MAHARA CONFERENCE 2014
UEL has Mahara integrated into Moodle at UEL under the name ‘My Portfolio’ (so there is a single sign on) and will be upgrading to the latest version, 1.9, in the near future.
I attended the UK Mahara conference this July and, since a lot was covered over two days, below is just an outline covering what I found to be the main themes and issues.
SUCCESSFUL MAINSTREAMING OF EPORTFOLIO USE
A recurrent theme throughout the conference addressed from Day 1 keynote (Lisa Grey from the JISC). Good resources are the JISC’s 2012 ‘Crossing the Threshold’ ( http://bit.ly/1p78t0D ) and the JISC eportfolios implementation toolkit at http://bit.ly/WpB6wp . The latter includes short videos e.g. Southampton’s Solent’s use for employability (4 mins) http://bit.ly/Uk3RJq (NB Also touches on importance of branding and usability, recurrent themes). A case study worth consulting is that of Nottingham who developed and used the toolkit: http://bit.ly/1yPpiBr
Throughout the conference, experience seemed to be that Mahara takes a long time to embed into everyday practice; many people found that after two years they had barely scratched the surface and long-term users – such as Southampton Solent – have wide use but only after over 6 years and with very careful implementation. Use is increasing, though, with the UCISA 2014 report rising to 76% (from 27% in 2005) for eportfolio use.
One interesting fact supported by the community was the JISC finding that whether the initial use of eportfolios was ‘top down’ or ‘bottom up’, successful mainstream implementation only happened when there was a central TEL team which took the early use forward. It is also probably worth referring to Becta’s ‘Impact study of e-portfolios on learning’ (http://bit.ly/1kLhDvx):
The results of this study suggest that e-portfolios benefit learning most effectively when considered as part of a joined-up teaching and learning approach, rather than as a discrete entity. The approach should include online repositories, planning and communication tools, and opportunities for both students and teachers to draw out and present e-portfolios at particular times and for particular purposes. There is then likely to be substantial impact on both learning processes and learning outcomes
More soon on another critical success factor – student support.