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Introduction to Mahara [MyPortfolio]

What is Mahara?

Mahara, aka MyPortfolio at Warwick, is an online electronic portfolio for recording and organising content (referred to as artefacts) over a period of time and displaying this in a curated collection. An analogy for this might be a gallery or museum with spaces to show off collections of items to different audiences.

Why might I use Mahara?

You can use Mahara to record your ongoing professional development, examples of lifelong learning, or when required as part of an assignment or module (Mahara is integrated with Moodle and can be used for assessments).

ePortfolios can be structured any way you want, created according to the materials you have available, or by using a template provided by your tutor. In simple terms, you add artefacts - personal information in your profile and résumé (CV), externally created files, examples of progress and learning as journal entries, and records of development using plans and tasks - and bring these together as individual pages and collections of pages which can be shared with others. You can do this individually or as a group.

Where can I get help with Mahara?

Mahara has excellent online resources that cover pretty much anything that you can do with Mahara, possibly in too much detail. This guide, therefore, attempts to give you a brief overview of the tool and how you can use it. It links to more detailed guides in our Help Guides section and elsewhere.

This may look like a lot of info and Mahara may seem daunting to start with but it is very flexible and is actually really easy to use. TL/DR Add content, put content on pages, group pages into collections and share with other people. STL/SDR Sign up for Mahara training.

In this guide:

Mahara Guides and Support


Please note the automated captions have not been checked for accuracy but you can download the original text .

Login to Mahara
Create a page
Add content to a page
Create a collection of pages
Create a plan
Use a journal
Share a page or collection

Mahara Manual

Login to and navigate Mahara

Login to Mahara at https://mahara.warwick.ac.uk using the green Login to MyPortfolio button with your IT Services username and password. This will take you to the Mahara dashboard.

  • Use the main menu at the top right to add files, journals and plans, organise notes and manage tags.
  • Use the profile menu to update your personal information (photo, social media, contact information)
  • The central buttons are short cuts to the Pages and Collections, Sharing content and working with groups sections.

The dashboard also displays a list of your portfolios (collections) and any messages you have received.

Login to Mahara

Navigating the dashboard

Add reusable content [artefacts] to Mahara

The first step in creating your portfolios is to upload or create content. This can be personal information in your profile and CV, externally created document or image files, and internally recorded plans, tasks, journals and text.

Your profile - personal information and resume (CV)

Your profile information is the only thing that other people can see by default. All other information is only made available when you add it to a page or collection and share this with people. This is why it is important to 'share with care!'.

Click on the down arrow next to the profile page icon, then on Profile.

  • About me - change your display name, and add an introductory summary about yourself
  • Contact information - do you have a website or a blog? Add the URLs here.
  • Social media - showcase your many Twitter followers or your Instagram account. Try not to laugh or be confused by the mention of ICQ and Yahoo.
  • General - if you already have an occupation and an industry, pop them in here...

You can also add a new profile picture from this menu.

Edit your profile

Add files and images

Click on the main menu icon, expand the Create section, and select Files. Add your files:

  • Click to check the "Yes: These are my files" (to paraphrase) checkbox
  • Click on Choose files and browse to the files on your local device or drag and drop files onto the grey box to upload
  • When the file(s) have uploaded, click on the pencil icon to edit the details
  • Change the name to something recognisable, give it a description if you think this will be useful - and we strongly recommend that you add Tags (these are really useful for finding and organising artefacts, and creating pages).

Manage files in Mahara

Record personal development in Mahara

You can create some artefacts directly within Mahara. Plans and Journals allow you to organise and record your development over time.

Use plans and tasks

Plans are basic 'to do' lists and can be used to plan over time. They consist of any number of individual tasks with completion dates.

To create a plan:

  • Click on the main menu icon, expand the Create section, and select Plans.
  • Click on New plan
  • Give your new plan a title and a description - and Tag it so you can easily find or add it to a page later.
  • Click on the Save plan button at the bottom of the page.

To add (and mark complete) a task:

  • Click on the main menu icon, expand the Create section, and select Plans.
  • Select your plan, and click on New task
  • Give your task a title, set a completion date, and add a description - and Tag it.
  • Click on the Save task button at the bottom of the page.
  • When the task is complete, click on the pencil icon to edit the task, toggle (click on) the completed button and it will change from No (with a red dot) to Yes (with a green dot).

Create a plan

Record journals and journal entries

Record your thoughts and experiences by adding entries to a Journal - this is very similar to blogging, each entry is time-stamped but can be edited later (the edit times are also recorded).

To add a journal:

  • Click on the main menu icon, expand the Create section, and select Journals.
  • Click on Create journal
  • Give your new journal a title and a description - and Tag it so you can easily find or add it to a page later.
  • Click on the Create journal button at the bottom of the page.

Add an entry to a journal:

  • Click on the main menu icon, expand the Create section, and select Journals.
  • Click new entry
  • Give your entry a title and type into the entry content box
  • Tag it! Add a date, week, placement name, module code etc.
  • Optionally, you can add files (directly or link from the files section) to the journal entry.

Use a journal

Create a page

Pages are the main display elements in Mahara. This is where you select and arrange all your artefacts. You can create blank pages, or pre-filled pages using tags.

To create a blank page:

  • Click Create on the dashboard.
  • Click add
  • Select Page
  • Give your page a Page title, add a Page description, and add Tags.
  • Optionally, change the layout of your page (during creation or after the page has been created).

Create a page

Edit the page layout

Do not add all your content into the page description. This should be a very short description or overview of the page. Content should be added using text blocks, notes or journals (etc).

Add content to a page

You can add existing artefacts or create new ones directly on the page:

  • Click on the title of your page in the Pages and Collections section
  • Click on the pencil icon to edit the page
  • Drag artefact blocks from the menu on the left to a location on the page.
  • When you drop this block onto the page, a window will slide in from the right, and you will need to edit the block title and add the required information - selecting files, typing content, adding tags etc. This will be different for each type of block.

Add content to a page

Add text

Text blocks allow you to add content to a block using a familiar editing toolbar, very similar to Word. This has a few extra useful options such as being able to add HTML anchors and links to these and other pages. This is intended to be a snippet of text that does not need to be re-used, but if you add Tags to a text block and use the tags to create a new page, the text block will be copied into the page.

Add images

You can add images to the page from your computer or from the files section. If you upload a new image, it will also be added into your files section so that you can reuse it later. Remember to tag it.

Add personal info

These blocks allow you to showcase information from your profile and résumé (CV) which are especially useful if you are using your portfolio with prospective employers.

Add media and external media

Media blocks allow you to add files and folders of files for other people to download from your page. You can also create image galleries and there is a very flexible HTML block that you can use to extend the capabilities of Mahara substantially if you have the relevant experience.

We recommend that you use the External media block (in the External section) to add eStream and Youtube videos (for example). eStream videos are added as a link to the video on eStream, Youtube videos will play directly within the page.

Add plans

You can include one or more plans in the Plans block, and each plan can display a number of upcoming or completed tasks. In edit mode, you can add new tasks to your plans directly from the page by clicking on the add icon

Add journals and/or individual entries

As mentioned above, Mahara excels at allowing you to record ongoing development. You can display your journals or individual journal entries on the page. In edit mode, you can add new entries to your journals directly from the page by clicking on New entry.

Add notes

Notes are a special type of entry and have their own section in the Create menu. You can reuse these throughout your portfolio.

Delete content

In edit mode, click on the trash icon to remove blocks. Files and other artefacts are not deleted from Mahara, only from the page.

 Warning - text in text blocks is permanently deleted and cannot be recovered. This is also true of pages - whilst the artefacts are safe as they are stored as plans, journals and files - they cannot be recreated and formatting, text and external media blocks will be lost. When a collection is deleted, it does not delete the pages and page contents.

Showcase your portfolio aka organise content, pages and collections

Tag content

Tags should reflect something useful about the artefacts in your portfolio - does it relate to a work placement, a learning outcome, a module? Add one or all of these so that you can quickly find all related items later.

Tags are really helpful when you have a lot of content that you have gathered over time. They are the metadata that lets you bring your artefacts together in related groups - over time, across modules or activities, focusing on a specific task or learning outcome.

  • Click on the main menu icon, expand the Create section, and select Tags.
  • Select the appropriate tab to sort your tags alphabetically or by frequency.
  • Click on an individual tag to see all artefacts and blocks with this tag (documents, images, text blocks, plans, tasks etc).
  • Each entry shows the list of tags and where the artefact has been used.

Tags & Search

Create a page from tags

When a page is created using this process, it will automatically include files, text, notes, plans and tasks, journals and journal entries that match the chosen tags. You can then rearrange these to suit your requirements. Items tagged later are not added automatically.

To create a page from Tags:

  • Click Create on the dashboard.
  • Click add
  • Select Page
  • Give your collection a Page title, add a Page description
  • Add one or more tags into the Create via tags box.
  • Click Save.

Create a collection

An important element of a portfolio is the ability to draw together (and reuse) pages in multiple collections focusing on the important aspects for your current requirement (whether this is a job interview, submitting professional development evidence, an assignment etc).

  • Click Create on the dashboard.
  • Click add
  • Select Collection
  • Give your collection a Collection name, add a Collection description
  • Add one or more tags.
  • Click Next: Edit collection pages.
  • Drag pages into the grey box, or select them individually using the checkboxes and click Add pages.
  • Click Done.

Collections appear in the Pages and Collections section and can be identified by the shadow effect and the page count indicator . Click on the collection title to open it.

Create a collection

Share collections (or pages) with other people

OK, you have a portfolio that you want to show other people. This is pretty straightforward.

Sharing to other Warwick people:

  • Click on the padlock icon .
  • Select Manage access.
  • Click on Share with in the Share with others section
  • Search for an individual or group using the drop-down list
  • Optionally, set a start and end date for sharing
  • Click Save

The people you have shared this with will only be able to see that page / collection and its contents.

Sharing to externals:

  • Click on the padlock icon .
  • Select Manage access.
  • Click on New secret URL
  • Optionally, set a start and end date for sharing
  • Click the copy icon to copy the URL or the trash icon to delete it
  • Click Save

You can email this URL to anyone. Whoever has the link will be only able to see that page / collection and its contents but there is no way to prevent someone accessing unless you delete the secret URL or set an end date for sharing.

Share a page or collection

Work as a group

Mahara can also be used for group work. Each group space has a members list and shared forums, pages and collection space, journals and file storage.

  • Click Engage on the dashboard (this opens the Groups page which will list groups you are a member of).
  • Click Create group
  • Give your group a Group name, add a Group description
  • Choose whether the group is open to anyone or people will need to be invited to join by group admins.
  • Click Save group

You can add people by clicking on send multiple invitations at once on the group homepage members tab.

  • Use the search box to find people
  • Select them in the left Potential members box and click the right arrow to move them to the Users to be invited box.
  • Click Submit to invite all these members to join.

You can also add individuals by searching for them in the top search box on the dashboard.

Create new pages etc using the same processes as detailed above.

For more information on Groups, see https://manual.mahara.org/en/19.04/groups/groups.html

Submit a Mahara assignment via Moodle

Mahara is integrated with Moodle and you may be asked to submit an assignment created in Mahara. Please see our student guide on how to 'Submit online assignments via Moodle'.

If you've reached this point, well done! You now have an overview of Mahara that will get you started. Happy portfolio-ing.