Mahara is the ePortfolio system used by Federation University. An ePortfolio is an electronic space where you can display your work to lecturers, peers, prospective employers, or other interested parties.

Mahara basically has three parts:

  1. A filing cabinet where you can put your content
  2. Display pages where you can present your content and
  3. Permissions that allow you to choose who sees which display page.

The content you put in your filing cabinet can include graphics, documents, PDF files, and videos. You can also keep a journal, work history, and personal information. Assignments completed in Mahara can be submitted seamlessly into your Moodle course or can be shared with a specific person.

Pages and collections

When you create a page in Mahara, you are in effect making a web page similar to any you might see when browsing the web. However, unlike the web, the page is private until you share it with others.

The easiest way to share it is as an assignment submission through Moodle. It is also possible to share a page with a specified group of users from our university, as a secret URL which you can send to someone outside the university, or open to the whole web where it can be indexed by browsers and will show up on a search engine.

It can be beneficial to place your ePortfolio content over a number of pages. This helps navigation and can allow you to add content over time.

BE AWARE that if you submit a collection for an assignment it may be locked for editing until it is marked. You will still be able to copy pages.

To submit a Mahara-based assignment, follow the instructions given in the task.

Files and pictures

Mahara ePortfolios has a built-in PDF viewer. This means that any text-based work can be embedded into the page and viewed without damaging its formatting. It also means the file can be viewed online without having to be downloaded.

Other documents can be placed on the pages as ‘Files to download’. Whilst this may at times be necessary, it can be time-consuming for lecturers who wish to mark your work – making everything viewable onscreen is a better solution.

As Mahara is a web-based application, it is important to be aware of copyright considerations. Images that you use should generally be ones that you have created.

As a student, you have some rights to use images for educational purposes. If you do this, provide a reference for the image source (generally placed under the image). To upload an image to Mahara, you must select the checkbox which acknowledges your right to use the image.

Journal entries

A journal is generally used for reflecting on something that happened. There are some exceptions. Some researchers will write down what they intend to do in their next experiment and then later reflect on the results and how they wish to proceed in the future. Read more about reflective writing here.

As a university assessment, journals provide the opportunity to reflect on your experiences whilst studying. This is especially the case when doing work experience, rounds, fieldwork, and placements.

Like a diary, a journal can have several entries based on different days or activities. The title of each journal entry could be the date, the experiment number, or the assessment number. Your course description will tell you how to label each entry.

A journal can be displayed as a single book with each entry following the last. In Mahara, you can also choose which entries you wish people to see.

Video in Mahara

Loading video into your Mahara e-portfolios page is quite easy. Either upload a file to your site, or link to a video on a site like YouTube.
Remember that video footage placed on your Mahara site must comply with the Federation University Australia usage policy. Basically, it MUST NOT have any inappropriate material in it. You must also consider copyright owners. If you have made the video yourself, then there should be no problems.

If people are being captured in your video and they can be recognised, you must have their permission. Videos from YouTube and other such sites should be publicly available and must not be stored as uploaded files in Mahara – link to the host site.