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Mahara: Winning Hearts and Minds #MaharaUK14


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Sam Taylor and Roger Emery, Southampton Solent University

Adopting an ePortfolio system can appear daunting at first;

where will it ‘sit’?
who will support it?
will staff ‘get it’?
will students use it?

Even after your first year of firefighting and going above and beyond the call of duty, you may feel dismay at the lack of effort that users have put into their online work. But fear not! It does get better. After five years of implementing Mahara, Southampton Solent University has seen an increase in ePortfolio adoption from employability and personal development focussed units, with students producing more visually striking ePortfolios.

This short talk will be a show and tell of the evolution of Mahara at Solent, from the ugly beginnings to the beautiful outcomes of today (think drab to fab!). Some of our ‘keys to success’ will also be shared along with feedback from many of our stakeholders.

The second half of our slot will be used to field questions based on anything we have covered to do with ePortfolio adoption, and so therefore this session is particularly useful for those who are only just starting to investigate Mahara.

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Mahara: Winning Hearts and Minds #MaharaUK14

  1. 1. Mahara: Winning hearts and minds Roger Emery & Sam Taylor Southampton Solent University
  2. 2. It does get better! 2009 > 2010 > 2011 > 2012 > 2013 > 2014 > 2015?
  3. 3. Solent’s Mahara Timeline 2008 PDP & Students 2010/11 Usability study 2012 Assessment guidelines 2014 Workflow Analysis 2009 Mahara integration 2010/11 Uni-wide rollout 2013 Mahara App
  4. 4. In the beginning… So many things to address: Purpose Systems Initial support Ownership Promotion On-going support Alumni
  5. 5. Ingredients for success • Support materials • Tutor champions • Example pages • Student ambassadors • Bags of enthusiasm & perseverance! See:
  6. 6. Good Practice Communicates High Expectations Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education (Chickering & Gamson 1987) Each year ‘best in group’ chosen to set the standard of expectations of the tutor for the next year group. Students will try and meet that standard, then push beyond it, creating better portfolios.
  7. 7. Biggest changes: Increased use of social media and web tools Fewer support requests More attention to aesthetics/design More images More content & context More enthusiasm & take-up from lecturers
  8. 8. Architectural Technology
  9. 9. PR & Communication
  10. 10. Quick wins • Support early adopters – You’ll need them to champion Mahara for you • Create case studies – Informs other lecturers on what’s possible • Showcase examples (even if they’re someone else's!) – Inspire the learners of what they can do • Create lots of in-house resources – Helps to ‘personalise’ support
  11. 11.
  12. 12. Now, let’s get chatting! Roger Emery • Learning Tech Dev Manager • • @solentroger Sam Taylor • Learning Technologist • • @samwisefox