Mahara ePortfolio System

mahara logo

About Mahara: A short video by Flinders Connect 

This information is intended for both staff and students - all are 'users' of the tool. This page will grow in resources over time. Please revisit often to see what's new.

Scroll down for the How-to section. Click to open a section / double-click to close a section.

We are currently using Mahara V17.10. To access the full suite of Mahara user resources, see the official Mahara user manual here 

About Mahara... 

Mahara is a personal online platform that stays with you for the duration of your time here at Flinders. It is an online space where you can join up the dots between different things and show progress over time, and a place to organise and showcase your work. It belongs to the account holder - this means you control all your settings and who sees what. You can use your Mahara space for anything you like - personal notes, professional activity, scholarly activity and research, continuing professional development, career building and job-seeking, etc. Mahara works well to capture your experiential and informal learning, and can also be used for formal coursework at Flinders, because Mahara integrates with FLO for authenticated assessment submission. 
It can be a lot of things, but essentially, Mahara is a place to tell a story about you. 
  • A personal-professional profile online: Create a professional-looking online presence, showcase your resume and collect all your social media accounts in one place.  
  • A place to collect things: Upload, tag and store files you have created, or hyperlink to larger media files. You can also export forum posts, glossary entries and other FLO-created items from your topic into your Mahara space. 
  • A place to capture your thoughts on the go: Journal your experiences, reflect, plan, make personal notes 
  • A place to collaborate with others: A controlled space for sharing and co-creating in groups
  • A way to present to others: Creatively combine text and media into pages and collections, and share these for assessment, promotion, or job-seeking. 
  • A conversational space: Connect your big ideas to the world and invite public comment 
Example eportfolios: 

New to ePortfolios?  Explore Portfolio Assist - a great resource site for staff and students with videos, literature, ideas. This resource is not Mahara-specific.

Your Mahara account is linked to your FAN. You can always find it in your FLO user profile drop-down menu. When you are in Mahara, you can return to FLO at any time through a link inside your Dashboard page. This makes it easy for you to move between FLO and Mahara - no extra sign-ins required!

shows mahara in the user profile drop down list  

General support principles

  • Own the space: Mahara is a personal space, and users are responsible for maintaining the contents of their accounts
  • Grow your skills: Managing your Mahara space is a digital competency - users are expected to problem-solve inside their accounts by tapping into the Mahara community 
  • A partnered approach: Staff and students are all users - share your expertise and help each other 

Support for students (for using Mahara in FLO) 

  • When Mahara is used as part of formal coursework you will be supported by teaching staff to understand the task and the steps. 
  • FLO help is available if you get stuck submitting to FLO or saving FLO work to Mahara. 
  • Please note that FLO help staff cannot see or help users beyond log-in because this is your private space. 

Contact: FLO Help for Students  

Support for staff (for using Mahara in learning & teaching) 

  • It is expected that staff use Mahara themselves before using it in their topic or course - this will provide insight into the user experience as well as generating ideas on how the tool might be used to support learning and assessment. 
  • Access design support and ideas for using Mahara ePortfolios as part of formal coursework, and to find out what others are doing with Mahara. 
  • Teaching staff are responsible for relevant task-specific instructional support materials and advice to students in their FLO sites, because each task will be different. In time, a bank of shared instructional resources will be collected for adaptation across contexts. You are encouraged to tell us what works well so that others can benefit from your experience. See the Demo site: Mahara in FLO here
  • You are welcome to join the ePortfolio Community of Practice to network ideas with peers. 
  • Register for Introduction to Mahara for a hands-on workshop, or when competent as a user, Creating Mahara activities in FLO



Landing and Dashboard 

PLEASE NOTE: Mahara has recently been upgraded. You will notice a bit of change to the navigation: see a quick overview here

When you enter you will land on your 'Dashboard'. Only you can see this page. This is where you can see your latest activity, and pick up notifications from other users. 

Use the Create Share and Engage buttons to quickly navigate to common tasks in Mahara:

  • Create: Create a new page. Also shows a tiled display of all your pages and collections 
  • Share: Manage who sees what here with share options for your pages and collections
  • Engage: Find groups here 

Top of every page 

No matter where you are, you will always be able to see, along the very top of the page: 

  • A search box (for finding other Mahara users) 
  • Your Mahara user information (what people will see if they search for you) 
  • Settings (options for notifications and display) 
  • Mahara mail inbox (your notifications) 
  • Logout 

There is a drop-down menu in top right corner of the every page in Mahara, where you will find quick links to: 

  • Back to the dashboard 
  • Content (creating and maintaining your profile, adding individual items)  
  • Portfolio (creating pages and collections for sharing with others)  
  • Groups (shared spaces)  

Right hand blocks 

On the right side of the any page you are on, you will notice: 

  • Your FLO profile picture (this has been automatically pulled in from FLO and you can change it) 
  • A link directly to FLO (does not log you out) 
  • Your groups (any groups you have started or are a member of) 
  • Tags (if you have items you have tagged. You can click a tag to see all your content with this tag) 

You can save individual files into your Mahara space. These become individual items of 'content' which can then be used in your pages and collections for presentation. You can easily drag items from your desktop into Mahara. See Mahara files info here


Storage capacity

Your Mahara account is limited to 200 MB storage capacity. It is recommended that you compress large files before adding them, and store large media files in other spaces and link to them. Used this way, Mahara becomes a way to curate media items published to multiple places. Video files stored on YouTube will embed in Mahara.

Pages are small portfolios. A page is a place to collect a number of items together to tell a 'bigger story'. For instance, you can group presentation slides with a picture of you presenting, some promotional material, feedback received, and a reflection on the event. You can add items to pages from your 'content' or you can add straight from your computer. Pages can be formatted to group items in different ways - play with the options for maximum effect. 

See Mahara page info here 

See Mahara 'blocks' info here - what you can add to a page 

Mahara storage area is limited to 200MB when you add images, videos or other multimedia resources by uploading them directly to Mahara. So, be mindful about adding multimedia resources to your ePortfolio pages. A good alternative way is to add/keep your media in different media storage websites and embed them in your Mahara pages. You can embed them using the External group in the page editing panel.

Embedding Media

There are two main tools used to embed external content.

  • External Media

You can use the External media tool from the External group when editing your page.

External Media

Two options are available in the External media tool:

You can also paste an Embedly embed code and display your content that way.

In addition to the official list above, you will find a lot of URLs and embedding codes from other providers/websites that work well. All you need to do is get the embedding code and try it out.

Note: Make sure that the media you are embedding can be publicly viewed by anyone. Otherwise, it will not show in your page in Mahara for other people.

  • Google Apps

This is the second tool you could use from the External group.

Google Apps

This tool enables you to embed any of the following content via Google (Apps):

  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides
  • Google Drive folder
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Maps
  • Google Books
You can display the content, but to edit documents, spreadsheets or presentations you will have to be logged into your Google (Apps) account. You can use this block with any Google account.

Note: If certain documents are restricted to a Google Apps domain or to specific people, a login screen is displayed.

Refer to the support page in the Mahara user manual for more details about specific steps and how-tos to embed external content.

Collections are bigger portfolios - literally, a collection of pages joined together. You will need to create all the pages first before grouping them together in a collection. See Mahara collections info here

Share pages or collections 

Pages and collections (as a whole) can be shared by: 

  • Creating a secret URL which you can send to someone, or  
  • Choosing who to share with from a menu of Mahara users 
  • Making them public 
  • Using advanced options to control comments, moderation and copying 

See Mahara Shared by me info here

Accessing linked content

If you are presenting this media as part of a collection (portfolio), you will need to manage the privacy settings of these outside-Mahara items. For instance if you make a Mahara collection and share a secret URL to that collection with someone, all the items you have linked to your collection should also be viewable by that person. 

It is possible to use Mahara for groups. Anyone with a Mahara account can create public or invitation-only groups , and can request to join other groups. All members of a group need to already have picked up their Mahara accounts.

Please note that with groups, you will need to exercise the same kind of due care that would for any other social media. See Mahara groups info here

You may be instructed to use Mahara as part of your formal coursework at Flinders. The instructions for what you need to do should be in your FLO site - if not, ask the teaching staff for them.

You are only able to submit pages or collections to the Assignment tool, not individual items of content. For instance if you are submitting a Journal, you will need to put that journal into a page.

When it is time to submit your Mahara work to FLO, you will do so via an Assignment tool which will be especially set up to receive Mahara assignments. When you go through the 'submit' process, you will be prompted to choose your page/s and/or collection/s from a list displayed in the tool. Click which one/s you want to be submitted and complete the submission process.

The Assignment tool may be set to:

  • Unlocked (which means you can keep working on that page or collection in Mahara, and teaching staff will see all your changes)             
  • Locked (which means you will not be able to make changes to whatever you have submitted until unlocked by the teaching staff - but you can make a copy of it at any time)

Remember that your Mahara work is time-stamped. If you are asked to complete coursework in Mahara (for instance, keep a journal with regular entries) you will need to keep up to date as expected. If you create your entries all at once they will all have the same date.

You will have access to your Mahara account for the duration of your FAN. If you want to keep the contents, pages and collections in your Mahara account, you will need to export it all into another account of your choosing – Folio Spaces works well, because it is also made by Mahara. To export, you will first need to create an account to send it to, and then export from your Flinders Mahara content using Leap2A format. You may need a little tidy up once imported.

» How do I...? OLD GLOSSARY