Virginia Tech Sakai Conference

All I can really say is “Wow, what a great conference”. It’s Wednesday morning and I’m watching Aileen Y Huang-Saad, winner of the 2008 Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award, give a presentation on her use of Sakai in the classroom. It’s great so far and I’m sure, after watching her presentation in Paris, that it will continue to deliver. But this post isn’t about her talk or even the award (although we did announce the 2009 Award, with thanks to rSmart and IBM as sponsors).

The thing that’s been great about this conference is that it is totally focused on using Sakai, mostly in teaching and learning (including a great thread on portfolios) but also touching on project collaboration use cases. Based on an informal show of hands, about half of the over 130 attendees have never attended a Sakai Conference before. About 2/3 are either faculty or directly support Sakai users at their organization. The focused energy and sharing of expertise is really energizing.

There are also a number of “tire kickers,” mostly from universities in the Eastern half of the US. This conference is a terrific advertisement for Sakai because it features actual users talking about what they can accomplish with Sakai. No amount of describing the technology or the community or even the vision can equal a faculty member getting up in front of a room and saying “I love how this tool helps me and my students”.

I’d *love* to have a few more core developers here, not only because seeing the innovative uses of Sakai is useful when thinking about building new capabilities (or fixing issues), but also because it is fantastic to see how much people appreciate the work that’s been done. These folks love Sakai and it is a great reminder of why we do what we do.

Virginia Tech has excellent facilities and have been excellent hosts and I want to give a special thanks to John Moore and Eddie Watson who served as conference chairs. For those of you who couldn’t be here, the conference presentations are being uploaded to the conference wiki page.

I can say without hesitation that we should have these regional, user-focused conferences on a regular basis. Given that this one was in Virginia and that next summer’s international community conference is in Boston, a Western US location would be ideal. Any volunteers for another US meeting next year at about this time?

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2 Responses

  1. […] Korcuska While Virginia Tech has been using Sakai for quite awhile and even hosted a (fantastic!) regional Sakai event last year, they recently made an official announcement that Scholar (their local name for Sakai) will fully […]

  2. […] Korcuska While Virginia Tech has been using Sakai for quite awhile and even hosted a (fantastic!) regional Sakai event last year, they recently made an official announcement that Scholar (their local name for Sakai) will fully […]

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