Similar to the enhancements that DCU continue to develop with Moodle, DCU has led in the space of improving the underlying Mahara platform. Through conversations, support requests, informal observations, and formal research, DCU identified areas in the software that would benefit from changes and re-imagining workflows since we launched the platform. Together with the company that maintains Mahara, Catalyst, as development partner, these initiatives were developed and deployed. These changes benefited students, tutors, and non-teaching staff involved in the support of the portfolio platform at the university.
The three changes that were incorporated into Mahara core over the past three years were:
• Implementing a 'Placeholder' block and thereby changing the workflow for selecting a type of evidence
• Automatic copying of templates created in a group into student accounts
• Developing of a set of learning analytics reports to gather more comprehensive data on the use and impact of portfolios
All these changes were and still are very well received by the worldwide Mahara community and contributed to improved usability of the platform, allowing students to work with templates more flexibly rather than having a prescribed set of evidence types, and providing organisations more data on the usage of the portfolio site, helping implement better support strategies as an example. This resulted in DCU being invited to become a formal Mahara Supporter in 2018.