Mahara as Medium: Feeding the Learning Spirit through aesthetic and reflective expression
by © 2013 ~ June Kaminski, MSN PhD(c)
Presented at COHERE: Collaboration for Online Higher Education Research Conference: Theme: Open Resources, Open Courses: Their Impact on Blended and Online Learning October 24th, 2013 in Vancouver, BC.
The challenge of nurturing the Learning Spirit of nursing students within a blended program demands innovative and engaged activities and assignments. The selection of useful tools that enrich learning is an important step in this endeavor.
June Kaminski is the Program & Curriculum Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Post Baccalaureate program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley, British Columbia. June is also a PhD Candidate in Curriculum and Pedagogy Studies at the University of British Columbia. She has led the development of the program being discussed in this presentation, including Mahara eportfolio design, maintenance and administration.
This session provided an overview of how Mahara has been used to enrich learning experiences in nursing education by tapping aesthetic and reflective expression. The significance of creating a permanent collection of learning artifacts for professional learning assessment as well as personal development were also explored.
The KPU Bachelor of Science in Nursing Post-Baccalaureate Program uses Mahara open source e-portfolios to engage students in creative, scholarly, and reflective learning activities in every online course in the program. Faculty members develop their own Mahara e-portfolios to model and assist student learning. Digital artifacts, including visual models, theoretical interpretations, reflective journals, and artistic work such as free verse, prose, graphical work, photographs, video, and multimedia productions are showcased in an organized way within the e-portfolio milieu. Students develop a collection of e-portfolio pages each semester, which form a rich and robust body of work over the course of the program - a concrete testament to the development of critical knowledge, awareness, and competencies over time.