Mahara Newsletter & assessment update

Happy New Year everyone!

Our Mahara exploits have been highlighted in this month’s Mahara newsletter. The newsletter is published quarterly by the Mahara project and features innovative uses of the ePortfolio system.
mahara-newsletter

In our short article we give an update on the Mahara assessment for the first year shared module, the initial outline of work was originally written about in this blog post.

Work on this assessment is far from over. Academics are currently marking the portfolio using the allocated Moodle rubric and the results will be released next week.

If we are honest it hasn’t been a particularly smooth ride.  Some students have struggled with the submission process – we used a Mahoodle plugin to allow submission through our VLE – despite our provision of extensive guidance. There have also been issues with with the template sharing. Allocation of the template is carried out through the Mahara groups, which were manually created at the start of the semester. This means that some students who joined late or were not added to that module at the start of the semester have had had to be added manually one by one. This isn’t difficult to do but has been exasperated by students who have left creation and submission of the portfolio till very late in the day. Dynamically connecting groups on Mahara and pages on Moodle, or modules on Quercus would be a better approach but as far we are aware both approaches aren’t possible yet. There have also been the general user issues that arise when learning any new tool – this applies to students, staff and the learning technologists!! All in all it has been a learning journey and we are all a lot wiser now (with regard to Mahara) than we were at the start of the semester. We will do some serious reflection on the process once we are safely out the other side.

In the newsletter there is also a review of Sam Taylor’s Designing effective ePortfolio activities workshop (originally designed by Sam and Aurelie Soulier). The post provides a link to the very useful briefing on assessment of portfolios by David Baume. The briefing was written almost 20 years ago but still offers real food for thought on the use and assessment of portfolios.

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