Embedding Mahara atBirmingham City University Experiences of Two Early Adopters Alan Staley, Sarah King and Jon Curwin
In The Beginning…• 2004 Moodle• 2007 Early thoughts about ePortfolios - Me: Open University ‘My Stuff’? - Employability/PDP staff: PebblePad? - Faculty of Health: ePet? -Use Moodle as an ePortfolio!• 2008 Install Mahara and play
In The Beginning…• 2009 - Presentation to L&T committee - University-wide demonstrations/workshops - Formal pilot in the Business School • Further presentation to L&T committee and more demonstrations/workshops• 2010 - Gather requirements, pay Catalyst for developments - No looking back!
CASE STUDY: The Law School Getting started, developing and embedding ePortfolios Sarah King
Moodle? Mahara? Wimba Create? Shareville? Captivate on line lecture? Learning Activity Wimba Voice Design Tools?
What Were Our Aims?• To understand and meet the modern student’s expectations.• To focus on ensuring that the student experience is of highest possible quality.• To use eLearning to develop new and more flexible modes of learning to enhance the student experience, particularly in relation to personal development and employability skills.• Of the resources available to us we believed that Mahara ePortfolios could help achieve these aims.
What Did We Do?• Held a showcase event – demonstrated to colleagues the opportunities that ePortfolios could offer;• Held informal “coffee mornings” to brainstorm ideas that could inform a strategy plan;• Worked with CELT to identify resources we would need to get plans off the ground;• Drafted a strategy document with an action plan for 2010/11, piloting a number of new resources, but in particular Mahara;• Circulated the draft strategy for comment and approval and finally adopted at School Development Day;• Organised, with CELT support, training for every member of the Law School in using Mahara.
The Roll-Out To Students• A large scale pilot in 2010/11 – Mahara rolled out to over 200 first year law students;• Students required to submit as part of their assessment an ePortfolio demonstrating competencies in a number of areas, evidence of reflective practice and the beginnings of employability skills;• ePortfolios submitted via an “assignment” in Moodle, marked and electronic feedback given.
Student feedback“I found that the initial “I like the idea ofunderstanding on how to personalising the on-linecreate a view a little space. It is useful in that workcomplicated and I needed a can be submitted from homefew attempts before I felt without the need to be atconfident in completing the university” “I liked the fact that ittask” is educational as well as social, thus allowing you to do things to do with University and“I believe Mahara is useful your friends at the “Quite worried about thefor selling yourself to same time” security, I’m not sure who haspotential employers that access to my profile as I’mmay want more than just a not sure how to adjust thenormal CV as it gives an settings”insight into someone’spersonality more”
Lessons learned• Staff need training and support!• “Bottom up” adoption with management support seemed to work for us as did a strategy for how we were going to proceed;• Don’t assume that our “Generation Y” students will find ePortfolios easy! They need training too!• Set clear guidelines on what is expected in an ePortfolio;• Be prepared to be flexible, (things don’t always go according to plan!);• Don’t forget many students leave things to the last minute!• Don’t underestimate the anxiety that waiting for electronic submission of over 200 ePortfolios can cause!• Have a strategy for what happens next.
Case Study: The Business School Using e-Portfolios: successes, issues, and wishes Jon Curwin
What We DidIn Sept 2009 we used Mahara:• With 500 first year students taking the skills module, Personal Development• With 19 groups and 13 tutors• Individually assessed students using 4 Mahara views (pages), one for the tutor, potential employer, Placement Office and social view
The RisksThe risks of not using Mahara had to be argued:• Continue with paper laden folders• Continue risk adverse• Miss an opportunity to develop digital literacies
Non-Issues• Acceptance by staff and students• Marking
Issues• Continued access to Mahara as a student and beyond• Integration into the course (year 2, placement search, …)• Addressing skills such as digital literacy and creativity
Wish List• Achieve a continuing and more reflective personal development planning• Integrate new digital literacies with more use of voice, images and video• Submission of Mahara collections rather than just pages for Moodle assessment
Closing Comments• Substantial Mahara activity now in all faculties• Students beginning to ‘drive’ demand• Need for a co-ordinated approach (not just academics) Questions