Mahara, our e-portfolio tool has been implemented at York St John University to allow students to collate evidence, reflect and develop. Students are in control of the content displayed and added to their e-portfolio space and therefore this tool facilitates independent and autonomous learning. This means that effective use of the e-Portfolio for learning and/or assessment within a programme requires students to have an understanding of the expectations of tutors.
If you would like to know more about how you could use Mahara in your learning and teaching, do get in touch with us firstname.lastname@example.org
How to create a Mahara submission portal in Moodle (video guide)
For more detailed information on what Mahara can do, you can view the Maraha.org user manual.
A significant difference in the Mahara ePortfolio system is that it is learner centred – a form of Personal Learning Environment (PLE). This is in contrast to the more institution-centric Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). To this end, such technologies are often referred to as 'disruptive technologies', as the locus of control is shifted to the student.
It works as a user-centred, personalised learning space allowing the user to shape the way they present themselves to the world. Content and layout can be personalised to create multiple Views which meet the specific, differing or changing requirements of the user. This ties in with one of the key tenets of personalised learning, that students become key partners in the design of learning to suit their needs.
An ePortfolio has a much broader scope as an online collection of reflections and digital Artefacts (such as documents, images, blogs, resumés, multimedia, hyperlinks and contact information). Learners and staff can use an ePortfolio to demonstrate their learning, skills and development and record their achievements over time to a selected audience.
If you think of Moodle as the formal, structured side of e-learning, then Mahara is the social, reflective side. A VLE and an ePortfolio complement one another in an online learning environment.