Blog Pile

EDUCAUSE: “Sakai, A Collaboration Between The University of Michigan, Indiana University, MIT, Stanford, OKI, and the uPortal Consortium”

Sakai is delivering an integrated open-source framework comprising an enterprise portal, a course management system, and a tool portability profile as a standard for writing future tools that can extend this core set of educational applications. Learn what Sakai has achieved and its direction for the future.

My comments: If I recall, Sakai is based on the UM Chef project, and “Sakai” is the name of a cook “named ‘Iron Chef’ form some cooking show…. (?)

I came to see what all the Sakai buzz is about. So did the 150+ 250 others sitting on the ballroom floor for this session– no one realized this would be a popular session???. Again another presentation that is 90% word slides, background info– where is the beef? the demo? that’s what we want to see, we can read bullet points online. It is like a “meta-presentation” – it is information about a project, not the project itself. I am tired of reading soup can labels delivered in PowerPoint.

Converging Trends … why now?
* Data Standards (IMS)
* Tech Standards (OKI, etc)
* Institutional Mobilization (stretched funding)
* Foundation funding

–> Institutional partnering — ope source application suite for education

* core infrastructures exist
* economic advantages for core schools
* higher ed values of sharing, building commons
* more options for students, faculty (faculty do not really care about infrastructure, they just want it to work)
* ability to rapidly innovate- interoperable, sustainable

High level goals
* full featured collaborative learning environment – to replace current campus COurse Management Systems (Sakai is more than just a CMS)
* framework to enable creation of enw tools and services that will be portable to other Sakai environments
* leverage IMS, OKI standards
* create modular system that can aggregate content from a variety of sources (I like that)

* Tool Portability Profile
* Pooled intellectual property/experiences
— portal
— research collaboration system
— workflow engine
* Adoption by the core schools
* Based on open-source licensing (no restriction on commercial use)

Jan 2004- Sakai project officially launched
June 2004- Sakai beta 1.0 released
Oct 2004 – Sakai 1.0 released and made available at runs on Windows, Mac, Linux (“it should be able to install in 5 minutes”)

Sakai Community Activities
– developer and adopter support – Sakai Educational Partner Progam (SEPP)- membership fee is $10k/year ($5k for ‘smaller schools’), 3 year commitment
– online discussion groups at project website

Framework Requirements
* tool and service portability
* support for small, medium, large systems
* separate UI from tools
* content aggregation
* built in support for accessibility
* skinning and customization

An unreadable diagram from top down:
user – local UI -uPoral interface – Framework (based on CHEF), hang tools here – OKI structure

Sakai Features 1
(presenter jumped past it)

Main Findings:
* “It’s a complex project” – tension between pure open-source approach and the commercial end “get it out”, development across 3 time zones, different cultures, extremely high expectations, ‘avoid distractions — everything is possible’
* Sakai will become more useful if it starts to have sufficient features and functionality (show it!), demonstrate interoperability, develop user interfaces that focus on user experience, exhibit perforrmace that meets desired metrics

January 2006 – Sakai Project is over (??)

“Sakai is not a case of open-source versus commercial, it’s about providing choices”

Gartner IT Expo
* Don;t inverst in ope source because the acquistion cost is lower, look at overall benefit
* Do not expect much impact from Sakai in 12-18 months
* (a few more I missed)

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Sakai is Iron Chef French (as opposed to Iron Chef Japanese, Chinese or Italian). I believe he was crowned the king of Iron Chefs in a recent battle. One of my guilty pleasures.

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