Solent #Mahara Update – Summer 2013

This summer has seen us move from Mahara 1.4  to 1.7 and with it came a huge theme overhaul! Gone was the overpowering ‘Solent Red’ and in came a much calmer and clearer ‘Personal Blue’. Our log-in page is nice, simple and dynamic so that it looks great on any device (have a look at and drag the corners about to change the screen size!)

We also changed the navigation panel on the dashboard to link in with our new (and growing) online support site that sits in our Moodle (myCourse). We chose to do this as a lot of the feedback from our staff and students was that once you got to Mahara as a first time user, you have no idea what to do next…


As you can see from the image, our support was split into 3 major sections;

  • Basics: getting started, video catalogue of ‘how-to’ guides, advice on uisng the web for self promotion
  • Pages to build: Links to example pages and a step-by-step guide on how to make them
  • Assessments: how to submit your work to Moodle to be marked

You can see what the help site looks like by downloading this PDF

We have also created a few themes as requested by our students:

It is hoped that these new themes, in addition to the existing themes can help our students feel like they’re building more of a ‘website’.

Many thanks to Paul Maple for the design work, ICT and especially Daran Price for making it all happen!


Over this summer I’ve had a few more lecturers approach me to ask about how Mahara could support their students with their learning – mostly to be assessed too! For this reason I have written a help guide for our staff so that they can get a good idea of what’s involved with Mahara and how my colleagues and I can help them. From this, there are now potentially units from the Maritime, Social Work, Sports Development and Events Management that will be using our Mahara – possibly another 150 students!

In addition to this, our own HR department have approached us to see how Mahara can support the Solent Graduate Scheme where students are monitored during their 1 year internship whilst working in various teams around the university. The graduates will use Mahara to record a weekly blog/journal post, record CPD activities and display any outcomes from various projects and pull them together into one webpage. This webpage is then shared with their line manager via a secret URL, but is also ‘submitted’ to the Solent Graduate Associate Scheme group in Mahara so that those in HR who are responsible for overseeing the scheme can see what the graduates have been up to.

It is hoped that the outcomes of this pilot will be presented at next year’s Mahara UK 2014 conference 🙂

So that’s my update, I’ll do another one at Christmas when the first semester is over!

Sam 🙂

(See my Mahara ePortfolio:

PS: For those who went to the Mahara UK 2013 and wanted my slides, you can find them at:


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