At the recent Mahara UK conference, I learned much. There’s a whole load of good practice going on across sectors in the UK – Mahara uptake is already impressive, and in my opinion, set to get more widespread.
One aspect left me a little confused: the secret URL.
When you create content in Mahara, it’s published to a view (soon to become a ‘page’ in the release 1.4). Each view can be shared in a number of different ways. You can make it public, accessible from anywhere. You can make it private, accessible to nobody. You can selectively share it with others in the Mahara environment in which you have registered. There’s a further option, that of the secret URL. When you choose the secret URL option, you are given a link to share. Send this link with others in whatever way suits you. Nothing wrong with this – its a nice simple method to share one or two items of content with a limited audience. In my view, that’s about it.
What I saw at the Mahara conference though was a whole lot of content that was being communicated via secret URLs. What I also saw were lists of shared secret URLs gathered together manually and published in another view. In other words, this is a bunch of text and HTML links that you have to edit – not an effective process when managing many links. This I really don’t understand. Why manually collate and publish a bunch of links to content when automated options are available directly in Mahara?