9th Sakai Conference Proposal Deadline Extended

Eiffel tower

We’ve had requests from several folks in the community about extending the proposal deadline for the 9th Sakai Conference in Paris. I’m pleased to announce that we are extending the deadline to Friday, April 11th at midnight, GMT. In retrospect, having the proposal deadline during a week when many North American schools are on Spring break was not ideal.

So please get those proposals in. And as long as you are at the site, don’t forget to register for the conference and book your hotel room.

See you in Paris!


Sakai Teaching and Learning Award

Teaching with Sakai Logo

The Teaching & Learning group in the Sakai community has been very active recently. They had some terrific sessions at the Newport Beach Conference and their discussion on the collaboration lists have been quite lively. Their latest accomplishment, which we initially previewed at Newport Beach, is the “Sakai Teaching and Learning Innovation Award,” which is being sponsored by IBM.

You can find out more about the nomination process by visiting the informational website or by reading the news story in Campus Technology.

In summary:

  • The winner will receive a trip to the 9th Sakai Conference in Paris.
  • Applications are due by April 14 (midnight GMT, to be specific).
  • The judges for the award are:
    • Ken Bain
      Professor and author of What the Best College Teachers Do
      Montclair State University
    • Paul Elsner
      Director of the National Center for the Future of the Community College
      Former Chancellor of the Maricopa Community College District
    • Karen Swan
      Professor at the Research Center for Educational Technology
      Kent State University, Ohio

This is a terrific development and a great deal of credit should go to Josh Baron of Marist College, Janet de Vry of the University of Delaware and Eddie Watson of Virginia Tech. They really have spearheaded the development of the award, along with the rest of the award committee. IBM also deserves our thanks for recognizing and encouraging innovation in teaching and learning. And, of course, a special thanks to the judges. We appreciate everyone’s efforts in making this award a reality.

Finally…isn’t it time you submitted your proposal and registered for the conference?

Sakai 2.5.0 Released

I’m very pleased to announce that Sakai 2.5.0 is now officially available on the Sakai website! Source, binary and demo distributions are available for download. For more information on what’s included in the release, see Peter Knoop’s release summary. We expect than most institution running a previous version of Sakai will be upgrading to 2.5 between now and the (Northern Hemisphere) Fall academic term.

This release is the culmination of a new release process, which took the release through several beta and release candidate stages. While there will always be bugs in large complicated software packages like Sakai, we’re certain that the extra effort an attention that the community put into this process has resulted in a significantly higher quality release. As more institutions put Sakai 2.5.0 into production we will undoubtedly discover and fix more issues. In fact, there are already 30+ fixes that are waiting to be merged into the 2-5-x maintenance branch. We expect that we will be making a maintenance release (2.5.1) at the end of April.

Continue reading


Serensoft Logo Small I’m pleased to announce that Serensoft, a Sakai Commercial Affiliate, has recently teamed up with Agilearn and OLI to offer a new way to test out Sakai. They are calling their test instance Sakaisthelimit. This is a pretty cute name, in the grand tradition of Sakaiger. My favorite Sakai pun, though, is from a user support team that calls themselves “Sakaiatrists.” I’m forgetting who that was but as soon as someone reminds me I’ll be sure to give credit where it is due. And I know Dr. Chuck referred to himself this way early on, but I like the moniker applied to user support and training. And we all know that Chuck should be on the couch 🙂

In any case, Serensoft is offering a free test drive as well as different Pilot options. I encourage you to check it out.

You might also want to look at the similar free trial and pilot offerings from Unicon and rSmart.

Sakai Fellows Program Restarting

After a year of benign neglect due to the transition between Executive Directors, the Sakai Fellows program was a bit stalled. I’m pleased to announce it’s revival, however, in time for a new set of 6 nominees to get special recognition at the Sakai Conference in Paris. I’ve update the existing wiki page for the program, but here is a quick summary:

  • There will be 6 fellows per year. These can be contributors to Sakai in any area, from code to UX to evangelism.
  • Terms will be 1 year and the stipend will be $2500. Conference registration fees will be waived.
  • The terms will start with the summer conference and go through the next summer’s conference.
  • We would like to make the announcement of the fellows in time to actually make it to the conference.
  • Nominations are due by April 30th.

Getting the fellows nominated and selected in time for Paris will be a bit of a challenge. But please submit your nominations via email directly to me. You can find the nomination form here.

We also need volunteers to sit on the selection committee. So if you’d like to volunteer to review applications, please let me know!

2008 Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration

Chris Mackie of the Mellon Foundation reminded me of the following award nominations coming up.  Get your nominations in soon….

Deadline Approaching: 2008 Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration

The deadline for nominations for the 2008 Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (MATC Awards) is April 14, 2008. The MATC Awards consist of up to ten $50,000 or $100,000 prizes, which a receiving institution can use in a variety of ways to continue its technology leadership. The awards honor not-for-profit institutions that have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the development of open source software for one or more of the constituencies served by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: the arts and humanities in higher education; research libraries, museums; performing arts organizations; and conservation biology.

Awardees are selected by a distinguished committee of technology leaders, including Mitchell Baker, Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, John Seely Brown, Vint Cerf, John Gage, and Tim O’Reilly. Previous winners include higher education institutions, libraries, and museums  from North America, Europe, and Asia.

An online nomination form and more information may be found at http://matc.mellon.org.  The nominations are public: the community is invited to visit the site and comment.

9th Sakai Conference in Paris!

Eiffel towerAs you probably know, we will be returning to Europe for the 9th Sakai Conference. After a very successful and well-attended conference in Amsterdam, we are excited to be headed to Paris this July. The conference hotel will be the Rive Gauche Marriott which is in an excellent location on the left bank. While the opening reception and tech demos will be at the hotel, the conference sessions themselves will be at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, which is in an even better location, right near the Seine and the Jardin des Plants.

More details on the conference are available on the conference website, but I want to remind everyone that the deadline for submitting conference presentation proposals is Monday, March 31. Making a presentation at the conference is a great way to let the Sakai community know about what you’re doing with Sakai and the process takes just a couple of minutes.

I can’t wait to see everyone there…