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International Academic Advisory Group

anonymous profile picture
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28 August 2009, 5:50 PM

This is a call for expressions of interest to join the Mahara International Academic Advisory Group. In consultation with Richard Wyles, we believe it is timely to establish an Academic Advisory Group as international interest continues to grow in the use of Mahara.

The intention of the Advisory Group is threefold:

1. To provide advice and academic leadership on the future direction of Mahara;

2. To promote and harness collaborationacross leading academics and institutions committed to using Mahara;

3. To build and foster a strong research culturearound the use of Mahara in promoting life-long learning.

Mahara began as a University led projectwith funding from the New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission. Akey strength is that the design principles come from the educationcommunity. The idea of this Group is to maintain and continue to strengthenthat academic connection, share ideas and advise on the evolution of the Mahara system from an educational perspective.

The group will meetvirtually twice a year and wherever possible come together at relevantePortfolio events. It will also endeavor to establish and coordinate specific events focused on the use of Mahara. 

Prospective members need to have a strong academic interest in ePortfolios and a commitment to conducting further research on the use of Mahara in supporting life-long and life-wide learning. It is expected that members of the International Advisory Group will be in a leadership role in their respective institutions and will be able to contribute to collaborative international research projects on the use of Mahara. 

Expressions of  interest along with a brief CV demonstrating a strong academic interest in ePortfolios can be sent by email to:

Mark Brown <>

Massey University, New Zealand.

Massey led the original Mahara Development Project and continues to have a leading role in the use of ePortfolios in education.


anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 6

29 August 2009, 8:06 PM

Hi Mark,

great idea! Your suggestion triggered another thought (I probably should have started a separate thread then ... ;)    The Ascilite conference will take place in Auckland during the first week of December (Ascilite = Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education). I would like to go there and catch up with a few Mahara enthusiasts. Are you planning to be there and maybe elaborate on the idea of an Academic Advisory Group?  Cheers Christian  

10 September 2009, 8:23 AM

Hello Mark,

Peter Baumgartner, Head of the Department for Interactive Media and Educational Technology at the Danube University of Krems (Austria), and myself, member of the academic staff, are highly interested to contribute to the new Mahara Academic Advisory Group.

E-Portfolio has been one of our main topics in teaching and research for more than three years. In June 2007 we decided to install Mahara for our E-Portfolio activities ( Untill now we have about 2000 active users from 40 different institutions.

My Department offers postgraduate part-time master studies using a blended learning concept with three main educational technologies: Moodle as LMS, Mahara as E-Portfolio, Mediawiki for collaboration. Within the master study "MA eEducation" we developped a combination of reflection, assessment and presentation portfolio based on Mahara. The assessment portfolio replaces all other types of exams!

In 2007 and 2008 we carried out several research projects about E-Portfolios on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research. Although some articles will also be published in English, most reports are only available in German.

Our main results are:
  1. We developped a taxonomy for E-Portfolios (English version will be published in Dec 2009).
  2. We developped a evaluation method for E-Portfolio Software and conducted a comprehensive evaluation in May 2008. From 60 products we identified 12 as recommendable, Pebblepad and Mahara being highly recommendable. (The full report is only available in German, a short report is published at I-JET journal
  3. We developped four different strategy models for the implementation of E-Portfolios in (Austrian) Higher Education (English version will be published in Dec 2009).
  4. In July 2009 we organized an international E-Portfolio conference in Vienna, Austria (

Our next steps:
  1. In order to increase the community activities at we will present organizational and some individual portfolios to guests, new users and the Mahara community.
  2. We will soon finish a small research project we carried out with our students about POLE (=Personal Online Learning Environment). The main idea of POLE is to provide a single-sign-on-solution for Moodle, Mahara, MediaWiki, Web-OPAC and some more services for our students, combined with a personal desktop that can be modified by each student. As an enterprise portal technology we plan to use Liferay, whereby Mahara plays a major role in our concept. One result of this project will be a list of suggestions for improving Mahara from our students and teachers perspective after two years of experiences.
  3. We plan to implement POLE in late 2010.
  4. Within a PhD programme I am working on a dissertation about "E-Portfolios as an essential part of postgraduate part-time master studies" ... but please don't ask me when this one will be finished ;-)

We would gladly join the Mahara Academic Advisory Group to share experiences, ideas, material, ... to support the E-Portfolio initiative with Mahara!

Kind regards
Klaus Himpsl

PS: From Dec 16th to Jan 14th I'm on holidays in Newzealand. Of course it would be nice to meet some Mahara friends during my stay :-)
anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 3

12 September 2009, 4:43 AM

Hello Klaus

Sorry about the delay in responding as I was overseas for the past couple of weeks. 

Thanks for your expression of interest. I will get back to you shortly with more information once we have reviewed the applicants.



PS You would be most welcome to visit us at Massey University whilst in New Zealand. You might like to email me directly to arrange a possible meeting.  

anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 3

12 September 2009, 4:41 AM

Hello Christian

Several of us will be attending ASCILITE and we may be able to meet over a lunch break. I'll see what I can organize. 



anonymous profile picture
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14 September 2009, 10:45 PM

Hi Mark: Very good idea. I'm a virtual professor at Universidad Nacional de Quilmes - Argentina, since 2000. Previously I've taught Project Management anda other Chemical Engineering subjects at University of Buenos Aires and others in my country. I'd like to be a memeber in your group to help Spanish speaking professors to use ePortfolio and other functionalities of Mahara. I'm already teaching at Universities of my country since 1960, starting as Teaching Assistant and becoming a full professor in 1972. Regards. Alfredo

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