Pirate Hoax

First, read Michael Feldstein’s post on the Pirate Hoax and the original article in the Chronicle.

Yes, it is important to show that Wikipedia can be a source of (deliberate) misinformation. And I like the learn-by-doing aspect of the method, actually. There are probably other ways to bring active, participatory, project-based learning to the topic. And I’d hate to see the same method applied to a civil rights class, for example.

I’m not sure it was the wrong thing to do because it was Wikipedia. Michael makes the point that doing the same exercise with a personal blog would be okay. And I buy that there is a distinction between a community space (including Wikipedia) and an individual space (a blog or facebook page identified with an individual).

But I’m still not sure that would make it okay for me. Deliberately duping people is the big problem for me, in addition to the Wikipedia policy violation (which makes it vandalism). “It’s for a good cause” rings hollow to me…for whom is it a good cause?

If you haven’t seen the “Reality Check” episode of This American Life it is worth watching. Here’s a little taste, courtesy of YouTube:


Sakai Board Election Results

I’m pleased to announce that John Norman (Cambridge) will be continuing as a Sakai Foundation Board member and Stephen Marquard (Cape Town) will be joining the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors.

This year’s slate of candidates was impressively accomplished and diverse–a real testament to the vibrancy of the Sakai community. I want to thank all of those who were willing to serve the Sakai community and in congratulating John and Stephen. The transition officially occurs with the first board meeting in 2009, currently scheduled for January 15th.

Thanks also to the election committee, Joseph Hardin, Mary Miles and especially Carl Jacobson, who again ran a smooth elections process.

Finally, special recognition is due to outgoing board members Chris Coppola and Mara Hancock. They have been instrumental to Sakai as both board and community members. I’ve benefited personally from their insight and advice and have always appreciated the approach that each of them took. I’m certain the rest of the board members feel the same way and will miss their regular presence on our monthly calls. So, Chris and Mara, on behalf of the foundation and the community: “Thank you.” We hope your community leadership will continue.

Happy holidays everyone!

Sakai 3: A proposal

Sakai 3 Screenshot

Sakai 3 Screenshot

As you may have heard, a number of contributors in the Sakai community have begun talking about, and even working on, something being called Sakai 3.  Sakai 3 would be a new version of Sakai representing significant change to the end-user experience and, likely, the underlying technology. The beginnings of this conversation go back to the Paris conference, at least, but have recently begun to take a more specific direction and garner some momentum. It is definitely time, therefore, for me to provide a substantive update about these activities. The group that has been working on this also has a desire for input on the vision and wants to invite participation in both the conversations and the work. And so I’ve pulled together a document with a proposal for Sakai 3.
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Mneme honored with MATC!

A second Sakai-related project has been honored with a prestigious Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC)!

Mneme is the Sakai-based assessment engine built by Foothill College (at the Etudes Consortium) and University of Michigan. Etudes is now independent of Foothill college and continues to enhance and maintain Mneme. This is terrific news. Please join me in congratulating everyone involved, but especially Vivie Sinou and Glenn Golden.

Also, you may remember a similar announcement from last week about the Appalachian Colleges Association. It’s especially gratifying to have two Sakai-related winners (amongst ten total) of the MATC.

You can read the full press release here.  For more information on Etudes and Mneme visit http://www.etudes.org/

ACA & LAMP win MATC Award

logo_lampYesterday, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced the winners of the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC).  The Appalachian College Association received an award for leadership of the LAMP consortium (Learning Asset Management Project) that, among other activities, provides Sakai for the ACA.

The Sakai support is provided by the Longsight group, a Sakai Commercial Affiliate, and CEATH (many of you know Martin Ramsey).

This is a significant and well-deserved honor. Please join me in congratulating everyone involved!


Martin Ramsey receiving MATC award

You can read the full press release from Lamp below and find Mellon press release here.  You’ll also notice that the Foothill College won an MATC award as well for its work on Mneme.  More on this later.
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University of Delaware Success

UDel logoIf you didn’t see the newsletter item about the use of Sakai at University of Delaware, you should check out the article it was based on from the UDaily, a website produced by the University’s communications and public relations department. I particularly liked this quote:

[Allen Prettyman, instructor in the University’s School of Nursing,] said that his students, enrolled in both his on-campus course and his distance learning course, have found Sakai@UD easy to use. “The clean, crisp standardized layout makes navigating in a Sakai course painless for students,” he said.

Picking out this quote may seem odd given the amount of effort and focus going into improving the Sakai UX. It is just good to remember that in our efforts to move forward we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And, while you’re at it, you should note that the University of Delaware’s Sakai Documentation won an Award of Excellence in the Printed Instructional Classroom Materials category in the annual Communications Awards competition sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Services’ (ACM SIGUCCS). You can see the full article here.

Hats off to the team at University of Delaware!