked, users can disable mobile device detection in their account settings. This allows them to be more flexible in what they can view and do on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. This setting is part of the responsive design changes to Mahara.

  10. new in Mahara 1.7 Require reason for masquerading: If checked, administrators will be required to enter a reason for masquerading as other users. This will be logged, and if the setting “Notify users of masquerading” is enabled, included in the notification to the user about the masquerading. This setting needs logging to be turned on.

  11. new in Mahara 1.7 Notify users of masquerading: If checked, users will be notified when an administrator masqueraded as them. The notification will include who, when and - if enabled under “Require reason for masquerading” - why. This setting needs logging to be turned on.

8.2.1.3. Search settings

Mahara comes with a search plugin that allows you to search for users and pages. If you install another search plugin, you will be able to select which one to use for your site.

Search settings

Search settings

See also

You can configure the internal search plugin in the administration of the search plugin.

8.2.1.4. Group settings

Mahara cannot only be used for individual work but also to work collaboratively in groups. Some settings are available in that area.

Group settings

Group settings

  1. Create groups: You decide whether administrators, administrators and staff or everyone can create groups. The default setting is the most permissive “everyone” because Mahara is user-centered and gives the individual users a great deal of control over what they want to do. If you choose to limit the group creation to administrators (and staff), these need to be contacted to set up groups. There is no internal group request system.
  2. Create public groups: Choose whether everyone or only administrators can create public groups. These are groups for which you do not need to be a member of the group or even have a login for Mahara to view the group homepage, discussion forums (and member listing if the group administrator allowed that).
  3. Allow group categories: If checked, site administrators can create categories for users to assign to their groups. These categories can be used to filter groups in My groups and Find groups.

See also

Group categories are managed by site administrators in the groups area of the administration.

8.2.1.5. Institution settings

You can use Mahara with multiple institutions and separate them for administrative purposes, e.g. user management and permissions, and to give them a different theme.

Institution settings

Institution settings

  1. Users allowed multiple institutions: If checked, users can be members of several institutions at the same time. Thus, a user who belongs to two or more institutions only needs one account.
  2. Warning time for institution expiry: If set, a notification will be sent to site and institution administrators this amount of time before an institution is due to expire and be suspended. This time may be specified in days, weeks, months, years or “No end date”. If the latter option is chosen, institutions will not expire by default.
  3. Auto-suspend expired institutions: If set, this option will allow Mahara to automatically suspend an institution that has expired automatically. This means that users of that institution will not be able to log in until the institution has been unsuspended.

8.2.1.6. Account settings

Account settings

Account settings

  1. Session lifetime: For security reasons, after a specified period of inactivity, a user will be logged off the site automatically. This field specifies this time in minutes. The default value is 1440 minutes (24 hours).
  2. new in Mahara 1.7 Default registration expiry lifetime: As site administrator you can decide when pending registrations that require approval expire. This time may be specified in days, weeks, months, years or “No end date”. If the latter option is chosen, pending registrations will not expire by default. The default value is 2 weeks.
  3. Default account lifetime: If set, user accounts will expire after this amount of time from when they were created. When a user account is expired, the user cannot log in. This time may be specified in days, weeks, months, years or “No end date”. If the latter option is chosen, accounts will not expire by default.
  4. Default account inactivity time: If set, users who do not log in for this amount of time will be considered “inactive” and will not be able to log in anymore. This time may be specified in days, weeks, months, years or “No end date”. If the latter option is chosen, users are not set to “inactive” by default.
  5. Warning time for inactivity / expiry: If set, a warning message will be sent to users this amount of time before their accounts are due to expire or become inactive. This time may be specified in days, weeks, months, years or “No end date”. If the latter is chosen, users do not receive a warning before their account expires or they are flagged as having an inactive account.

8.2.1.7. Security settings

Security settings

Security settings

  1. Virus checking: If you want all files that are uploaded by users to be run through the ClamAV virus scanner, you should select the virus checking option. You have to have ClamAV installed on your server. For security reasons, the path to ClamAV on your server needs to be provided in the config.php: $cfg->pathtoclam = 'YOUR_PATH_TO_CLAMSCAN';.
  2. Anti-spam: There are three levels of anti-spam protection available for publicly visible forms such as the contact and registration forms. A form submission is never silently rejected. Rather, an error message is displayed asking the user to try again if the submission is classified as spam. The three choices are:
    • None: No anti-spam checks are performed on form submissions.
    • Simple: Some basic checks are performed. Form submissions with email addresses that are not well-formed or that have an excessive number of URLs are rejected.
    • Advanced: Performs additional checks to determine whether email addresses are real or contain URLs that are blacklisted. This requires an Internet connection.
  3. Enable Spamhaus URL blacklist: If enabled, URLs will be checked against the Spamhaus DNSBL. The Spamhaus Project provides a URL blacklist that is free for non-commercial, low-traffic use. A professional use datafeed service is also available but not supported in Mahara. Please read the Spamhaus DNSBL usage terms before enabling this option.
  4. Enable SURBL URL blacklist: If enabled, URLs will be checked against the SURBL DNSBL. SURBL provides a URL blacklist that is free for organizations with fewer than 1000 users. A professional use datafeed service is also available, but not supported in Mahara. Please read the SURBL usage terms before enabling this option.
  5. Disable external resources in user HTML: Turning this option on will prevent users from embedding external resources such as images from remote sites into their forum posts and other HTML content. It is however a good thing to do from a security standpoint since it does neutralise a few clever phishing attacks. See the HTML Purifier documentation for more details.

8.2.1.8. Proxy settings

Proxy settings

Proxy settings

  1. Proxy address: If your site uses a proxy server to access the Internet, specify the proxies in hostname:portnumber notation.
  2. Proxy authentication model: Select your proxy’s authentication model (none or basic [NCSA]), if appropriate.
  3. Proxy credentials: Enter the credentials required for your proxy to authenticate your web server in username:password format.

8.2.1.9. Email settings

Email settings

Email settings

  1. SMTP host: If you want to force Mahara to use a specific SMTP server instead of the system one, enter its hostname here, e.g. smtp.example.com. It is possible to specify more than one host by separating them with semicolons, e.g. smtp1.example.com;smtp2.example.com, but keep in mind that all other settings, e.g. authentication credentials and port numbers, will apply to all listed servers. It is not possible to specify different credentials for each server in this list. This feature is useful when SMTP host authentication is not required or you list different frontends for the same mail server in which case other settings will work.
  2. SMTP port: If your SMTP server uses a port number different from 25, you may specify it here. When encryption is enabled, the default ports are 465 for SSL and 587 for TLS. You only need to specify a port number if it is different from these. Check the correct settings with your mail service provider.
  3. User: If your SMTP server requires authentication, enter your username here.
  4. Password: If your SMTP server requires authentication, enter your password here.
  5. SMTP encryption: If your SMTP server supports encryption, enable it here.
  6. System mail address: This email address is the address that emails are sent from Mahara.
  7. Default notification method: Choose the notification method that is used for all notifications of new users on the site. The options are:
    • Email
    • Email digest
    • Inbox

8.2.1.10. General settings

General settings

General settings

  1. Allow public pages: If checked, users can create portfolio pages that are accessible to the public rather than only to logged-in users.
  2. Allow public profiles: If checked, users can set their profile pages to be accessible to the public rather than only to logged-in users. However, only logged-in users can use interactive features such as the wall. If the option “Allow public pages” is chosen, “Allow public profiles” is automatically selected.
  3. Generate sitemap: If checked, sitemap files from publicly accessible pages, groups and forum topics are generated that can be sent to another service.
  4. Enable portfolio search: If checked, the “Search my portfolio” side block is displayed in the Content and Portfolio sections of the site. However, it has not been working for most users for a long time.
  5. Enable tag cloud: If checked, users see a side block in the Content and Portfolio sections of the site with a list of their most frequently used tags. The number of tags displayed is defined by the option “Maximum tags in cloud”.
  6. Maximum tags in cloud: Enter the default number of tags to display in user tag clouds. Users can change this number in their account settings.
  7. Small page headers: If checked, a small header and site navigation block are displayed when viewing or editing portfolio pages instead of the standard header. This option gives more space for the portfolio content itself. The small page header is visible at all times when you are on a portfolio page.
  8. Show online users: If checked, users see a side block with a list of the users who have been logged-in in the last 10 minutes (cf. the dashboard).
  9. Online users limit: Enter the maximum number of users to display in the Online users side block.
  10. Registration agreement: If checked, you force users to agree to the “Terms and Conditions” before registration. You should edit your site’s “Terms and Conditions” page before enabling this option. You can do so under Edit site pages.
  11. new in Mahara 1.7 License metadata: If checked, users can choose under which license they want to make their content available. They can set a default license in their account settings and then decide for each artefact individually as well. This setting can be overwritten by an institution administrator in the institution settings.
  12. new in Mahara 1.7 Allow custom licenses: If checked, users can enter any URL as license for their content. If not checked, users will be limited to the licenses configured by the site administrator.
  13. Allow mobile uploads: If checked, users have the option of setting authentication tokens in their account settings. That allows them to upload content from their mobile devices. You can enter more than one token in order to connect mutliple mobile devices.
  14. HTML editor: Choose whether the HTML editor is used by default or not. If set to User-defined, users will be allowed to choose whether to use the HTML editor in their personal settings or not. Otherwise the specified setting will be used site-wide.

8.2.1.11. new in Mahara 1.7 Logging settings

Mahara logs a number of events. These can now be collected in the database as well. The primary reason for logging events in the database is the logging of administrators masquerading as users for enhanced audits of these actions.

Logging settings

Logging settings

  1. Log events: Decide which events you wish to log in the database. Events are generated every time the user does something significant on the site, such as editing a page. This log is kept in the event_log table in the database.

    • None: Nothing is logged in the database.
    • Masquerading: Only masquerading sessions are logged. This setting needs to be turned on if you wish to report on administrator masquerading.
    • All: All events that can be logged in the database are logged.

    Note

    No matter which logging setting you choose, all events are still logged in the access log.

  2. Event log expiry: Decide for how long you wish to keep your database log. If you selected to log all events, the table can grow quite quickly especially on an active site. This time may be specified in days, weeks, months, years or “No end date”. If the latter option is chosen, the event log is not deleted by default.

See also

A report of masquerading sessions is available in the “User reports” section if you turned on logging of masqueraded session or all logging.

The table event_log contains the data that can be logged.

  • usr: user ID of the person whose account is shown on screen
  • realusr: user ID of the administrator who masquerades
  • event: action being carried out, e.g. beginning of a masqueradin session, saving of an artefact, deleting of a page or artefact, update user information, placing a block onto a page
  • data: additional information about the action, e.g. the ID of a block that is updated
  • time: time when the action was carried out

8.2.2. Edit site pages

Administration → Configure site → Edit site pages

Here you can edit the content of some pages around the site and the pages linked to in the footer:

  • About
  • Home (Dashboard)
  • Logged-out home
  • Privacy statement
  • Terms and conditions

All pages come with default text that you can change entirely. Every page must contain some text. You can use the visual editor to style your page.

Edit site pages

Edit site pages

  1. Page name: Choose the page you want to edit from the drop-down menu.
  2. Page text: Change the text in the editor window. You cannot leave this field empty.
  3. Click the Save changes button.

Note

If your site has added custom pages to the menu, e.g. like MyPortfolio.school.nz where you have a number of additional informational pages, you can now edit their content from the Edit site pages screen. In order to do so, a server administrator needs to make changes on the backend.

8.2.4. Networking

Administration → Configure site → Networking

Mahara’s networking features allow it to communicate with other Mahara or Moodle sites. If networking is enabled, you can use it to configure single sign-on (SSO) for users who log in at either Moodle or Mahara or allow users from another Mahara instance to access yours.

From Moodle 2.0 on you can connect Mahara and Moodle to save certain content you created in Moodle through the portfolio feature.

Networking

Networking overview

In order to use networking site-wide with any institution, you need to:

  1. Enable networking: Choose “Yes” from the drop-down menu.
  2. Auto-register all hosts: If you choose “Yes”, an institution is created for any host that connects allowing these users to log in to your Mahara site. We recommend you leave the default “No” because that gives you more control over which Moodle or Mahara instances can connect.
  3. Click the Save changes button.
  4. Delete this key: Click the Delete button if you want to generate a new key for your Mahara site.

Depending on which site you wish to connect, you may need to provide some of the other information on the page, in particular the WWW root and the public key.

See also

The comprehensive guide for setting up a Mahoodle can be consulted when connecting Mahara and Moodle.

You set up MNet for an institution when you edit the authentication method XML-RPC.

8.2.5. new in Mahara 1.7 Licenses

Administration → Configure site → Licenses

The site administrator can allow users to add license metadata to their artefacts in the general site settings. Additionally, an institution administrator can require institution members to choose a license for any of their artefacts in the institution settings.

8.2.5.1. List of licenses

Licenses that are available to all users of the site are defined on the Licenses page. Mahara comes with a number of pre-defined licenses, but the site administrator can add many more or delete any of the existing ones.

Available licenses on the site

Available licenses on the site

  1. Icon: Every license can have an icon / license logo that is displayed on the details page of an artefact.

  2. Display name: The name that is displayed for each license around the site, e.g. the drop-down menu where a user can select a license and on the details page of an artefact.

  3. Acronym: The short name by which the license is also known. This acronym is also displayed to the user on the details page of an artefact.

  4. URL: The Internet address where the license text can be found. When a license is displayed on the details page of an artefact, it is linked to this URL.

    Note

    It is important for users to be able to click on a link to the license because that allows them to learn about the license conditions and what they can do with the artefact or not.

  5. Click the Edit button edit to change properties of a license. You can change the display name, acronym and the license icon, but not its URL. If you want to change the latter, you will need to create a new license.

  6. Click the Delete button delete to remove a license from the system.

  7. Click the Add a license button to add an additional license that users can choose from.

8.2.5.2. Add a license

As site administrator you can add as many licenses as you wish. Go to Administration → Configure site → Licenses and click the Add a license button.

Add a new license to the site

Add a new license to the site

  1. Display name: Choose a name for your license that will be displayed around the site, e.g. on the details page of an artefact and the drop-down menu in which users and institution administrators choose their defaul license. This field is required.
  2. URL: The Internet address where the license text can be found. When a license is displayed on the details page of an artefact, it is linked to this URL. This field is required.
  3. Acronym: If the license you want to add also has a commonly known acronym, you can enter it.
  4. Icon: If the license you add has a logo that you want to display next to the icense, e.g. on the details page of an artefact, you can link it here.
    1. This can be a http://... or https://... URL to an image elsewhere on your site or anywhere on the Internet.
    2. It can also be a license:... URL to specify license icons from the Mahara theme. For example, the URL license:gfdl.png would refer to the file static/images/license/gfdl.png in the theme.
  5. Click the Save button to add the license to the site.

8.2.5.3. Edit a license

As site administrator you can change the properties of any license. Go to Administration → Configure site → Licenses and click the Edit button edit next to a license that you want to change. You can change all license properties but the URL.

Edit a license on the site

Edit a license on the site

  1. Display name: Change the name of the license that is displayed around the site.
  2. Acronym: Change the acronoym of the license.
  3. Icon: Change the icon that is associated with the license and displayed along with the license’s name around the site.
    1. This can be a http://... or https://... URL to an image elsewhere on your site or anywhere on the Internet.
    2. It can also be a license:... URL to specify license icons from the Mahara theme. For example, the URL license:gfdl.png would refer to the file static/images/license/gfdl.png in the theme.
  4. Click the Save button to keep your changes to the license.

8.2.6. Pages

Administration → Configure site → Pages

You create and copy site pages like regular portfolio pages. You do not have all blocks available. Check the blocks in various contexts for blocks that you can use in site pages.

Site pages

Site pages

  1. Click the Create page button to start a new page from scratch.
  2. Click the Copy a page button to choose an existing page of yours or another user as basis for a new page.
  3. Search: Enter your search term and decide in which context you wish to search it for within the site pages. Click the Search button to start your search.
  4. You see the title and description of a site page.
  5. Click the Edit button edit to make changes to an existing site page.
  6. Click the Delete button delete to remove a site page.

Once you are done creating your site pages, you can share them with others.

Note

For example, you can create site pages with informational content to share with other users or you can create templates which users can copy into their own accounts.

8.2.7. Collections

Administration → Configure site → Collections

You create and copy site collections like regular portfolio collections.

Site collections

Site collections

  1. Create a new collection by clicking the New collection button.
  2. Copy an existing collection by clicking the Copy a collection button.
  3. Click on the collection title to go to the first page of the collection.
  4. View the description of this collection.
  5. Click on any title of a page within a collection to jump directly to it.
  6. Click the Manage button manage to move pages within a collection, add to or delete pages from a collection.
  7. Click the Edit button edit to change the title and description of a collection.
  8. Click the Delete button delete to delete the collection. The pages will still exist.

Once you are done creating your site collections, you can share them with others.

8.2.8. Share

Administration → Configure site → Share

You share site pages and site collections like any other pages and collections.

See also

Refer to the share options for regular portfolio pages and collections for further information.

Share site pages and collections

Share site pages and collections

When you want to allow copying, you have a few more options available than on regular pages or collections.

Copying site pages and collections

Copying site pages and collections

  1. Allow copying: Place a check mark here to see the following copying options.
  2. Copy for new users: Enable this option if all new users on the site - and not just in one institution - shall receive a copy of the selected page(s) or collection(s) into their portfolios.
  3. Copy for new groups: Select the course groups that have members, tutors and administrators if you want them to receive a copy of the selected page(s) or collection(s).
  4. Copy for new groups: Select the standard groups that have members and administrators if you want them to receive a copy of the selected page(s) or collection(s).

8.2.9. Files

Administration → Configure site → Files

Here you can upload files that you can include in the links and resources menu or in site pages. You can add files that are in the home directory to the menu with resources for logged-in users. Files that you save in the public folder can be used in the menu for users who are not logged-in. Additionally, users can put them into their own portfolio pages as files to download.

See also

The process of uploading and managing files is very similar to files in your personal files area.

Site files

Site files