Tag Archives: Mahara

MyPortfolio aka Mahara

A while back I posted about eportfolios and it is indeed time for an update on what has been happening at Unitec.

Some Unitec staff and students have been using My Portfolio, a Mahara instance (Mahara – to think, thinking, thought), and we are now including eportfolios in our Practice Passport.

The Practice Passport assists Unitec teaching staff in developing their capability in Living Curriculum, emerging pedagogies and related components of our new learning and teaching models. MyPortfolio will be a platform for staff to collect evidence and reflect on their practice.

Unitec staff can use our custom template to get them started on their Practice Passport portfolio. Over time and as they become more familiar with Mahara they will build collections and pages that they can share with their target audiences.   It will be interesting to see how these are developed over the year.

Te Puna Ako are running two hour workshops to help Unitec staff learn about ePortfolios and how to use MyPortfolio. During the workshops they will “discuss the value of ePortfolios generally and have the opportunity to reflect on your current use (or potential use) of portfolios to support learning and to demonstrate achievement. Through the process of contributing to a group portfolio page, you will be introduced to the MyPortfolio platform. This workshop is an ideal way to get started on your Practice Passport and see how it can function as a record of your professional development around new Learning & Teaching Models and Living Curriculum Phase 2.”

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If you’ve been wondering what ePortfolios are all about and whether it’s the right time for you to start your own portfolio, then this blog post is for you.

Many of us still visualise portfolios as large folders that an artist carries their drawings in.

An ePortfolio is an electronic collection of evidence that showcase an individual’s skills, qualities, achievements and capabilities. The pieces of evidence are often referred to as “artefacts” and can include documents, audio and video files, as well as images. The evidence collected might include assessments, activities and achievements, plans and goals, feedback, and reflections. Dare I say it, an ePortfolio could be used as a repository.

Where ePortfolios come into their own, is when they are used as a working space, with snapshots that help the individual, mentors, and relevant contributors of feedback. Using ePortfolios is now considered a valid approach to providing structured support to teaching and learning.

There are various ePortfolio tools available, paid and free. There is a current fashion for encouraging the establishment of ePortfolios for students to evidence learning, and in some cases this has lead institutes to either provide a portfolio website to students or to make recommendations on external websites to use.

ePortfolios can be collaborative, rather than an individual’s artefacts. Many ePortfolio tools provide methods for interaction and communication between contributors or assessors.

Some ePortfolio tools provide the user with the ability to create “views” for different audiences, allowing the user to have a public view, a mentor view, an assessment view, a potential employer view, etc. This creates safe environments for the user to utilise their ePortfolio as a reflective honest learning space, whilst not compromising the use of their ePortfolio for demonstration of current competency.


Teachers’ professional ePortfolios

Teachers should be encouraged to have a professional ePortfolio as a development and reflection tool. It gives teachers a framework to model good practice to the students. Unitec teachers can contact Te Puna Ako for assistance with starting an ePortfolio.


What happens in NZ?

The Ministry of Education in New Zealand is providing the MyPortfolio School website free to schools until at least 2013. Some tertiary institutes used the shared MyPortfolio Tertiary website for continuing student portfolios into higher education. Both of these websites use the open source Mahara portfolio software.


What about Unitec?

Good question.

Some staff in Unitec are embarking on the journey into ePortfolios, and the tools they are using are wide and varied and usually what works best for their specific requirements.

Some of the tools being used for ePortfolios at Unitec are:


If you have found this blog post sparking an interest in learning more about ePortfolios, you might want to read some of these articles and resources: