When I requested to become a Captain of the Mahara LearningWheel, I didn’t realise the overwhelming response I would receive from the Mahara community. I can proudly state that I have relentlessly promoted and advocated the usability of Mahara, within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, and now I finally have the opportunity to make a huge difference. I promptly ‘set sail’ and cast my net far and wide to encourage like-minded collaborators to join me on my maiden voyage. Along the way, I gathered contributions and ideas from across the country such as Kent, Milton Keynes, Scotland, Southampton, Swindon and Warwick and also from across the sea in Canada, New Zealand, Slovenia and Switzerland.
At Birmingham City University, Mahara is used widely in nursing and midwifery, with a strong emphasis towards personal development planning and reflective writing. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has recently updated its processes of revalidation, whereby registration is achievable upon several requirements including successful completion and authorisation of up to five pieces of reflective writing. Registrants must also demonstrate 450 practice hours and 35 hours of continuing professional development. Mahara is an ideal way to enrich and support this process towards self-regulation and self-awareness. Zimmerman (2002) identifies three phases of self-regulation, that of Self-Reflection, Performance and the Forethought Phase, which inspires task analysis and self-motivational belief. Mahara is ideally placed to be used as a learning strategy rather than just a repository for the digital collection. It has the capacity to encourage self-regulated learning, which is a necessity for anyone within the profession of nursing.
I am now steering the ship towards publication within the Mahara User Manual and on the way, I will be docking in Sunderland to present a keynote speech at the Mahara Hui 2016. I hope to provide you with updates from users – staff and students alike in the near future.