Mahara ePortfolios

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  1. 1. Welcome to this introduction to ePortfolios. In this video well explore the whys and whats of ePortfolios and compare two platforms freely available to UniSA students. 1
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  3. 3. Over the course of your life as a learner whether youre learning in a formal environment like a school or an informal environment such as a hobby you create a body of work to apply the skills and knowledge you develop. You also might pick up recognitions and qualifications. Without a way to properly store, curate and add context to all of this work - 3
  4. 4. Useful examples of your work could end up in a virtual attic, gathering dust. 4
  5. 5. ePorfolios allow users to create online spaces where they can store and curate existing content plus tools to create new content and to contextualise existing content. ePortfolios then allow you to use the same content in multiple ways to serve multiple audiences. For instance - 5
  6. 6. An assessment may call on you to produce an overview video, a final paper and to analyse your research. You can upload notes, resources and various drafts of your work to access anywhere you go, then display the outputs to your tutor for feedback or, in the case of some courses, for final assessment. 6
  7. 7. During or after university, you can use various artefacts youve created or have obtained to create an online job application. 7
  8. 8. And later on, you may even wish to use the outputs of your work to teach others. You can do it all from the same platform. 8
  9. 9. There are dozens of ePortfolio platforms out there. They all share the three key elements weve mentioned. 9
  10. 10. A place to either store and curate electronic files or to access your files stored and curated in other locations. 10
  11. 11. Tools that allow you to create new content and/or to contextualise existing content. 11
  12. 12. And a method by which you can display content in different configurations for consumption by different audiences. 12
  13. 13. The one the University supports and we ask that all students use is Mahara. 13
  14. 14. Mahara is an ePorfolio platform situated in a community. When you log into your UniSA Mahara site, you will see lots of references to sharing and community. You have 1 GB of storage 14
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  16. 16. Why not let students use WordPress, Prezi or a website creation tool? Because they arent ePortfolios. ePortfolios exist to provide persistent, online spaces to store and curate artefacts created or saved by an individual so they can track their learning over time and access and re-use resources they create and/or have saved tools with which an individual can contextualise and aggregate existing artefacts and create new content as well as provide ways for the artefacts to be displayed and re-displayed to multiple audiences. ePortfolios also provide one space for reflecting on learning, of aggregating and curating useful resources and creating new content that students can return to over time. This is a vital part of the incidental learning ePortfolios provide. A consistent home base in Mahara to store, aggregate and display their work doesnt limit students ability to use other tools for creation. Using Prezi or other types of presentation software to submit an ePortfolio assignment is missing the whole point of ePortfolios in an educational context. A presentation tool is simply a way of presenting information and it is not output alone that is behind the use of ePortfolios in education. Ditto websites. 16
  17. 17. Why not another ePortfolio then? Because Mahara is authenticatable in terms of assessment. This is vital to meeting our obligations to ensure our assessments are robust. Unlike website platforms like Weebly, WordPress and/or Google sites; only a student account can be used to access a university-linked Mahara ePortfolio. When a Mahara collection is submitted for assessment, that collection is locked for editing whereas a link to an external product could link to a website that was empty when the link was submitted and edited after the submission date. Because using one platform across a program is practical. The university IT support service supports Mahara so support is readily available. Markers will not have to familiarise themselves with the ins and outs of multiple platforms nor have to download and install specialised plugins to view assessments. Students who use Mahara will develop proficiency in it over time so as their assessments scaffold up in difficulty, the difficulty of using Mahara will decrease. The consistent use of Mahara across courses means students will be storing assignments, reflections and resources from their program and be able to access them after they graduate starting them off in their professional lives with a single content-rich pool of resources from which to draw. 16
  18. 18. You can find your free Mahara eportfolio by clicking on a link in the sidebar of your course site or by going directly to this address: You can find support in using Mahara by going to the LearnOnline help site for students, located at: 17
  19. 19. In addition to deciding on an ePorfolio tool, its good to have a handle on whats available to create content. 18
  20. 20. You get free access to Office 365 in the cloud as a UniSA student. You can also choose to use Google Apps free with a Google account and accessible via Google Drive. Or, if your internet connection is shaky, you can download the free Apache Open Office suite. 19
  21. 21. There are a lot of free image editing tools out there. MS Paint is free with Windows and if you have Windows 8.1 and better, you can try out their new Fresh Paint app. GIMP is a great program and is free, open source software that runs on Windows, Mac or Linux OS. Plus you can find image editing tools for free on most App stores. Ive also used PowerPoint as an image creation and editing tool as you can create an image or append there and then right click to save it as an image to your local device. 20
  22. 22. Edit your images before uploading them to your ePortfolio. Youll save on bandwidth and storage by re-sizing them. Youll have images that are better quality and that tell the story you want/need them to tell. 21
  23. 23. Whether you create video with your mobile phone or a video camera, there are some basic rules to follow. Firstly lighting and sound are critical to good video production. Record at the highest quality your device will allow and ensure before you start you have plenty of room in memory. When in doubt frame more loosely than you might like (go for a slightly wider shot) as viewfinders can and do lie. Use a tripod whenever you can there are tripods designed for mobile phones out there or grab a car holder and blue tack it to something. If youre planning to narrate your video, consider doing it after you shoot and use the ambient sound as a second audio channel. Good free video editing tools that can do multi-track editing are very scarce. In fact, I dont know of any. Windows Movie maker does one-track editing with basic transitions and the ability to record straight in from webcam or mic. At this writing ( May 2016) YouTube offers some basic trimming and annotation tools and free audio tracks to add once youve uploaded your video. When you output your video try to do so as MP4. WMV will do in a pinch. Never upload a plain old video file theyre not designed to stream online. Upload to YouTube or Vimeo as unlisted videos and then you can embed them or link to 22
  24. 24. them from your portfolio. Always test the final product before embedding it. 22
  25. 25. Dont have a video camera? You can still create videos! PowerPoint allows you to record from webcam or record audio on slides and output as a video. Windows users can import stills and music into Windows Movie Maker and add narration directly in. And while YouTube doesnt yet have the option to add narration (as at July 2016), you can upload images and choose from their royalty free music to create a video of sorts. I would caution you on this as in future there may be people in your audience who are sight impaired and thus a video with just images and music will not be useful to them. 23
  26. 26. If youre creating narration, keep your mic close to your mouth. Choose a small, quiet room with lots of soft furnishings. Ive recorded some great audio in a walk in closet. Try to do an entire productions worth of audio on the same day your voice will change day to day and will rarely match up with a previous days recording. Do not be overly picky about pauses. If you make a mistake, stop and take it from the top of a paragraph or scene. When capturing from a mixing desk ensure your recording device is up to it. Some mobile phones with audio in/out combined ports will yield poor quality results. Test, test, test and on the day ensure you have more memory than you think you need. When capturing in the field monitor your capture closely. A device that allows you to listen as you record is the gold standard, if you cant get that listen right after you record to ensure youre happy. If interviewing a subject, a lapel mic on them that is as close to their mouth as possible is going to give you the best audio. If youre using a handheld mic, ensure it has a tight capture pattern and position it directly in front of and close to their mouths. 24
  27. 27. If youre going to add a music bed ensure you have the right to use the music for this purpose (just buying the CD or downloading the track isnt enough). Ensure you are keeping the music very low in relation to the narration and go for instrumentals or vocals with no words. YouTube provides the ability to add music from thei