Mahara is a free open source ePortfolio system that can be downloaded and personalised to provide students with a space where they can build electronic e-portfolios.
Mahara provides a tool that can be used to support summative and formative assessment.
Mahara can be used to create pages filled with artefacts that can serve as evidence of their learning journeys. These evidence include uploaded files, video and audio clips, images and much more.
It allows students to write reflective journals, blogs and to collaborate in groups. Students can be requested to peer review the ePortfolios created by their peers, but public can also be allowed to provide feedback on ePortfolio pages. Students can create as many pages they like, and they can fill it with artefacts tailored for various audiences. People who are allowed to provide feedback, can be added as individuals or they can be members of a group.
E-portfolio pages have the following features:
- public or private feedback can be received
- objectionable material can be reported
- pages and artefacts within a page can be added to watchlists to receive automated notifications of updates
- ePortfolio pages can be submitted for assessment as it provides a snapshot of the page and the artefacts as it has been created by a certain date.
Mahara allows students to build their résumés online while they are studying and they can export their ePortfolios to be used afterwards when they apply for jobs in the real world.
South African tertiary education institutions such as the University of South Africa and the University of Stellenbosch have integrated Mahara into their assessment practices.