Mahara in Action


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Presentation delivered by Gordon McLeod, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, at the 2011 eAssessment Scotland conference.

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  • The student in this example has made strong use of visuals from the film being discussed in order to emphasise the points being made in her review
  • This student used Mahara to reflect on a workshop she had attended at a film festival, introducing the subject of special effects makeup and prosthetics and building on this with images and thoughts on her own experience of trying out the techniques.
  • The video of the student performance was broken down into manageable chunks – making it easier to find specific parts of the performance.
  • Both the tutor and the student then added a text comment about the performance. I’ve emphasised the student comment here about Mahara – on how it is useful as a learning tool and way of making constructive notes on how to improve performance.
  • Adding video and other information enables students to see how others have interpreted the same piece of music – in many cases these are videos of the original composer, or exemplar performance of the piece by a noted artist.
  • While I’ve blurred the identities – and to an extent the words – of these feedback items from other participants in the student group, what is apparent is that they are providing quite detailed comments
  • Pages produced by students are private – it’s up to the student to share them Think about what your internal & external verifiers will need to see – and how they will access that BEFORE you encourage your students to produce content. Otherwise you’ll be in a position where either you are chasing students to add the verifier to the list of those allowed to see their content, let the verifier look over the tutor’s shoulder to see the content – or be assigned full admin rights. None of these are desirable. With a Moodle 2.0 and Mahara 1.4 combination content can be submitted as a Moodle assignment for marking – and the verifier can be added as a non-editing teacher in Moodle to see the work. The alternative which works well is to create a secret URL of the work being assessed and provide this to the verifier – they can then see the page without a login. On the downside they can’t see private comments (to group or individual) – but that should be the choice of those participating rather than verifier. What happens to the content once the student leaves? Do they still have access to Mahara to showcase their skills to potential employers. Do you need to retain a copy of the work as evidence – and for how long?
  • Terminology changes (from Blog to Journal and from View to Page) and minor structural changes (files and journals are now grouped as content) will initially confuse those used to the previous version, but are a positive step and should quickly become accepted as they make a lot more contextual sense. Giving the user the ability to modify the look and feel (at least to extent of which themes you’ve made available) is a great step forward in encouraging personalisation – and moves towards a more accessible interface for those with visual impairments or dyslexia. Fixing the display issues that prevented viewers seeing multiple embedded videos on a page at the same time (depending on browser) will make a huge difference to our use of Mahara, and the improvements to tagging functionality means that we can now search for specific tags within shared group areas rather than only against personal content. So far my only quibble with the changes is that the secret URL is no longer presented as an option for sharing alongside the other buttons during the staged of designing a page, and needs to be accessed separately. This was moved for legitimate development reasons – but personally I think will be unpopular with existing users as it’s not intuitive. It may be restored in version 1.5 – there is an issue on the Mahara tracker.
  • Mahara in Action

    1. 1. eAssessment Scotland 2011 Reflective practice and feedback using Mahara Gordon McLeod Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD) [email_address] Twitter: @LearnTribe
    2. 2. Mahara ePortfolio
    3. 3. Personalised Learning <ul><li>Learner-Led Portfolio-building and why personalised learning matters. </li></ul><ul><li>Showcasing Learner/Tutor skills/knowledge </li></ul>Examples of Reflective Journal Department of Film & TV The Red Balloon – film review Horror Makeup - workshop JUMP
    4. 6. How Communities of Interest can enhance practical skill development <ul><li>Example of Community Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Piano and Keyboard </li></ul><ul><li>Piano Showcase </li></ul>JUMP
    5. 10. This section has been blurred to protect privacy of students in the learning community who provided feedback
    6. 11. How to … <ul><li>Add a journal (blog) entry and make it visible </li></ul><ul><li>Store and access files and data </li></ul><ul><li>Add a learning plan </li></ul><ul><li>Create a group working area </li></ul>Self-help Videos Using Mahara
    7. 12. Reflections <ul><li>Formal assessment within walled gardens – considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>privacy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>verification </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ownership </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 13. Reflections <ul><li>Mahara 1.4 – initial thoughts </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Terminology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personalised appearance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Content display and searching </li></ul></ul></ul>What's New in Mahara 1.4
    9. 14. Questions? Mahara Gordon McLeod Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Email: [email_address] Twitter: @LearnTribe