For this article, we are going to concentrate on the Profile tab of the main menu. The very first thing that most Mahara users want to do is customize their own profile space, making it unique to them. We will show you how to do that. For the following examples, we will be working with Janet Norman of PI Inc, showing you how she has configured her profile space. Why not set up your own profile in the demonstration site as you work through the examples? Let’s start by looking at profile information.
Later you will set up your own profile page—showing yourself and your knowledge off to others in an attractively personalized way. However, before you do that, you need to add some profile informati on. Your profile information is the first example we will see of “stuff ” that you can add to Mahara. When we say stuff we simply mean informati on, or items that can then be viewed later or arranged into web pages, which we will see when we look at your profile page.
You are now going to set up some profile information as “stuff ” that you can select from and use. We will look at three types of profile information—your profile itself, profile icons, along with your resumé, goals, and skills.
Editing your profile
Let’s show you how to edit your profile. Any information you enter into your profile is private from everyone except the Mahara Site Administrators. You will get to choose who can view what, later on in the Mahara process.
Time for action – editing your profile
- Click the Profile button on the main menu.
- You will notice that Mahara has opened the Profile submenu. The Edit Profile tab is selected when you first enter your profile space. Let’s take a quick look at Janet’s profile. You will notice that the About Me tab is selected. Janet has already entered her name.
- Say something about yourself! Scroll down to the Introduction section of the About Me page and enter some text. Here is what Janet Norman typed in:
- Whenever you make any changes, click the Save Profile button at the bottom of the page.
- Next, click the Contact Information to the right of the About me tab.
- You will see that you are expected to fill out some telephone numbers and addresses. The first thing you should notice is that you can have more than one e-mail address in a Mahara site. To add another e-mail address, click the link to Add email address. The e-mail address will receive a confi rmati on e-mail from the Mahara site and you will have to go to your e-mail account and follow the link to confirm it is genuine.
- You can now use radio buttons to toggle which e-mail address you would like to use as default for your account. This selection is important because it is at this address that you will receive system messages. You will also noti ce that you can delete an e-mail address by clicking the small, red-colored cross to the right of the e-mail address.
- Fill in your contact information on this page. Remember, you don’t have to complete all the fields if you don’t want to.
- Click the tab called Messaging. Mahara will bring together the types of people you are likely to engage with in live text, audio, and video conferences. People can display these contact details to each other in their profile page and other web pages. Enter your contact details for the facilities you use on this page. If you are still not using live conferencing tools, perhaps now is the time to start thinking about it.
- Finally, click the tab called General. On this page enter your Occupation and Industry (remember to click the Save Profile button when you have finished). Janet Norman typed this:
What just happened?
You have just completed your profile by entering some information about yourself, including your personal information, what messaging/conference tools you use, and your Industry background.
Both the Contact Information and Messaging information are private and will only be seen if you add them to a web page. This is because you don’t necessarily want anybody in the Mahara site to be able to see your telephone number and address for security reasons.
If you have found so far that you wish you had a bit more information about what certain options do, then don’t worry! Mahara is very well documented software. On most pages, you will see litt le question mark icons. If ever in doubt, click on these and you will be given very useful and specific help relati ng to your area of doubt.
Let’s now continue to add some more stuff into our profile, with profile icons.
Profile icons bring your profile to life! They are the first thing that people see about you when they are interacting with you in different areas of the site.
Mahara allows you to upload up to five different profile icons. This becomes very useful when you are making web pages out of your stuff . You can present yourself to different audiences in different ways, simply by altering your profie icon. For example, you can display a serious passport photo to your professional work colleagues, a more informal photo to your closest work colleagues, perhaps an avatar for public groups where you would like to be a bit more anonymous, and a picture of you having fun at a party for some of your more social interactions.
Time for action – uploading your profile icons
Let’s get a few different profile icons online.
- Click the Profile submenu button called Profile Icons.
- Click Browse to find the profi le icon you want to upload from your computer or USB stick (or wherever).
- Don’t forget to add an Image Title for your profile icon before you click the upload button.
- You are allowed to upload up to five profile icons and you can delete any icon at any point. You will need to choose one of your icons as your default profile icon which should probably be a fairly sensible one. Janet Norman has already uploaded two profile icons:
What just happened?
You have just uploaded a profile icon to represent yourself in your Mahara site. As we saw in the Time for action section, Janet has uploaded two icons. One of these is an avatar of herself and the other is the company logo. She plans to use the company logo in places where she would like to appear more professional, whereas the avatar will be used more generally.
Make yourself an avatar!
An avatar is simply a character or cartoon representation of yourself. If you don’t want a passport photograph as your profile icon, an avatar is a good alternative. There are many websites that help you create your own. A few of the most fun include the Simpsons Avatar Maker (http://www.simpsonsmovie.com), DoppelMe (http://www.doppelme.com), and Mr Picassohead (http://www.mrpicassohead.com).
Editing your resumé goals and skills
No longer will you need to trawl through ancient hard drives trying to find the resumé you last wrote five years ago. Instead, you can keep your resumé information within your Mahara system and update it when you make changes. How impressive will you look when you show your resumé to your prospective employer as a web page rather than on a piece of paper.
There are three tabs remaining in the profile submenu that allow us to add stuff to our site. The remaining things we can add are:
- Resumé information: You can record your career and educational achievements.
- Goals information: Here you can set ourselves personal, academic, and career-related targets for your future.
- Skills information: You can record for yourselves what you perceive to be your personal, academic, and work-related skills.