The Claremont Colleges were well-represented at the annual Sakai conference this year in Denver, Colorado. Seven staff from five different institutions attended. We also gave three different presentations at the conference. My presentation was titled “Designing an SLA for Sakai at The Claremont Colleges.” Bejamin Royas (CMC) organized our second presentation, a panel discussion with the title “Goodfellas & Wiseguys: Sakai Support for Faculty and Staff at The Claremont Colleges.” Our third presentation, “Sakai: The Student Perspective,” was presented by Mary McMahon (Pomona) and Susan Kullmann (Scripps) and described the results of our recent student customer satisfaction survey. All three presentations were very well received with good attendance and interesting questions.
A hot topic at the annual conference this year was Sakai 3. Sakai 3 is the next generation of Sakai and is currently under development. It will have a completely new back end based on Apache Sling. More importantly for faculty and students, the designers are working closely with the Teaching and Learning Group and other user groups in order to focus on user experience and the user interface. You can learn more about the Sakai 3 project at http://confluence.sakaiproject.org/display/SAKDEV/Sakai+3. You can also try out a very early prototype at http://3akai.sakaiproject.org/dev/.
One of the highlights of the annual Sakai conference is the Teaching with Sakai Innovation Awards ceremony. This year the first place winner was Dr. Scott Bowman from Texas State University-San Marcos. Dr. Bowman’s students used the Sakai wiki tool in his course on Juvenile Justice to research actual practice in the juvenile justice system in cities across the United States. The second place winner was Dr. Sally Knipe from Charles Sturt University in Australia. Dr. Knipe used a variety of Sakai tools with the students in her course, Transitions in Middle School, to create a sense of community. One of my favorite examples was her use of the Blogger tool to conduct online debates on a variety of topics. You can read more about the TWSIA award here: http://sakaiproject.org/innovation-awards.