Mahara UK 2014 – I’m a confirmed speaker!

Yesterday I received the wonderful news that both my paper submissions had been accepted for this year’s Mahara UK conference in Brighton (  My colleague Roger Emery will also be presenting, as well as one of our students Bradley Gavin. I don’t want to give too much away, but the abstracts for my contributions are below:

1st Proposal

    • Presenter: Sam Taylor
    • Institution: Southampton Solent university
    • Position: Learning Technologist

Title: Leading by Example


Starting projects from scratch can sometimes be a daunting experience, especially when it involves using a new piece of technology for the first time. For many students, having a template or framework to work from, or having experienced users available for comment can sometimes be the key as to whether or not they can successfully complete an assignment.

For this talk, you will be shown how lecturers at Southampton Solent University have been able to inspire their students to push the boundaries of what’s possible in Mahara by:

    • showing examples of past student work
    • developing pro-forma templates
    • involving peer leaders
    • using inspirational stories from around the world

2nd Proposal

    • Presenter: Sam Taylor & Roger Emery
    • Institution: Southampton Solent university
    • Position: Learning Technologist & Learning Technologies Development Manager

Title: Mahara: winning hearts and minds


Adopting an ePortfolio system can appear daunting at first; where will it ‘sit’?, who will support it?, will staff ‘get it’?, and more importantly will students use it? Even after your first year of firefighting and going above and beyond the call of duty, you may feel dismay at the lack of effort that users have put into their online work. But fear not! It does get better. After five years of implementing Mahara, Southampton Solent University has seen an increase in ePortfolio adoption from employability and personal development focussed units, with students producing visually striking portfolios.

This short talk will be a show and tell of the evolution of Mahara at Solent, from the ugly beginnings to the beautiful outcomes of today. Some of our ‘keys to success’ will also be shared along with feedback from many of our stakeholders. The second half of our slot will be used to field questions based on anything we have covered to do with ePortfolio adoption, and therefore this session is particularly useful for those who are only just starting to investigate and adopt Mahara.


Something that I’ve really come to enjoy at our internal conferences is the opportunity to present a poster on your work and look at colleague’s poster about their work. It’s great for making connections and starting great discussions. I decided to contact Catalyst (MaharaUK14 organisers) to see if they would be interested in running a poster option for those who didn’t want to present – and to my surprise they said yes! Therefore a call for posters has now been put out – methinks I’ll be doing a poster as well then 😉

Eeek! 'Mahara STAR!'

Eeek! ‘Mahara STAR!’

I guess now I need to work on my presentations – one’s nearly finished and the other is taking shape nicely! Watch this space for some more Mahara-related news – I have a biggy coming up that I can’t wait to share with you all!

Sam x


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