5.3. Set up a group

Groups → My groups → Create group

You can create different groups depending on your role.

  • All users

    • Open membership: Any user of the site can become a member simply by visiting your group page and clicking the Join button.
    • Request membership Any user can request to join your group. However, as owner you can choose to accept or decline this request. The requesting member will be notified of your decision automatically.
  • In addition, staff and administrators can create groups with Controlled membership:

    • You can add users directly to your group.
    • The members cannot leave this group.
    • You can assign tutors to the group. They can give feedback on submitted pages, but not administer group members.
    • Group members can submit portfolio pages or collections for feedback / assessment. These pages are locked until released by a group administrator or tutor.


The site administrator can limit the creation of groups to users with staff and / or administrator rights. If you cannot create a group, you will most likely not have the appropriate permission and will have to contact your site administrator, e.g. via the Contact us form to enquire about the process of having a group set up.

5.3.1. Create a group as a user

If you are allowed to create a group, you see the Create group button on the My groups overview page.

Create a group as a regular user

Create a group as a user

  1. Group name: Provide a name for your group. This field is mandatory.


    The group name that you choose does not have to be unique. Other groups can have the same name. In order to distinguish them more easily, you can add a group description.

  2. Group description: Briefly describe what your group is about.

  3. Open: Check this box if you want to create an open membership group if you want users to join the group without approval from group administrators.

  4. Request: Check this box if you wish to create a request membership group. Users will have to send a membership request that requires group administrator approval. Open and request membership groups are mutually exclusive.

  5. Friend invitations: Check this box if you want to allow group members to invite friends to join the group. Regardless of this setting, group administrators can always send invitations to anyone. If the friends accept, they will be added automatically to the group.

  6. Recommendations: Check this box if you want to allow members to send a recommendation for joining this group to their friends from a button on the group homepage. If a request membership group has been recommended and the friends are interested in it, they would still need the approval of the group administrator to join. Friend invitations and recommendations are mutually exclusive options.

  7. Create and edit pages: Decide who shall be able to create and edit pages in the group:

    • All group members
    • Everyone except ordinary members, i.e. group administrators and tutors depending on the group type
    • Group administrators only
  8. Publicly viewable group: Choose this option if anybody shall have access to this group. You only see this setting if the site administrator allowed you to have it. Anybody online can see the group homepage and the discussion forum(s). Depending on the membership visibility, they may also see group members. Only members of the groups can see the group’s pages, unless they have been made public, and the files area.

  9. Participation report: Tick this check box if you as group administrator want to view a report displaying all group pages and those that have been shared with the group and see who commented on them.

  10. Start date: As group administrator you can decide when regular group members shall be able to create and edit content, forum discussions, pages and collections in the group. Untick the check box Not specified to enter a date and time from when editing is allowed. Group administrators can always edit content in a group.

  11. End date: You can allow the editing of group content for regular members up to a certain time. After that they will only be able to view forum discussions, pages, collections and files, but not edit them. Untick the check box Not specified to enter a date and time until when editing is allowed. Group administrators can always edit content in a group.

  12. Group category: Choose a category if you want to associate your group to one, allowing you to filter groups on the My groups and Find groups page more easily. This setting is only available if the site administrator turned it on.

  13. Shared page notification: This check box has a check mark per default. Whenever somebody shares a page with the group, all group members receive a notification. You may want to uncheck this setting in very large groups where lots of pages are shared but members do not have to be notified.

  14. Click the Save group button to finish creating your group, or click the Cancel button to abort the group creation process.

5.3.2. Create a group as staff member or institution administrator

In addition to the group settings that a regular user has, institution staff and administrators have a few more options.

Additional options for staff and institution admins

Additional options for staff and institution administrators

  1. Controlled: Create a controlled group if you wish to add users who cannot leave the group. This is a useful setting for course groups where you do not want members to leave.
  2. Roles: Choose whether you have only members and administrators or also tutors. The latter can provide feedback and release pages when page submissions are allowed, but they cannot change group settings.
  3. Allow submissions: Use this option to allow group members to submit pages or collections for feedback / assessment. These pages and a number of artefacts in them are locked until released by a group administrator or tutor.
  4. Hide group: Use this option to not list this group on the Find groups page.
  5. Hide membership: Use this option to hide the group’s membership listing from non-members.
  6. Hide membership from members: Use this option to hide the group’s membership listing from members as well. Only group administrators can see the members listed. Administrators are still shown on the group homepage.

5.3.3. Create a group as a site administrator

When you have site administrator rights, you have yet another setting when you create a group: You can choose to add new users to a group automatically. That way, any new user on the site becomes a member of this group automatically in the setting Auto-add users.

Users auto-add option for site admins

Add users to a group automatically


This is a great setting when you want to set up a group which all users should join in order to participate in forum discussions etc. On mahara.org this is used to make every user a member of the “Community” group in which discussions around Mahara take place.

5.3.4. Edit general group settings

You can start out editing a group’s settings from three places by clicking the Edit button on:

You are then taken to the same screen as if you were creating a group and make the necessary changes.


You can change the group type to a different one. Please be careful if you do so especially when you have allowed submissions of pages and collections to the group. If users have submitted portfolio pages or collections to that group, they remain locked when you untick the setting Allow submissions, and you cannot release the pages until you enable that setting again.

If the site administrator activated clean URLs, your group (homepage) has a human-readable URL which you can change to a certain extend.

Change the URL for your group homepage

Change the URL for your group homepage

Choose the name for your group (homepage) if you do not like the default one. It must be 3-30 characters long. You can only use lowercase letters from a-z, numbers and - (hyphen). Your group will then be available via a URL like http://sitename/group/name-of-the-group, for example: http://mahara-university.org/group/portfolio-task-force.


Though you can change the URL to your group at any point, you should not do that because people who already know the URL to your group will not be able to access it anymore after you have changed it.

The original, internal Mahara URL, e.g. http://mahara-university.org/group/view.php?id=456 will still work.