Mahara ePortfolios: Beginner’s Guide

Mahara ePortfolios: Beginner’s Guide
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • A step-by-step approach that takes you through examples with ample screenshots and clear explanations
  • Create, customize, and maintain an impressive personal digital portfolio of web pages and mini websites (collections) with a simple point-and-click interface
  • Create and manage online learning communities and social networks through groups, shared file areas, and forums

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 328 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : July 2012
ISBN : 1849517762
ISBN 13 : 9781849517768
Author(s) : Richard Hand, Thomas Bell, Derrin Kent
Topics and Technologies : All Books, Other, Beginner's Guides, e-Learning, Open Source

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: What can Mahara do for you?
Chapter 2: Getting Started with Mahara
Chapter 3: Create and Collect Content
Chapter 4: Organize and Showcase your Portfolio
Chapter 5: Share and Network in Groups
Chapter 6: Course Groups and Other Roles in Mahara
Chapter 7: Mahara Extensions
Appendix A: Mahara Implementation–Pre-Planner
Appendix B: Installing Mahara
Appendix C: Pop Quiz Answers
  • Chapter 1: What can Mahara do for you?
    • Portfolios go electronic
    • Towards an ePortfolio-enabled future
    • Why Mahara?
      • Personalized learning
      • Reflective learning
      • Collaborative learning
    • Ways of using Mahara
      • Case study one: Punam from Pennytown Primary
      • Case study two: Janet Norman from Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (PI Inc.)
      • Case study three: Neil from Training for Work
      • Case study four: Christophe from Silverworks University
    • Join the Mahara community
    • Time for action – join and explore
    • Mahara sites in the wild
    • Time for action – looking at some real-life Maharas
    • Summary
    • Chapter 2: Getting Started with Mahara
      • Registering with a Mahara site
      • Time for action – registering to the Mahara for Beginners' demo site
      • Logging in for the first time
      • Time for action – logging in
      • Mahara's user interface—finding your way around
        • A word on Mahara themes
          • The main menu and submenus
          • Side blocks
          • The footer
      • A workflow for building your portfolio
      • Setting up your own profile
        • Profile information
        • Editing your profile
      • Time for action – editing your profile
        • Profile pictures
      • Time for action – uploading your profile pictures
        • Editing your résumé
      • Time for action – editing your résumé, goals, and skills
      • Your profile page
      • Time for action – viewing and investigating your profile page
        • The profile page wall
        • Some more profile page examples
      • Adding a text box to your profile page
      • Time for action – creating a text box for your profile page
        • Options in the text editor
      • Time for action – editing a text box by adding a hyperlink
        • Taking the formatting and editing one step further
      • Time for action – adding an image to your text box
      • Your dashboard page
      • Time for action – viewing and investigating your dashboard page
      • Settings
      • Time for action – changing your settings
        • Changing username and password
        • HTML editor
      • Notifications
      • Time for action – open up your notifications inbox
      • Summary
      • Chapter 3: Create and Collect Content
        • Putting your files online
          • Mahara replaces the USB stick
        • Time for action – adding some folders and files to your portfolio
          • Giving structure to your folder tree and branches
          • Copyright
          • Upload limit
          • Moving and deleting files
        • Uploading more than one file
        • Time for action – zip, upload, and unzip
          • Using tags to organize your files and search for them
        • Writing in your journal
          • What is a journal in Mahara?
        • Time for action – creating your first Mahara journal
          • Embedding an image in your journal entry
        • Make a plan and set some tasks
        • Time for action – make a plan and set some tasks
        • Notes
        • Time for action – exploring notes
        • Linking to files, folders, plans, and journals on your dashboard page
        • Time for action – linking to files, folders, plans, and journals on your dashboard pages
        • Summary
        • Chapter 4: Organize and Showcase your Portfolio
          • What are pages in Mahara?
          • Time for action – create a page and edit the content
          • A word on small page headers
            • Without small page headers
            • With small page headers
          • Adding/removing columns from your page
          • Time for action – editing your page layout
          • Time for action – adding page details
          • Page access
          • Time for action – editing your page access
            • Deciding who can access your page
            • Time limiting access
            • Making a page copyable
          • Secret URLs
          • Time for action – create a secret URL
          • Editing your page once you have created it
          • Blocks
          • Copying pages
          • Time for action – copying a page
          • Page feedback
          • Time for action – feeding back on a page's content
          • Collections—linking pages together
          • Time for action – create a collection
          • Assessing the quality of your page/collection
          • Page quality checklist
            • Content
            • Aesthetics
          • Exporting your portfolio
          • Time for action – exporting your portfolio
            • HTML export
            • Leap2A export
          • Summary
          • Chapter 5: Share and Network in Groups
            • Groups
            • Time for action – creating a group
            • Membership
              • Open membership groups
              • Request membership groups
              • Friend invitations and recommendations
            • Navigating your new group
            • Time for action – opening up and navigating around your group
            • The groups shortcut side block
            • Joining an open membership group
            • Time for action – joining a group in Mahara for Beginners
            • Managing your group members
            • Time for action – managing group members and changing roles
            • Group forums
            • Time for action – creating a forum
              • Forum moderation
              • Forum topic expansion
              • Managing your forum
            • Forum topics
              • Forum discussion frameworks
            • Time for action – adding a discussion topic
              • Naming forums and their topic subjects
            • Posting to a topic
            • Time for action – replying to a topic post
              • Group pages
              • Group files
            • Finding groups
            • Time for action – finding and joining a group
            • Joining a request membership group
            • Time for action – requesting to join a group
              • Accepting/denying requests to join a group
            • Making friends!
            • Time for action – finding friends and adding them to your list
              • Responding to a friend request
            • Managing your friends
            • Time for action – filtering and removing friends
            • Summary
            • Chapter 6: Course Groups and Other Roles in Mahara
              • Less learner-driven aspects of Mahara
              • Institutions
                • What is an institution?
                • Administering an institution
              • Time for action – adding users to your institution
              • Bulk uploading users to your institution
              • Time for action – adding institution users by CSV
              • Approving pending users
              • Editing user account settings
              • Time for action – finding and suspending a user
              • Switching user roles in your institution
              • Time for action – creating institution staff and institution administrators
                • Masquerading as another user
                • Configuring your institution's settings
                • Dealing with admin notifications
                • Institution pages
                • Institution files
              • Controlled membership groups
              • Course group roles
              • Create a controlled membership group and allow course roles
              • Time for action – setting up a controlled membership group with course roles
                • Publicly viewable groups
              • Tutors
              • Time for action – adding a tutor to your controlled group with course roles
              • Submitting work for assessment
              • Time for action – submitting a page to a course group for assessment
              • Time for action – releasing a page submitted for assessment
              • Putting it all together into an assessment process
              • Time for action – an example assessment process with Mahara
              • Summary
              • Chapter 7: Mahara Extensions
                • Extending Mahara
                • Mahara extensions list
                • Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
                • Time for action – create a list of CPD activities
                • My Learning
                  • Multiple intelligences
                • Time for action – determine multiple intelligences and display them
                  • Learning styles
                • Time for action – determine your learning styles and display them
                • Embedly
                • Time for action – embed some content using Embedly
                  • Mixcloud
                  • SchoolTube
                • Social sharing—Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
                • Time for action – add a Twitter Tweet button to a Mahara page
                  • Should you go social?
                    • Twitter
                    • Facebook
                    • LinkedIn
                • LinkedIn profile
                • Time for action – embed your LinkedIn profile in a page
                • Summary
                • Appendix A: Mahara Implementation–Pre-Planner
                  • What's involved with a Mahara implementation?
                  • Analysis and Specification
                    • Deciding if Mahara is right for you
                    • Understanding your own specific needs and working conditions
                    • Choosing between a Mahara-partner supported site or your own install
                    • Scoping out your implementation plan
                      • Deciding on your implementation timeframe
                      • Ensuring you have staff commitment
                      • Drafting out your initial Mahara content, site structure, visual design, and staff roles
                      • Drafting out your Mahara-specific policies
                      • Starting to embed Mahara use into wider institutional and program priorities
                  • Planning, Design, and Implementation
                    • Creating a Buzz!
                    • Getting some quick wins in first!
                    • Continuously involving your users in the planning and design process
                    • Keep going despite adversity!
                      • People can be implementation resistors:
                      • Situational response tactics
                  • Evaluation and Continuation
                    • Reviewing and re-evaluating
                    • Changing and embedding
                  • Summary
                  • Appendix B: Installing Mahara
                    • What will you need?
                      • Can I install Mahara on Windows?
                      • What about installation on other operating systems?
                    • Downloading Mahara
                    • Time for action – downloading Mahara
                    • Using the command line
                    • Time for action – creating your Mahara file structure
                    • Creating the database
                    • Time for action – creating the Mahara database
                    • Setting up the data directory
                    • Time for action – setting up the data directory
                    • Time for action – creating the config.php file
                    • Running the installer
                    • Time for action – running the installer
                    • The last step—setting up a cron process
                    • What is a Mahara Partner and what can they do for me?
                    • Finding a Mahara Partner
                    • Appendix C: Pop Quiz Answers
                      • Chapter 1
                        • Learning about
                      • Chapter 2
                        • Understanding your profile information
                      • Chapter 3
                        • Files, folders, and tagging
                        • Writing a journal in Mahara
                      • Chapter 4
                        • Creating a page
                        • Copying pages
                        • Export
                      • Chapter 5
                        • Creating Mahara groups
                        • Group forums
                      • Chapter 6
                        • Managing your institution
                        • Course groups, staff members, and tutors

                      Richard Hand

                      Richard Hand graduated with a first class honors degree in Computer Science from the University of Bristol in 2008 and now works full time as a frontend web developer and consultant.

                      Richard has worked with Mahara since joining TDM (http://tdm/info) in 2008, being responsible for management, configuration, hosting, and training. He has also developed on a range of open source software solutions including Drupal, Joomla!, and Moodle.

                      Thomas Bell

                      Thomas W. Bell has completed higher education in Environmental Sciences and he has a passion and enthusiasm for IT. Thomas is all about getting involved with the latest tools to improve the use of resources, communication with one another, and our role in developing our earth sustainably. Thomas follows his Environmental education with a commitment to sustainability in all walks of life, both personal and business. He is actively thinking of ways to improve processes, procedures, software and so on, to improve efficiency and therefore, sustainability. He is currently developing efficient use of technology in the apprenticeship delivery of the Wyre Academy, including use of cutting-edge tablets, signature capture, and fully implemented cutting-edge LMS solutions. Thomas has been working with IT company TDM - which delivers e-Learning content, codeline development, training, and bespoke corporate branding - for over two years and is directly involved in the implementation and delivery of a new IT apprenticeships scheme through the TDM Wyre Academy. See or Thomas has been regularly training groups in Mahara ePortfolios, TotaraLMS, Joomla!, and Moodle for over two years.

                      Derrin Kent

                      Derrin Kent ( loves personalized learning and open source software. Derrin has been working with Mahara since its version 0. He is MD of The Development Manager Ltd. ( is a company who speaks six European languages fluently and who proudly runs a range of symbiotic business operations including: ‹‹

                      • Professional Codeline Development, Web/Instructional Design, and Managed Services for open source softwares including Mahara and TotaraLMS ‹‹
                      • ICT Professional Talent Management, Short Courses, and Apprenticeships—all via Blended Learning, using TotaraLMS for Apprenticeships (specialist distro) and Mahara ‹‹
                      • www.FolioFor.Me: An online ePortfolio built upon Mahara ‹‹
                      • The Linux Professional Institute Master Affiliate for the UK and Ireland ‹‹
                      • High availability open source software hosting

                      Submit Errata

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                      Sample chapters

                      You can view our sample chapters and prefaces of this title on PacktLib or download sample chapters in PDF format.

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                      What you will learn from this book

                      • Create folders of your self-produced materials in a private area within Mahara, just like on your own computer, with an easy file search facility
                      • Create a variety of journals and plans in Mahara – facilitating your own action research and experiential learning journey
                      • Make an impressive online profile and digital resume using Mahara profile fields and tailor your own profile view
                      • Create scores of new web pages or mini-websites (collections of pages) entirely from scratch and customize each of them to allow much more flexibility and control over who sees what and when
                      • Set an environment to receive public or private feedback on your pictures, videos, and articles
                      • Connect with other Mahara users and get social: discuss topics of common interest in forums and share views with each other in collectively-owned web pages
                      • Manage different groups of learners within Mahara, tutor them and lock-down their work from further editing if you need to
                      • Customize and administer your Mahara site to your own preferences using a number of configuration settings for easy administration

                      In Detail

                      Mahara ePortfolios helps you to use software as you follow an experiential learning cycle. In Mahara you can:

                      • Plan your learning.
                      • Do what you do and gather evidence of your competence as you do those things.
                      • View and organize your work by structuring your data in easy-to-make (web)pages and (mini-website) collections of those pages.
                      • Reflect on your learning by use of professional journals, engaging feedback on your pages and establishing and engaging in online communities who share a similar interest.

                      Mahara ePortfolios: Beginner’s Guide is a step-by-step guide to develop a feature-rich and highly personal electronic portfolio. Form a digital repository of reflective journals, action learning plans, presentations, reports, images and videos. Easily share this with your friends, family, tutors, students, project team and others using this step-by-step guide written in a clear and easy to learn manner.

                      This book guides you to build an impressive e-Portfolio and to work in professional communities of interest within a Mahara walled garden. It brings to life the key features of Mahara which will help thoughtful people to display their artefacts coherently and to engage with like-minded peers professionally.

                      This book introduces you to exciting features of Mahara framework and helps you develop a feature-rich e-portfolio for yourself. You will see how easily you can create folders, upload multiple files like project documents, pictures and videos and share them with your friends. You will learn to set up single pages and collections of pages which organize these files, making these visible only to your own chosen peers, supervisors or friends. Then, you will allow people to give their inputs.

                      You will learn to create journals, learning plans, your professional resume, group spaces and forums which help you get connected to the rest of the world. Customization and administration of your Mahara site will be easy after you have gone through this book. Imagine how good you will feel when you will see your knowledge, success, and ideas going live and available to your chosen audiences for their inputs.

                      Mahara ePortfolios: Beginner’s Guide is a step-by-step guide to building an impressive professional e-portfolio using Mahara. It covers the key features of Mahara that will help you set up your customized digital portfolio and display the artefacts in your preferred way allowing contribution from selected users only.


                      This book will provide you with step-by-step instructions to get started with Mahara and create an impressive electronic portfolio. The book is packed with many useful examples and screenshots for easy and quick learning.

                      Who this book is for

                      Pick up this book if you want to get started with Mahara. This book is for you if:

                      • You are an employee, student or other type of learner wanting to maintain online documentation of your projects and share it with a particular assessor/CPD Manager/teacher/trainer for feedback.
                      • You are a teacher or mentor wanting to set up an e-portfolio for your students or employees in order to encourage and advance personalized and reflective learning.
                      • You are a professional wanting to share your journals and project documents with your team by sharing your existing knowledge and creating new knowledge in communities of professional practice.
                      • You are a human resources professional who wants a software application which will enable your team to generate, capture and transfer tacit knowledge.
                      • No previous experience of Mahara is required.

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