Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mahara

Do you want to have your students build a portfolio of work from a capstone project or senior thesis? Or are you looking for a learning style inventory to use with your students? If so, Mahara is the right tool for you.

What is Mahara?

Mahara (meaning 'think' or 'thought' in te reo Māori) is a free, open source e-portfolio resource for students and faculty that also features a robust social networking platform. Mahara can be used to create collections of artifacts from one’s personal accomplishments to share with friends, family, potential employers, research funders and more. It can also be used as a means for planning and managing one’s projects and life goals. Mahara also allows you to embed third-party sources from other internet sites and collaborate on groups projects with other users.

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What are some ways that students use Mahara?

Students typically use Mahara to create and share resumes and personal blogs.

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An example below shows a general use of Mahara by a soccer fan to create an entertaining blog:

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 How do Educators use Mahara?

Intended to provide users with a Learning centered – Personal Learning Environment, Mahara also links well with the architectural configuration of learning/course management system. Faculty teaching online, hybrid/blended or technologically enhanced courses may use Mahara to coordinate, monitor and assess group projects. They may also collaborate with colleagues on research projects or create electronic portfolios that are a useful extension of their CV.

Educators wishing to better accommodate the learning styles of their learners can also have their students take a learning style inventory that is available in Mahara. In sum, Mahara is a cool and efficient means to document achievements, collaborate on projects, create blogs, build resumes, share ideas and more.

How can I try it out?

If you want to experiment with the features of Mahara before signing up for a free account, you can visit the Mahara demo site.  You can also see a quick informative introduction to Mahara here.

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