Last month I attended the 2012 annual Sakai conference in Atlanta, GA along with a cohort of my colleagues from Pomona College. This year the conference was a little different in that it was held jointly with the Jasig Community. Jasig is similar to the Sakai Foundation in that it sponsors a number of open-source projects for higher education. They include uPortal, an open-source web portal; CAS, an open-source authentication system; Bedework, an open-source enterprise calendar system; and uMobile, an initiative to bring campus content to mobile devices.
At last year’s conference it was announced that the Sakai Foundation and Jasig were proposing a merger between the two communities. The two communities will be voting on the proposal in the near future. Certainly, holding a joint conference was a great way to show how a merger could be mutually beneficial. I attended several Jasig sessions and could see many areas where collaboration would be very helpful, for example in the area of developing a mobile Sakai.
At this year’s conference, developers were showing off version 1.3 of Sakai OAE (Open Academic Environment). Sakai OAE is being developed in tandem with Sakai CLE (Collaborative Learning Environment) which is the version that we are currently using at The Claremont Colleges. Sakai OAE is focused more on content creation and sharing. The new version has impressive drag-and-drop features for content creation and was very well received by the conference attendees.
I attended many interesting sessions. Among the highlights: using the Evaluation System tool for online course evaluations, common pitfalls in the Gradebook tool, integrating Google calendars into Sakai, and using external tools and open content in Sakai. Please feel free to stop by and ask me for more details if any of these topics interest you.