Welcome to the July 2017 edition of the Mahara newsletter. July marks the half-way point to the next version of Mahara, and It is always great to read the insight from educators around the world on how they encourage the use of portfolios. You can meet some of them in person at the upcoming events.
If you want to share how you are using Mahara, please send us your article. We'd love to hear how you are using Mahara.
Mahara in use
Portfolios for nurses via Nurseportfolio
Liz Manning (College of Nurses, New Zealand)
The College of Nurses (NZ) Inc., provides free access to Nurseportfolio to its membership. The whole site, including the links and help guides, has been designed to support New Zealand registered nurses (RN) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) to create their professional nursing portfolios.
There are 8 collections (templates) of Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) competencies available to College members to copy as needed:
- RN: clinical, clinical management, education, policy, research, management.
- NP, NP student.
The College also provides the opportunity for other health care providers and employers of nurses to become institution partners on the site and create collections specifically for their needs. Two institutions already take advantage of this:
- Massey University: NP students use the site to submit a tailored portfolio to the NCNZ for initial NP registration.
- CHT Healthcare: use the site for the clinical RN's and nurse managers to fulfil the requirements of a NCNZ recertification audit.
Access is via the College website and for College members access is free. Organisations who wish to offer their staff the use of an online portfolio should contact the College administrator. Read the original announcement.
Here’s why I’m advocating no choice in eportfolio platforms
Kerry Johnson (Adelaide, Australia)
At the university at which I work, some instructors feel it is too restrictive to insist students use the ePorfolio platform provided. Some instructors allow students to use whatever they want, others are unsure. Is it okay to allow freedom of choice in the type of ePortfolio tool students use? Hmmmm... I pondered this for a while. But when I heard that students and some instructors felt that ePorfolio assignments could and should be submitted via presentation tools and website creation platforms – I decided to come down on the side of no.
Supporting lecturers and students in the use of Mahara
Carina Sommer (University of Education Weingarten, Germany)
Mahara is the central ePortfolio system of the University of Education Weingarten and comes as a Mahoodle (Mahara connected to Moodle). Mahara is used in all kinds of courses by nearly 3,300 students and lecturers and plays a huge role in assessment using portfolios.
The Center for Information and Media Technology (ZIMT) employs well-trained student "Media Tutors" who share their know-how about Mahara and give practical advice to those that have questions about getting started with Mahara or using specific functionalities. They also developed and maintain materials such as video tutorials and handbooks about Mahara (download the Mahara handbook in German) and other eLearning tools.
By creating these resources, the Media Tutors themselves learn a lot about digital media, solving problems, communicating, and creating didactically meaningful trainings. But they are not alone: The Media Tutors are supported by the eLearning team and heads of the ZIMT Media Center, Dr. Erika Ladurner and Carina Sommer M.A.
Mahara for learning and teaching
Hermann Klocker-Mark (Breitenwang, Austria)
At our school Moodle has been used for more than 15 years widely, and it is maintained by our IT department. This is not true for Mahara.
So to use, i.e. installing and maintaining, my own Moodle/Mahara (Mahoodle) there had to be good reasons, and although I knew some, my experience added more in the last five years of doing so. I would like to share some of them. Recently, I asked my students about their experience when using Mahara, and some of the results will be reported soon.
The short version: my students in our secondary school (aged 10-18) love Mahara and use it very happily. They are very eager to show their products to each other by sharing in our closed classroom group. Grades are very important to them so they turn in their views/collections to Moodle and get teacher feedback. Peer feedback via commenting is used too with great joy and fun.
Mahara in upcoming events
Mahara Open Forum, 4-5 September 2017
Shin-Ichiro Kubota (Kumamoto University, Japan)
The 8th Mahara Open Forum (MOF), MOF2017, will take place at Hiroshima University (Higashi-Hiroshima Campus) in Japan on 4 and 5 September 2017. This Forum is organized by the Japanese Mahara User Group. Details will be announced soon on the MOF2017 website.
Mahara Hui EU: Bring together Mahara users from around Europe
Mahara Hui EU will take place for the first time from 30 November to 2 December 2017. It is being organized by the Mahara Hui DE team who wish to invite ePortfolio users from across Europe to the middle of Germany, Kassel, for this unconference.
The conference languages are English and German, but attendees are also free to offer their sessions in other languages if that is more suitable.
The event will be kicked off with hands-on sessions on 30 November 2017 followed by a shared dinner near the famous fairy tale Christmas market in the heart of Kassel.
The next day, Prof. Thomas Strasser (University of Vienna, Austria) will deliver the first keynote. It will be followed by a full day of sessions planned by the hui attendees. We encourage participants to offer sessions of all kinds of topics and experiences around education. Later in the day, there is the possibility to learn more about the history of the city on a bus tour to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Hill Park Willhemshöhe before gathering for the conference dinner.
The third day of Mahara Hui EU will be kicked off by Prof. emeritus Gunter Dueck, an unorthodox thinker who worked at IBM for many years. His keynote will be followed by more sessions offered by attendees before Mahara Hui EU 2017 will come to a close in the late afternoon.
Mahara Hui EU is very affordable at 50€ per attendee for the main conference, 1-2 December 2017, incl. coffee breaks, lunch, and conference dinner. The workshops of the pre-conference on 30 November and the bus tour of Kassel are charged separately.
You will be able to register for the event on its website from mid-July 2017. We look forward to welcoming you to Kassel.