Multi Institute Mahara ePortfolios - Benefits and Issues


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The Mahara school and tertiary sites have been adopted by a large number of institutes in New Zealand. (currently 1400 and 50 institutes respectively) This presentation will outline some of the factors that have helped make multiple institution sites to be successfully implemented including
• training provided
• Central funding
• Decentralised administration
• Centralised support
• mentoring
• feature development
The benefits to the Institutions and also to the host of the service will also be outlined including
• centralised support
• cross institution communities
• individualised institute settings
• ability to change institutes easily
• spreads costs for development, support and administration
Issues will also be identified with possible solutions to minimise these described. Finally possibilities of having a critical mass of people with eportfolios will be explored

Presented by Craig Eves, Learning Technologies Support, Kineo Pacific at the Mahara Hui 2014 Conference in Wellington March 2014.

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Multi Institute Mahara ePortfolios - Benefits and Issues

  1. 1. Multi institute Mahara Benefits and Issues Presented by Craig Eves Learning Technologies Support – Kineo Pacific at Mahara Hui 2014
  2. 2. Myportfolio .school .ac settings  Centrally hosted  Based on mahara - active since 2008  Growth rate fairly constant - initially large growth- slowing down  Allowed to belong to multiple Institutes in school site  Everyone can create Groups –Admin create public groups.  Custom themes for some institutes  Single sign on for some institutions – Moodle, saml, ldap Moodle/saml  Institution admin responsible for user admin
  3. 3. Number registered users school site 26434 36921 42530 44725 55527 64520 69624 72043 81349 85869 89167 90045 91259 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 80000 90000 100000 Qtr1 Qtr2 Qtr3 Qtr4 Qtr1 Qtr2 Qtr3 Qtr4 Qtr1 Qtr2 Qtr3 Qtr4 Qtr1 2011 2012 2013 2014
  4. 4. Tertiary registered users 12529 13565 13718 14297 15025 18006 21915 22498 22580 22668 Qtr4 Qtr1 Qtr2 Qtr3 Qtr4 Qtr1 Qtr2 Qtr3 Qtr4 Qtr1 2011 2012 2013 2014
  5. 5. Comparison of sites Tertiary  Pay per user  Assessment based  Internal technical expertise  Internal training – or contract  Little inter institute communication School  Central funded – ‘unlimited users’  Showcase based pages  Limited internal expertise  Centralised training  Good inter institute communication 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Friends Pages Groups Average number Tertiary School
  6. 6. Success factors Support resources provided  Initial free Face to face taster session around country  Video resources created and shared by members  Online resources - links  Manuals = quick start, full, admin and user  Site Discussion groups  Contact me link for email support  Telephone and face to face support provided
  7. 7. …..Success factors continued  Low cost to institutes – free or cost per user, SLA with training and support included  Local developers able to fix bugs quickly and implement features  Administered by institute admin – promotes ownership and have knowledge of users  Support of central body for funding and developments – less overheads  Involvement of institute administrators to make it a success  Able to trial for free  Able to use content from other web apps that are being already in use eg Google Apps  Able to set up SSO to sign in with existing username  Bug and feature requests from users are filtered by hosts
  8. 8. Benefits to client of multi site  Centralised support available  Allows for institutes with small numbers to participate  Supports cross institution communities  Able to have individual institute settings to keep identity  Members able to change institutes easily  spreads costs for development – wish list from many institutes implemented on site  support resources able to be spread across institutes  Larger community available
  9. 9. Benefit to provider of multi user sites  Administration – upgrades, fixes, settings able to be applied site wide for all institutions  Only one server to maintain  Easy to share resources  Suitable for central funding and also user/institution models  Features developed are suitable for wide range of institution type
  10. 10. Issues  Formation of inappropriate groups – hard to control  Reluctance to open institute to public  Deleting of portfolios when leaving school  SSO issues when changing servers  Process for bulk transferring of institutes not easy to follow  Central funding provides some uncertainty of continuation  Usernames not unique between institutes  Difficult to change emails when changing institutes resolutions  Can choose to allow only staff and admin to create groups  Allow institution public pages  Users create backups – bulk export of institutes – requires command – limited file size  Need to ensure new key generated on new server  Easier interface  Rely on another payment model – maybe per institute, sponsored, longer term contracts, ownership  Central id number such as NZQA number  Not require a confirmation
  11. 11. …. continued Issue  Lifelong access not guaranteed  External iframes URL not guaranteed to be stable so embedding not guaranteed  Transferring of portfolios from one provider too another is not easy – file size limits  Large graphic files are being used Resolution  Have a portal that provides unlimited access – require funding or business model to support  Have an alert to site admin when this happens  Increase file size limit for importing  Have a converter in mahar to compress graphics
  12. 12. Opportunities for multi institute sites  Moderation of work between institutes  Multiple connections with external LMS  Collaborative development of features  Piloting releases of new developments  Having Alumni institutions  Links with employer organisations and professional bodies  Accreditation of pages similar to Open badges  Sharing of resources – maths videos is an example  Storage of achievements – central repository  More flexible/powerful search of others pages  Responsive themes
  13. 13. Further ideas?  Archiving of submitted pages  More integration with LMS – to competency level  Conforming to international standards for academic record, resume  Mobile app with more features  Save with timestamp to show progress over time  Further integration with linked in or similar professional networking tool  Continuing professional development plugin – total up hours and show progress  Site for users not belonging to institute – alumni  Responsive themes to device viewing on  More built in tools for creating multimedia resources – video editor/recorder  Adding more skin templates
  14. 14. Want More Information about Mahara ePortfolios?  Contact Kineo Pacific at for more information about how we can implement a Mahara ePortfolio for your organisation.  Visit our website for more info: learning-portals/eportfolios