New Mahara book

Packt Publishing just sent me a copy of the new Mahara book:
Mahara 1.2 E-Portfolios: Beginner’s Guide

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and read through a text-book, my eyes tend to glaze over and I find something else to read instead! I’ve also never been very good at sitting down and “studying” – This book surprised me, I was expecting a book detailing the different features in a dry step by step manner, but what I found was quite different. The first paragraph of the content in the book made me feel a little uncomfortable:

So, you’re interested in Mahara? Maybe you are already using it, but you are wondering if you are using it well. Maybe you’ve recently heard of Mahara and you are wondering if this is actually the ePortfolio solution you were looking for? Or, maybe you have been told you have to use it and you just need to get a sense of what Mahara is all about?

The book seemed to be talking to me – that’s not supposed to happen is it? After reading further I began to almost see the writers at the front of a computer lab speaking to me sitting at a PC – this easy to read tone engaged me in the book and the blend of content, hands on activities, and reviews made it an interactive experience – not what I’ve come to expect from the reference manuals I normally have on hand! The book has some great use cases and full detail without overwhelming the reader. It’s split up into logical bite-sized chapters that could be tackled one at a time when the reader has a quiet moment. Packt release this book as an eBook which I found useful – it meant that you could switch over to a web browser and run through the activities on the demo site provided specifically for readers of the book. I have a multi-monitor display which made this easy – some readers will definitely prefer the hard copy. Unfortunately the urls in the eBook weren’t live urls so I had to copy/paste them, but that didn’t take too much effort.

I’d recommend this book to anyone new to ePortfolios or new to Mahara – it gives the reader a really good detailed knowledge of not only the features of Mahara, but how they can be used in a variety of ways for very different groups of people. The book is great for real users – teachers/students/educators – it gives a much “easier to digest”, concise guide than the online documentation. It’s not aimed at Administrators or Developers but if you haven’t implemented Mahara yet it gives some good information for new administrators or those considering Mahara’s suitability towards the end of the book. I’d highly recommend that any organisation running Mahara grabs a hard copy of the book to lend someone when they walk into your office and ask “so what’s this Mahara thing?”

It’s available on Amazon, but cheaper from Packt Publishing who sell the eBook as well.

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2 Responses to “New Mahara book”

  1. Mary Rudis says:

    Thanks for reveiwing this book. We just started implementing Mahara in our school this year and I too have been wondering if I’m taking advantage if its full potential. I will definitely pick up a copy.

  2. Lei says:

    good stuff! no enough moodle books out there though!