Basic information

You can find basic information in the text below. Working with and editing Mahara is quite intuitive, but there is detailed information below if necessary.

  • Mahara 17.04 tutorial (EN) – it is possible to select one of the chapters listed or to use Index in the top right corner, which will show the topics by the headline initial letter, or Quick search in the left menu. However, the section Page creation below might be enough to get basic information.
  • Mahara YouTube tutorial /EN/ – a list of short videos with basic information
  • Mahara on Wikimedia Commons – free images and videos on using Mahara
What is Mahara?

Mahara is a a free and open-source web-based electronic portfolio management system that, among other things, serves for the creation of a digital portfolio, which may contain people's CV as well as examples of their own work, such as presentations, articles, or essays. It is basically a tool that enables us to show our work in digital form, edit these pages, share with others in the group as well with the public in a way similar to social networks, and evaluate and/or comment on them. 

It is written in PHP and is distributed under the GNU Public License.

Students don't lose access to Mahara the moment they graduate, which is what happens on Moodle or STAG. The recorded data is kept there and are accessible for further editing and sharing, so it is possible, for example, to send your prospective employer a unique hypertext link instead of a large email attachment.

As doc. Jiří Zounek commented on his blog, Mahara is an excellent support tool for auto-regulated learning, which helps the students develop the skill of planning their learning and become responsible for it, while at the same time it supports the "development of the social aspects of learning". It enables the university/college teacher to watch the students' progress on his/her assignments including the thesis, and makes it easy to observe the direction of the student's thoughts and to provide feedback.

Mahara does not replace Moodle, but the systems complement one another to the users' advanatge.

Last but not least, Mahara can be used in English, so it further supports language acquisition. At the Language Department, Mahara is used especially to create webpages for presentations and writing practice.


You can register into the FSci Mahara on the webpage, clicking the link Register on the right.

Fell free to use the English user manual, which includes lots of visual material support, or follow the instructions below.

  • Complete at least the boxes with asterisks (*) incl. reCaptcha, which makes you select the required  parts of photographs. e Use you real name and surname, please. Accounts with non-standard names will be deleted. Colloquial first names like Honza, Ivča, Tom, Katka etc. are perfectly ok.
  • Select the home institution of the teacher in whose subject you will be using Mahare (i. e. not necessarily the one of your major), so for the courses of the Language Department, choose this institution and NOT e. g. Applied Informatics although you may be studying it, because otherwise you may not be able to work with the Language Department groups.
  • Pay special attention to the correct spelling of your email – just one spelling mistake (like y instead of z, b/v, m/n or an omitted character) will result in not receiving the account activation email, which has happened many times, so you wouldn't be the first person to complain that your account activation email "hasn't arrived" :-)
  • After a Mahara administrator's registration approval you will get an email with a link leading to FSci USB Mahara. Clicking the link within 24 hours activates your account. and you can start using it. Aftzer 24 hours the link will lose its activating power and you have to go through the registration process again. You can then change your user name (3–30 characters without spaces).
  • The process described above is the same for both the teachers and the students. The teachers need to ask the admin for a site staff role.
Logging in
  • Go to FSci Mahara to log in.
  • If you are a first-time user of the website, you need to register first. Click the Registration headline above to get more information.
Personal settings
  • You may be asked to join your teacher's Mahara group. The topic of Groups is covered in the lower part of this page.

You can update your personal information and adjust other settings after clicking the roll-down menu in the top right corner of the Mahara page next to your picture/icon. In that part of the page, you can 

  • change your name on Mahara and your settings (Settings > General);
    It is a good idea to choose how you want to be informed about changes on pages and in groups which you follow.
  • read your notifications (Unread)
  • log out (Logout)

You can make changes using the button Edit this page. Always remember to save the changes by clicking Display page at the bottom.

If you see on the right menu 1 pending friend“, psomebody has asked to be your friend on Mahara. Opening the link enables you to accept or decline, and possibly write a message to that user. You can also choose to accept or decline a proposed group membership (1 group invitation). Join other groups depending on your interests and subjects, and/or create your own groups and invite fellow students. 

Page creation

If you cannot find what you are interested in below, feel free to use the official Mahara English manual linked above or contact your teacher.

Main menu

The hamburger menu in the top-right corner includes 4 basic groups of tabs:

  1. Dashboard = your profile page that shows when the reader clicks your user name
  2. Create = all items you have saved on Mahara, such as pages and files, including photographs
  3. Share = your pages and collections
  4. Engage – engagement in the Mahara community including groupszapojení do komunity Mahara včetně Skupin; for more information on groups, see the section below
  5. Manage – export a import (html)
Creating a new page

It is best to create a new page following the chain hamburger menu in the top right corner > Create > Pages and collections > +Add. 

If you create a new page using Pages and collections on a Group page, all members of the group can usually edit and delete that page, so consider whether you want to allow that. A page created through your portfolio is your own and no-one else can make changes there (you only share, so allow other to see it).

You will first need to chose between a Page and a Collection. A collection is a group of pages.

One field that needs to be filled in is the Page title. If you don't change it, it will ba saved under the name "Untitled", which is not very descriptive. The name can also be changed later, by using the icon Settings in the editation menu.
You don't need to include anything in the Page description. If you include anything (for example a short description of what the reader can find on that page), this description appears in page lists just under its title.

Important: Always save the changes you have made by clicking the button Display page at the bottom so as not to lose any data.

After saving the changes you are moved to the tab Edit content, which enables you to put in contents of the page. However, you may also decide to change the layout, i. e. the number and position of sections and columns on the tab Edit layout. You can also change the layout at any time.

Editing the page

Click the Drag to add a new block button (+) onto the page to place a block.

Click the Settings (cogwheel) button to add and modify page settings like title and description and skin.

Click the Display page (screen) button to review your page to see how others, who have access to it, will see it. When you are in edit mode, this button is highlighted.

Click the Share button to decide who shall have access to your page (or collection if the page is part of one).

You can change a previously saved page by clicking the Edit page button (pencil) in the top-right corner. For further steps, read on below.

You can delete a whole block by clicking the icon Remove block.


If you want to include some text, drag & drop the Plus icon (+) from the right. That opens a window with a new block that makes you choose where this block will be situated on your page, so you select the top or bottom position.

Change the title "Placeholder" to a descriptive title of your block. Block content includes the contents to read. You can edit  it using the icons you will know from Word, for example, such as italics/bold, bulleted lists, including a picture and/or a link, etc. You can find a detailed description below.

Selecting Retractable enables the reader to hide the contents of the block.
Selecting Automatically retract will hide the contents upon opening the page and the reader will have to click it open.

 Save the block (Save).

You can delete a whole block by clicking the icon Remove block.

Buttons in text blocks

Before selecting the type of edit, use your mouse to select the part of text you are planning to change, or place your cursor on the selected text.

  1. Shows/hides the 2nd and 3rd row of buttons (8–21)
  2. Type of text block: paragraph, heading, etc.
  3. B = bold, I = italics
  4. Bulleted / Numbered list
  5. Inserts / Deletes a hyperlink
  6. Inserts/changes an image
  7. Undo / Redo (usable only after an edit has been done)
  8. U = underline, S – strike though, x2 – subscript, x2 – superscript
  9. Align the text left or right, center or block
  10. Decrease / Increase indent
  11. Font color, highlight color
  12. Changes the direction of the text (left-to-right, right-to-left)
  13. Fullscreen mode
  14. Font family (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman etc.)
  15. Font size (e.g. 12 or 24 points)
  16. Inserts an emoticon / Nonbreakable space / Special symbol
  17. Inserts a table
  18. Clears formatting
  19. Pastes as text
  20. Insert an anchor
  21. Shows/hides source code

Inserting an image from the Internet

Most users just have 50MB space, so it might be more convenient to insert images using hyperlinks instead of uploading them to Mahara. You can find out how much space you have left at Quota using Create => Pages and collections => Files.

Inserting a picture

  1. Select editing the text block where you are planning to insert the picture by clicking the cogwheel in the top-right corner of the block.
  2. Put the cursor at the place where you would like to have the picture.
  3. Click the image icon (Insert/Edit image).
  4. In the new window, paste the image url (Insert or edit an image) – you get it by clicking the right mouse button and selecting Copy image address.
  5. In Image formatting options you can set some more  technical details, such as the image size (Dimensions – 300 x 200, 100 x 100 etc.), increasing indent from the text horizontally or vertically, setting the border (Border width, e.g. 2), or alignment (left, top etc.)
  6. Save (Submit/Cancel).

Uploading your own image

If you wish to insert your own image, use the tab Image from the left menu. In the window that opens, select one of the grey cells depending on where you want to place the picture. Save. 

Block title in the next window shows the name of the block. Image is the picture that will be placed on the page. You can choose a particular picture to upload from your computer using Browse. Below you can find also a list of pictures which you have already uploaded to Mahara, and of course you can also choose one of those. 

Clicking the pencil icon on the right enables you to edit the picture. You can change its Name, but careful – do not delete the dot and extension (e.g. .jpg/.png). It is a good idea to have all files  named specifically instead of keeping the camera names, which usually just include numbers given to the image by the device. If you fill in the Description, you can see it under the picture. You can also add Tags, separated from each other with commas. By ticking Allow comments you allow the readers to write their questions, opinions and other notes.

The width of the picture is in pixels. If you do not specify, the picture will appear in such a size to fit the block well. Ticking Retractable allows the reader to retract the picture. If you choose Automatically retract, the picture is hidden by default and the reader needs to click the block open to be able to see the image.

Remember to Save your changes.

You can also decide to Remove (delete) the picture.

  • Find the video you would like to use, making sure it is one of the formats accepted by Mahara, such as YouTube (you can see a list of all accepted formats in the block).
  • Get the video url or embed code from the Internet including the <iframe> tags (on YouTube: Share > Embed < >). 
  • A video can be uploaded using the block External media (click "+" in the top right corner and then Show more several times to find it) => paste the image url. The video is not uploaded in Mahara physically, which saves your Mahara space. 
    A quick alternative used on this page: select the block Text > switch to editing the source code (roll-down menu on the left, click < >) > paste the embed code.
  • Give the block a name, e.g. "Video".
  • Save.
  • Drag the block to the place where it looks good. Make sure the video is not cropped on the sides (if it is, drag the right side wider).

Creative Commons license

You can insert this license into your pages, using the (+) option on the right => expand Show more several times > select the Creative Commons license block, which you then drag with the mouse to the place where you want it. The versions differ minimally from each other (e.g. CCA-SA 3.0 or 4.0).

CCA-SA License – detailed information

For published text and photos, it is always a good idea to include a license that clearly describes what can be done with the published image or text. In short, the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike option means that whoever uses the work (e.g. image/text) can further modify it, publish it commercially, but must do so under the same free licence (so others will know they can do likewise), and is also obliged to include the name of the author.

You can find more information about the free licenses under which it is published on Wikipedia, for example, here:, about particular CC-BY-SA licences on the links here:

Visibility for others: sharing

When you create a new page, you are the only one who can see it.

If you do not share the page with other users or groups of users, no one else will see the page. This allows you to prepare the page for later publication, but then remember to share it, for example if it is a presentation or CV page that needs to be accessed by others.

  1. While in the editation mode, select the padlock button in the right menu.
  2. Use the dropdowns next to the Shared with button to select those you want to be able to read your page, for example a group or specific users.
  3. Save the selection with Save below.

You can also make changes in page sharing via the padlock button in the list of pages (hamburger menu => Create => Pages and collections).

Comments & end-of-page choices
  • Add comment – write your comment/feedback/question
Delete/Hide a page

You can hide the page from the readers by not sharing it with anyone (see the Visibility link above).

You can delete a page via Create => Pages and collection and selecting Delete on the three dots in the box of the page you want to delete.

Careful, deleting a page is permanent and cannot be undone.


New group

You can create a new group for users within a subject: hamburger menu > Groups > My groups > Create group.

  • Group name appears in the list of groups; it can also be changed later in Edit group.
  • Group description appears under the group name
  • it is a good idea to check the group Settings to see whether they are as you would like them to be. The pencil icon enables making changes later.
  • The choices have English descriptions; for example, Open enables anyone to join the group without the teacher's approval.
  • SAlways remember to Save your changes.

You can learn more about groups in the online manual, which is available from the link in the top section, or in a 2-minute video at Wikimedia Commons.

Deleting a group

You can delete your group using Groups > My groups and selecting the bin icon next to that group.

Tips for teachers

As of 2022, Mahara is only used by the FSci USB Language Department, so the instructions below only refer to the Department use.

If you are using Mahara in your course, it is a good idea to create a group for each of your your timetable groups or for one subject that you teach, which will be used by all the students in your subject , regardless of various timetable groups they attend.

Each Mahara group needs a unique name because the list of groups created gets longer every semester, and we need to be able to recognize them from each other.

Creating very specific group names prevents student confusion when looking for the group they need to join.


  • 2022ws BA3NS Celia Mon 7:30 – for one of Celia's timetable groups in the winter semester in the year 2022; ignore the academic years (composed of two years: 2022–2023) and just use the year in which you have most of the classes; the classes start at 7:30 on Mondays.
    If there are more Celias in the department, you can add your surname initial or your whole surname.
  • 2023ss BA3NS Celia – for a group in which all the students in the subject BA3NS will use and share materials regardless the timetable group they attend; the classes take place in the summer semester of the same academic year 2022–2023 as the group's above, but in 2023.

If we use the names in this way, the groups will be listed by year, then by subject, by teacher, etc., and the students will know which of the Department teacher administers the group.

When the semester finishes and the groups are not used anymore, the teacher can

  • change the name of the group by putting "z" at the beginning, which will move the group to the end of the list but it will still be accessible for the members.
    Example: z2022-23 BA3NS ss Celia and/or
  • stop sharing his/her materials with this group.

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