I’ve had the opportunity to play around with Mahara over the past couple of days and I have to say, of all the specific e-portfolio software I’ve seen – it is the best! You can connect with people (on the same system); comments can be left and messages sent. Groups can be created and therefore communities fostered, ideas shared and projects collaborated on.
You can post youtube videos and slideshare presentations (amongst others), although each requires a specific filter so there’s no way to embed something for which there is no filter. A bit annoying for all those with mature, digital identities and lots of embed code they want to use…( *why can’t we have everything?*).
There’s a very basic infrastructure in place to facilitate planning and reflection already and it would also be possible to set up a ‘view’ with specific elements creating a framework for new users, tailored to individual or organisational requirements.
For me the greatest advantage is the ‘view’ function. You have a repository from which you can add (and by add I mean drag and drop) into a specific e-portfolio view. This only takes a couple of minutes to set up and then you can share the e-portfolio publicly or privately and for a finite or infinite amount of time. This means if I was looking for a job I could easily send three completely different e-portfolios to three companies and it would only take a few minutes.
The biggest potential disadvantage (apart from the embed code issue) is the ‘walled-garden’ set up which for many will be a great advantage (local government, schools, etc.), but for me it’s a barrier between learners and their potential network.
I’ve had access for less than two days so I might add to this as I find out more but so far I still rate WordPress and wikis over specific software.