The student group has now been using the Mahara e-portfolio Group (The Gordon BDAV Design Project 2011 group) for 5 months. They will continue to use the group for the remainder of the year, but the AFLF project has now completed. Education Development staff will continue to support and assist the teachers using the e-portfolio platform and promote this innovative use of Mahara to other staff at The Gordon.
Our final student survey (again using Obsurvey) focused on the usage of the e-portfolio Group – how much had the students used it, which components of the e-portfolio did they use, what did they think of the e-portfolio platform and had it provided an effective collaboration space for them?
What did the students say?
- The Group in Mahara was actively and regularly used by the students involved. Over 73% of students accessed the site fortnightly or more often
· The main activities were sharing of files (73 – 82%)
· Communication tools (forum) were not used much — only 9% read them; 0% posted to them. This may be because the group had regular face to face meetings, which could also explain the low use of the Group as a means of communicating with others (9%)
- Students mainly tried the other basic e-portfolio components (profile, resume) but interestingly, none used the Blog tool at all.
- Most students found it useful (55%) or very useful (37%). Ease of Use ratings were a very mixed bag
Some of their comments around ease of use:
“..not the simplest of sites to use. Too many leads into non required areas.”
“I still find it awkward to use. I don’t think it is at a point where I would feel comfortable sending potential clients or employers to for this reason.”
“It provides us students with a communal place where we can upload information we find. Also allows us to show prospective employers what we are capable of in a simple and easy format.”
- 73% said they would not be interested in retaining their Mahara e-portfolio after complete their studies at The Gordon.
If you want to have a look at the full survey report, we've uploaded it into Google Docs so use the link: Google Docs - Final Survey Report (PDF)
So what lessons can we take from all of this?
The Mahara group provided some collaboration capability — this group of students found it very useful for the sharing of resources but did they actively communicate in the space? Not really – their communication still took place largely in the face to face classroom environment. Their reaction to other available tools in Mahara has probably been coloured by the fact that their first use of the e-portfolio was for a specific use — most didn’t use the resume, blog and options to store other artefacts (unrelated to this group project). With more focus on the ways in which they can use their personal e-portfolio, this may change.
This project has helped The Gordon make wider use of the Mahara e-portfolio platform — it has provided another example of use that has sparked interest among teachers at the institute.