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The ePortfolio – Mahara

What is it?

Mahara is a web-based system that allows people to build digital portfolios which can be shared with others, inside and outside of the University. It is a very different system from our VLE, Canvas, in a number of important respects, most importantly with the underlying pedagogy which the system is built upon. Mahara is a student-centred system with students having full control over their own portfolios, including what content to add and who to share the results with, and gives students a space in which to freely reflect on their own learning. Templates can be created by staff and shared with students to give them a starting point, something which is particularly valuable in areas which require a record of evidence and to show continuous professional development, such as nursing and education.

How can it help me?

Mahara gives you a private and secure space in which to reflect on your learning - anything which you enter or create in your ePorfolio can only be access by yourself, unless you choose to share it with others. With Mahara, you have full control. Mahara also has a range of tools and templates which help you to build up online CVs and portfolios which can be customised to target a specific audience and shared with people outside of the University. Upon leaving the University it is even possible to export your entire portfolio and import into another version of Mahara allowing you to continue to build your portfolio in your professional career. Mahara is an open source project, which means that it has been created and is maintained by a community of enthusiastic volunteers, so there are many versions of Mahara on the internet. The learning technologists in the CELT can provide further guidance about this, and even help you export your portfolio to one of them.

How can I find out more?

The learning technologists in the CELT can help you with using Mahara, and can provide bespoke training and support for both the technical and pedagogic aspects of the system. For academics, we are also able to help you with the development of template portfolios to help guide your students to use Mahara for particular purposes, e.g. recording and reflecting on work experience placements.

As an open source platform, there are also extensive resources available from other Mahara users, and the system has a large amount of usage in the UK's higher education sector. There are some high quality help resources which we can recommend in the links below.


The University's Mahara home page 

The official Mahara user manual

A range of help and guidance videos

Some real, example student portfolios that have been shared publicly by University of the Arts London students which could give you some ideas about how Mahara can be used.

More information

Email: celt@sunderland.ac.uk