Sakai 3 Screencast

I’ve been wanting to provide an easy way to demonstrate some of the features of Sakai 3 and, of course, a screencast is the obvious answer these days. My first Sakai 3 screencast features some of the Content Authoring capabilities that have been discussed. You can see the screencast on the new Sakai 3 information page on the Sakai Project website. There you’ll also find links to the Sakai 3 white paper and the wiki page for Sakai 3.

I hope to make a few more screencasts but feel free to make your own.  We’d be glad to feature them on the Sakai website.


Sakai Community Survey

Courtesy Ikhlasul Amal

CC Copyright by Ikhlasul Amal

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you know we are planning a Sakai Foundation board retreat in February. To help collect input from the community we’ve developed both individual and organizational surveys. These surveys focus on the types of contributions folks are making to Sakai and how we can improve both the amount and effectiveness of those contributions.  It is not a survey about what the product should do–it is a survey about how we are organized and how we work together.

We’ve tried to keep the surveys brief, but there are areas for open-ended responses so the time to complete the survey will vary somewhat. We estimate between 15 and 30 minutes. Probably slightly less for the individual survey. I hope you’ll take the time to fill one out.

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Sakai Teaching and Learning Award

Just a quick reminder that the application deadline for the Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award is February 27, 2009  (midnight GMT, in case you’re planning a last minute submission). Winners will be awarded a trip to Boston, Massachusetts, to present at the 10th Sakai Conference and receive their award during the conference. Entries will also seed a collection of innovative practices in the repository, a community of practice for teaching and learning with open/community-source tools.

The second annual Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award builds on the energy generated at the 9th International Sakai Conference in Paris, France, where last year’s first and second place winners, Dr. Aileen Y Huang-Saad from the University of Michigan and Mr. Salim Nakhjavani from University of Cape Town, South Africa, excited attendees with their examples of how Sakai enhanced the educational experience of their students. This year’s award is being sponsored by IBM with additional support from rSmart and Wiley Higher Education, all Sakai Commercial Affiliates.

Instructors or other interested parties can visit the award website to learn more about the award and access the application and evaluation rubric.

Sakai mention in University Business

A nice mention of Sakai in an article in University Business. Michael King, vice president of IBM Education Industry, wrote the article.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

….the education industry must offer (1) more open access to education for more students, regardless of their institution, the region they live in, or any other factor; (2) more open data and processes within and across institutions to improve quality and outcomes measurements; and (3) a more open culture of collaboration to foster reuse and sharing, to ultimately lower costs of operation and delivery within the industry. With all this openness, addressing security and privacy concerns will be critical. These changes can be enabled by more open technologies. Together, this new paradigm is referred to as “open education.”

Read the full article here.

Sakai Case Studies

If you haven’t seen them yet, the Sakai website has a nice set of case studies highlighting schools using Sakai.  These mostly highlight individual organizations that have adopted Sakai, although there is also a terrific piece on the Open Source Portfolio (OSP) as well. rSmart produced most of these, including a couple on schools that aren’t their customers, so a big thanks to them for sharing.

Check out the case studies now.

New computer & usability

Well, thanks to the swift action of Mary Miles, I have a new mac as of this morning. Now the slow process of restoring from backup (thankfully very recent!) and the re-installation of some software. I chose not to reinstall my applications directory since it will result in multiple versions of a variety of applications being installed. I can always restore individual apps later.

In any case, the process of updating from a backup has been a nice example in usability.  I starteded up the new Mac and, after asking me to confirm I wanted English as my default language (yes) and that I didn’t need the screen reader active during the setup process, it asked me if I wanted to move files from another computer/disk. I pointed it at my Time Machine backup and off I went. It’s as if they knew my computer had been stolen.

Sometimes “wizard” interfaces are irritating, of course, but this was just perfect. Wizards work, I think, for tasks you don’t do frequently. If I were going to get a new computer every day then I might get irritated at the series of questions. But, hopefully, this won’t be a frequent occurance and the hand holding was appreciated. I’m wondering as we think about site creation/setup in Sakai 3 how to balance the needs of the infrequent user with those of the expert user. I’m a fan of the “Don’t Ask Me This Again” checkbox…maybe that plays a role in these situations.

Now, onto the question of disk/file encryption.  File Vault? PGP Whole Disk Encryption? Other alternatives?

2009 & Computers

If you sent me an email in the last couple of weeks you may have gotten an auto-reply that my computer was in the shop for repairs. Well, I got it back on Tuesday night. All good.

Today I was scheduled to go to Amsterdam to work with Alan Berg on the forthcoming Sakai Book and to visit with the University of Amsterdam. My train was scheduled to leave from Gare du Nord in Paris at 18:25. I got to the station at about 17:45 and stopped at a snack bar for a sandwich. Finding my backpack a bit heavy, I set it down at my feet while I ate. Halfway through the sandwich I decided I should check the departure board and packed up the remaining half. I reached down to grab my backpack and….gone!

With my newly repaired (and recently backed-up) computer. And my passport. And my US mobile phone. And about $60. And charging cables for my computer and both mobile phones.

So…a new computer for me after all. And a chance to find out how you replace your passport quickly. Need to have it before I leave for the Sakai Board retreat.