We finally have the Mahara ePortfolio system working as an add-on for Moodle. In our system anyone who authenticates to moodle can roam over to the Mahara system and Mahara will create the user profile based on their moodle information.
This will give every student the opportunity to store files, create learning groups with forums and dicussions, create multiple blogs, and even create their own “learning dashboard” similar to netvibes or pageflakes. The opportunities are endless for creative uses of this new learning tool. Since this is more of a student tool, much of the activity will be student driven and not something the teacher has to implement or learn. Although, the teacher can use this as an extension to form study groups for their classes.
I still have a lot to do in terms of configuring and customizing the application. I need to get tutorials and such up on the site for students to review so they can take full advantage of the program.
This gives each student tremendous power and responsibility to use web2.0 style tools. As such I have no misconceptions that this will probably end up getting a small handful of students in trouble. But I do not think this would be any worse than the same trouble the student would find themselves getting into in a regular classroom.
If all I do is get this rolling and the DimDim conferencing server running, I would call this summer productive. Especially when you factor in the other enhancements and features added at the beginning of summer.
We are getting VERY close to a complete web 2.0 eLearning Environment based on controlled open source applications.