14. Mobile Mahara

You can user Mahara to a certain degree from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet that has internet browser capabilities. Depending on the device, not all functions may be available to you.

When you have an Android device or an iPhone, you can use an application to upload files directly from your device to Mahara.

14.1. Mobile browsing

Note

This section needs to be updated for Mahara 15.10 and tested if device detection is still relevant.

Mahara comes with a responsive design. The purpose is to provide the best viewing experience on any device, but in particular mobile devices. Furthermore, certain functionality is not available on a mobile device if it does not allow for it, e.g. the use of the visual editor.

All themes in core Mahara are responsive.

That’s what the default theme looks like on an Android smartphone 2.3 (screen size 320 x 480) with device detection turned on.

3 different screens of Mahara with the default theme on an Android phone with device detection turned on

3 different screens of Mahara with the default theme on an Android phone with device detection turned on

  1. There is only one column. Everything is pushed to it, but as soon as the screen is big enough, the content moves back to its original columns.
  2. A mobile friendly menu that can be unfolded to reach all navigation items.
  3. Since blocks cannot be dragged over the screen, radio buttons below them allow them to be selected.
  4. Once a block icon has been selected via its radio button, place it into the page by clicking the Add new block here button.
  5. Text and Note blocks are shown without the visual editor as that does not work on an Android smartphone (2.3).

The following table captures features of Mahara and how they are represented on various mobile devices when device detection (dd) is turned on or off. Users can decide in which mode they want to browse if the site administrator allowed it in the user settings.

Feature Android smartphone dd on Android smartphone dd off Android 10” tablet dd on Android 10” tablet dd off iPhone / iPad dd on iPhone / iPad dd off
Place page edit blocks via radio buttons instead of drag & drop    
Regular drag & drop interface in page editor   - but cannot be used   - but cannot be used    
Visual editor (WYSIWYG editor)   - but cannot be used   - difficult  
Plain text editor      
Print link    
Report objectionable content link    
Add to watchlist link    

14.2. Mahara Mobile

Mahara Mobile is available in the Android App Store for Android 5 or later and in the Apple Store for iOS devices.

14.2.1. What is Mahara Mobile?

With the release of Mahara 16.10, the Mahara project has made available a new mobile app.

Mahara Mobile is an app that allows you to collect your learning evidence on your handheld device to easily upload it into Mahara. You can use the app offline during the collection process and only need an internet connection for uploading to your Mahara site.

That way, gathering evidence out in the field, in rural areas, at sea, in space, or even close to home if you have a very weak signal. Once you have access to a good internet connection again, you can upload your previously gathered content.

On Android devices, you can upload any file: images, video, audio, documents from Google Drive and so on. On iOS devices, can upload any type of file, provided you have an app installed that implements it, e.g Dropbox and Google Drive among others.

You can also draft journal entries and then continue writing them on Mahara or publish them.

You can use Mahara Mobile with as many Mahara sites as you wish, and you can connect multiple devices running Mahara Mobile to one Mahara account.

Note

You can manage your access tokens for your different devices on the “Apps” page.

14.2.2. Requirements

Mahara Mobile requires Mahara 16.10 or later as a number of changes in the Mahara API were made.

Your Mahara site needs to have an SSL certificate (putting the “s” into https://) as web services only work over SSL. Your test or development site can be used without SSL if you disable production mode in the config.php.

14.2.3. Connect Mahara Mobile to your account

Connecting Mahara Mobile to Mahara is very easy, and your settings are remembered until you log out or change to a different device in the app.

Note

To use Mahara Mobile, the site administrator needs to have ensured that the Mobile API is configured properly.

Home screen of Mahara Mobile

Home screen of Mahara Mobile

  1. Enter the URL of your Mahara site. If your site does not use https://, enter the http:// protocol.
  2. Tap the Next button. Mahara Mobile checks which authentication methods are available for you to use. Tap the Skip button if you do not want to connect to a Mahara instance just yet.
  3. On the next screen, select how you want to log in to your Mahara site. Depending on the authentication methods that are available on your site, you may see one or more of the following options:
    • Single sign-on: You are re-directed to the normal login form on your site where you can tap the SSO button and enter your SSO details.
    • Local login: You are presented with a login form. Please enter your username and password. This authentication method is for internal Mahara accounts as well as LDAP accounts.
    • Paste in access token: Generate a token on Mahara in a browser and enter it in the text field.
  4. When you authenticated successfully, you see your name and profile picture (if you uploaded one to Mahara) on the “User” screen.

14.2.4. “User” screen

On the User screen, you see information about the Mahara site that you connected to as well as basic profile information about yourself.

"User" screen of Mahara Mobile with profile information

“User” screen of Mahara Mobile with profile information

  1. Tap the User tab at the top of the app.

  2. The site name of your Mahara site that you are connecting to.

  3. Your profile picture from Mahara.

    Note

    Gravatars or other external avatars cannot be displayed at the moment.

  4. Your first and last name.

  5. The URL of your Mahara site.

  6. Tap the Change server link in order to log out and be presented with the screen to enter your Mahara URL again.

  7. Tap the Logout button to log out of your Mahara account on Mahara Mobile.

    Note

    If you are logged into Mahara on the same device, you will not be logged out from that browser session automatically.

  8. Swipe down to synchronize the information with your Mahara server. You can also use the synchronization to retrieve tags.

14.2.5. “Add” screen

You can upload any file that your operating system allows you to upload, and you can create journal entries.

"Add" screen where you can upload files and add journal entries

“Add” screen where you can upload files and add journal entries

  1. Tap the Add tab at the top of the app.
  2. Tap the Upload files button to select a file to upload. You can upload any file to which your operating system gives you access.
  3. Tap the Add journal entry button to write a journal entry.
  4. Once you added your file or finished your journal entry, you are taken to the Pending screen automatically. Depending on the size of your file or where they are located, it may take a couple of seconds for the file to appear as pending.

14.2.5.1. Upload a file

You can upload any files to which your operating system gives you access.

  1. Tap the Upload files button to select a file to upload.

  2. Browse to the file that you want to upload and select it.

    Note

    You cannot select multiple files at once.

  3. You are taken to the Pending screen. It may take a little bit until you see your file there.

14.2.5.2. Add a journal entry

Add a journal entry

Add a journal entry

  1. Title: Enter a title.

  2. Details: Write your journal entry.

    Note

    If you want to add images or use styles in your entry, you can edit it on Mahara.

  3. Tags: Enter tags or select from the ones that you already have.

    Note

    If you cannot see any tags, but you know that you have tags, you can go to the User screen and swipe down on the screen. That will synchronize Mahara Mobile and retrieve your tags.

  4. Tap the Save button to keep your entry.

  5. You are taken to the Pending screen.

14.2.6. “Pending” screen

You see all the uploads that are waiting to be transferred to Mahara on the Pending screen. You can edit details or remove items before they are uploaded.

"Pending" screen where you can review the items that you want to upload

“Pending” screen where you can review the items that you want to upload

  1. Tap the Pending tab at the top of the app.
  2. You see all pending uploads, no matter whether they are files or journal entries.
  3. Each item ist listed individually, and you can tap it to see more information.
  4. Tap the Edit button to change the title, description and tags.
  5. Tap the Delete button to remove the item from the pending uploads. The item itself is still on your phone and not deleted.
  6. If you have an image, you see a preview of it.
  7. Tap the Upload to your Mahara button when you are ready to upload your items.

The upload may not succeed for a number of reasons. More detailed error messages are planned.

  • The file is larger than the maximum allowed file size.
  • The user quota has been reached.
  • There was an error connecting to the server.

14.2.7. Technical information

Mahara Mobile is built using Apache Cordova allowing us to take advantage of the features of this framework.

If you’d like to contribute, you can download the code from git.mahara.org or Github.

14.3. Previous Mahara apps

Before Mahara Mobile, users could work with MaharaDroid and PortfolioUp on Android and iOS respectively. User are encouraged to use Mahara Mobile instead.