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Summarised #Mahara #ePortfolio Implementation Timeline 2012-2014

Since creating this poster I have continued to document UC's efforts to implement ePortfolio practice, and in 2014 adoption continues unabated. This history is a record of events from the perspective of someone who is managing the implementation, and doesn't pretend to report all that has happened. As the ePortfolio community of practice grows it will become increasingly difficult to know who is doing what, and the things I note down will probably tend to be on a larger scale. I would like to think that at some point soon ePortfolio practice at UC will be self sustaining (maybe it already is) and hopefully self documenting through faculty research into practice and other reports such as adoption figures.

2012

October 2012


  • Met with Director Careers to share what early adopters have been doing and to promote e-Portfolio approaches. Also discussed were opportunities for Careers and TLC to engage faculty together - together offering a more complete support package for faculties to help develop student portfolios i.e. the technical, portfolio practice and careers support. The idea (broadly speaking) is to draw into the conversation a whole person approach to developing e-Portfolios to aid in developing a sense of direction, identification or strengths and talents, aiding in employment processes, developing career etc, etc.

  • Stephen Isbel, Alison Wicks and myself ran an e-portfolio/Mahara workshop for 25 students in the 2012 Occupational Therapy cohort. Improvements we made to the workshop for this cohort (based on the experience from the 2011 cohort workshop) include:

    1. workshop delivered "just in time" i.e. the week before they go on prac and have to use mahara to document and share their reflections. In 2011 the workshop was before a 6 week break leading up to prac and students had forgotten how to use Mahara.
    2. providing purpose and rationale using portfolios/mahara.
    3. A move to a series of short focused workshops. The workshop showed students only the functions they need to use at this time and no more. We will return to the students in a few weeks to show the next thing they need to use. This reduces the length of the workshop times, cognitive/memory overload, and also means students don't try to remember things they won't need to use yet.
      1. Feedback from Alison and Stephen
        1. Hi Shane, I think the session went much better than last year.  By limiting the information that was given, you were able to ensure that all the students could manage to set up their portfolio without any problems. The shorter session was also preferable as you were able to focus on the relevant material. I have had no queries from the students so far, so I can assume all is good with them. Keeping it simple was the key to the successful outcome. Many thanks for your support. Alison
          • Alison Wicks
            Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy
            Discipline of Occupational Therapy
            University of Canberra

November 2012


  • Meeting with a lecturer in Journalism & Communication Studies (Barbara Walsh) from Faculty of Arts & Design who wants to use e-portfolios and blogs as part of unit curriculum design, needs advice navigating the potential design, use of Mahara, etc. Barbara decided to opt for a blogging tool for these students who were at the end of their course and would have to have learned Mahara for only one semesters worth of work.

December 2012



  • Meeting with Stephen Barrass, discussing use of Mahara as e-Portfolio platform - or at least adding it to his mix. E.g. as a place to journal, and curate multimedia artifacts pulled in from specialist cloud multimedia platforms such as ABCPool, youtube, flickr etc.

2013


For a January update see here: http://shanenuessler.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/cc-link-mahara-and-e-portfolio-activity.html

February 2013

  • Supported Cathy Hope in Arts and Design (Communications unit) create video tutorials of how to create journals in Mahara, how to create pages, how to add journals to pages.
  • Supported Ryan and Kym in Education (Teacher Education) in his creation of video tutorials for Mahara journaling and portfolio page creation.
  • Supported the pre-school to establish a separate Mahara institution.
  • Met with Sarah Ailwood from Law to discuss scenario based learning but ended up talking about e-portfolios and how they could help address certain knowledge and skills gaps students have (not limited to UC) that current strategies don't adequately cater for.

March 2013

  • Met with Calvary Health Care ACT (Louise Botha - from the Learning and Development area) to talk about options for deploying/providing Mahara. Louise had used mahara in the GCTE (Graduate certificate in Tertiary Education) last year thanks to Peter Donnan for introducing the e-portfolio as an assessment item. Louise does not have a budget to host Mahara or have it hosted and wasn't sure about using off shore Mahara service providers. I started to think of platform agnostic approaches as being the best option in this case. As it happens we bumped into Keith Lyons at the coffee spot, he takes the platform agnostic approach so he was able to tell Louise what he does and why. Afterwards we spoke about the need for development of rules and guidelines for digital portfolio use (e.g. privacy management) so that people will have criteria for choosing and using their platform. Louise went with portfoliocommunities.com in the end.
  • Physiotherapy and sports science again signalled their interest in digital portfolios  through a meeting with the SAFFIRE leaning designers. To see how, why and where prtfolio practice fits into the existing curriculum. I recommended a curriculum mapping approach where by the teaching team map out their current curriculum (as per blog entry about the Risk Management unit) and use that as a stating point for planning change.

April 2013

  • Met with manager of Careers again, spoke about working with faulty to augment course based templates with other whole of person/career type placeholders for students to fill in. Also discussed how course based e-portfolio templates help students to see the whole journey (or even possible journeys) that exist in their chosen course from day one. Perhaps even a picture of their destination, provided by the content found in exemplar or mock portfolios.

June/July 2013

  • Discussed Professional Portfolios for Academics and General staff, plus opportunities to research ePortfolio practice with ESTeM colleagues:
  • Nursing and Midwifery - evolving their cloud storage e-Portfolio model:
  • Organising the e-Portfolio Australia Forum:
  • The organising committee, including myself, Allison Miller, etc, have been working hard to get presentation submissions, organise the program, book labs, advertise etc.

October 2013

  • UC Hosted the ePortfolio Australia 2013 Forum over 2 days with workshops and other sessions. 105 people with many positive reviews, some criticisms of signage placement and moving between buildings.

November 2013

  • General availability promoted - added links to ePortolio Mahara on the Current Students homepage, MyMoodle front page, and MyUC Portal applications list.

December 2013

  • Meeting with Careers - past meetings have resulted in interest from Careers in ePortfolios for students, now staffing changes have resulted in new capability, and Careers able to pursue e-portfolio based CV support with Faith and Charlotte. I met with them this December to show Mahara's resume section, and created an online resume complete with built in video CV.
  • Meeting with BGL Common First Year Unit implementation (use of ePortfolios for career planning, professional identity building, etc). Diane is now thinking of using eportfolios in three other of her units.
  • Met with Tony K from BGL to discuss ePortfolio practice - what other people at UC are doing, what Mahara is, issues within his own units, and potential course wide appeal, use and implementation of ePortfolio practice.

2014

January 2014

  • Ran a ePortfolio workshop for Law on the 23rd with Mel. There were about 10 people who RSVP'd. One person was very enthusiastic to integrate ePortfolios but it's not ideal to ask students to go to that much effort for just one unit, and a course wide approach might be a while in coming. We concluded that an optional task to create a digital CV, and a video of court room performance would be appropriate for now rather than asking students to learn an entire eportfolio system (Mahara) for one unit.
  • Total number of accounts and pages spike over the Christmas/New Year Break! This is out of the primary teaching sessions and can most likely be attributable to the fact we promoted UC's Mahara ePortfolio in November 2013, on the Current Students page and the student Portal, for the first time. Roughly 1200 students presumably clicked these links out of interest, and resulted in page creations.

February 2014

  • Mahara training delivered for Sports Management academic staff (Creating a digital CV in Mahara) for their plans to offer units flexibly, deepen critical thinking, reflective practice, etc.
  • Mahara training delivered for Business, Government & Law Sessional Staff and Teaching Staff - Common First Year Unit - Module 1: Becoming A Professional. (Creating a digital portfolfio version of your CV and adding your five year plan in Mahara.)
  • Third year student who was given advice to use Wordpress chose Mahara instead.
  • CFYU Preparations! Gearing up for the common first year unit with support options as students are going to be taught how to think professionally (specific to each profession as related to the courses on offer at UC), including developing a CV and 5 year plan.
  • O-Week: Handed out 50 double sided flyers to all the Society Booths in the Refectory on what Mahara is and how to ge the tutorial videos.
  • Provided in-tutorial Mahara demonstration and interactive tutorial for 2 groups of 30 students. For the unit Coaching Pedagogy 8914 (Jim Fowlie).

March 2014

  • Attended MaharaHui 2014 (Mahara 2014 Conference with Misty Kirby from ESTeM). We presented the Smart Folio project that we have been developing for a few months now. A blog entry describing this project is (Coming Soon)
  • Careers start offering ePortfolio workshops for developing digital Resumes and CV's.

April 2014


  • Worked on coordinating our support strategy. Liaised with PALS, ASC Rovers and Library Rovers coordinators to look at how these roles can support students looking for Mahara support. PALS will trial an ICT drop-in workshop soon, and tentatively agree with the idea of extending this to trial to include Mahara support, and advertise this within the large enrolments of the CFYU - where use of ePortfolios/Mahara is built into the design.
  • Proposed to Careers Services and PALS, Rovers coordinators that PALS and Rovers receive Mahara training in the form of creating a Digital Resume for themselves. This provides a value add for the training sessions and they learn the key features of Mahara at the same time. Careers Services (above) already offer these services making this an immediately viable and available strategy. In addition the PALS and Rovers learn about the services Careers offer and can further recommend and promote them to students they interact with.
  • I submitted another wishlist item to Mahara Devs. Currently all block content is loaded on page load even when blocks are automatically retracted, extending load times especially on image/video heavy portfolio pages. This wish item will make pages more responsive by only loading retracted block content when the viewer expands the blocks. This puts control over page load times into the hands of the portfolio designer. Rob from Catalyst picked up this wish and in no time had a patch in place for Mahara 1.10. THANKS!
May 2014

  • Meeting with Director HR, Director TLC and ECARx project members (Early Career Academic staff using ePortfolios to put the D back into PDR (Performance Development and Review). Previous meetings with HR have been lower level. ePortfolios for PDR is now a larger more high level discussion - largely because of the work, experimentation, experiences and innovation of the ECARx team (4 staff). Now UC is looking into the advantages of ePortfolios in professional development (supporting the aim of PDR "sparking the conversation not being the conversation" Director HR).

June, July 2014


  • New MBA adopts ePortfolios as an integral part of learning and assessment design.
  • Mahara investigated as a platform in 2015 for use in Bachelor of Screen Production, Discipline of Design and Architecture, and the Working Voice course.
  • Number of users exceeds 12500, over 66,000 pages created.
  • Common First Year Unit prepares to use ePortfolios via Mahara again, improving on the design from 2013, and solidifying Mahara as a solution in this important unit that begins students on the journey of thinking professionally, managing projects, and communicating professionally.
29th July: Observations that lead me to believe that the implementation is self sustaining both in practice and community at the University of Canberra. Today in a workshop for tutors and others on the design of the 2014 CFYU (Business Government and Law). The convener of the CFYU, Di, relayed that she had been invited by the Dean of Health to join their Mahara ePortfolio community (Health precinct), used to converse in forums, share documents, and create resources for staff. In return Di is going to show the Dean of Health the work her students in her Creativity unit, and the CFYU are producing in their ePortfolios. Also today for the first time I co-presented the section of the workshop on Mahara and ePortfolios, with a colleague Jen. Jen easily handled much of the process students would go through in Mahara as well as other aspects of the unit in relation to portfolios, I added some things about professional identity, linked-in, Mahara as a UC community environment, etc. In summary not only are individual faculties using Mahara and creating ePortfolios - ePortfolio practice is now being discussed and shared informally cross faculty. This is a significant development, and shows that the impact ePortfolios have made is significant enough to lead to people to want to share not only their pedagogy and professional development but share the content of these portfolios. The UC community is realising the amazing potential of ePortfolios to reveal our work, ourselves, to each other – and beyond.

Check back some time!

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