Moodle Blog

Review of Mahara 1.2 E-Portfolios

THIS IS A GREAT BOOK! (And you can quote me on that!) I  would have been proud to write this book.  No; I don’t work for Packt and nobody’s paying me to say so and I don’t personally know the authors – so why do I think it’s so good? Because, like the  words of the King in Alice in Wonderland, they “begin at the beginning, go on until [they] come to the end – and then stop”  The book – which is available from Packt here – takes you through all you need to know about Mahara from accessing it as a student, to using it as a teacher/tutor to installing and managing it as primary administrator. And all in a friendly, easy to use style with helpful screenshots. An achievement all the more admirable as it is written by several people rather than one author.

The book begins by explaining what Mahara is and does and why we might want to use it – we are encouraged to register at a Mahara site such as mahara.org to see how it works. A nice touch of the book is that they have set up a Mahara especially for readers to practise/play on so you don’t even need to have your own install when you begin.

We are shown how to set up our profile page, upload files,write blogs, create Views and are taken gently to the teacher/course leader role where  we learn about groups and assessing students’ work. I especially liked the way the book follows three Mahara users – Punam, a primary teacher with a county Mahara install; Janet a learning technologist at a corporate university and Neil who works for a  UK 14-19 vocational training provider. This means that each time we find out something about Mahara we get to see how it might be applied in specific circumstances – we enter the thoughts of Punam,Janet or Neil. (I’ve made a mental note to copy this idea in future writing!)

The final couple of chapters deal with the site settings and main administration  which are easy to digest now we have gathered a detailed understanding of how Mahara works at its different levels. At the end are two appendices which are as important as the rest of the book even though they are in the final few pages: planning hints on how to implement your Mahara and instructions for installation.  The first appendix is really useful and, although I have less experience in Mahara than Moodle, I do appreciate (from having advised on how to fix really badly implemented Moodles) how important  it is to think it through in advance. The second appendix is also essential -someone has to install your Mahara! But as it might only concern a limited number of readers it is rightly kept to the end.

You can read a sample chapter here on the Packt site -but why read a sample chapter? If you are interested in getting Mahara  then just go and buy the whole book!

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Friday, 19. February 2010 um 13:11 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Moodle abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen. Du hast die Möglichkeit einen Kommentar zu hinterlassen, oder einen Trackback von deinem Weblog zu senden.

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for the positive review! I am one of the book’s authors and reading impartial but positive reviews like this one make all the blood, sweat and tears feel worthwhile.

    Enjoy Mahara!

    Comment: Derrin Kent – 22. February 2010 @ 7:36 pm

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