AuSakai 09

AuSakai 09 Logo

AuSakai 09 Logo

I just returned from a great week in Australia, primarily for AuSakai 09. I also had meetings with many groups at Charles Sturt University (where the conference was held) and visited University of New England in Armidale.

Clay Fenlason and I arrived early Monday morning on the same flight from SFO and took the short flight to Bathurst, where Charles Sturt has one of its campuses. Monday was spent recovering from the trip and going out to dinner with Ian Boston and Matt Morton-Allen. On Tuesday Clay and I had a series of meetings with groups at CSU. Charles Sturt has just taken an official decision to provide resources for Sakai 3 development. This is great news for everyone, including CSU. They are currently running 2.4.x and have several substantial local customizations. This makes upgrading more difficult, a fact that they have recognized. By engaging early in Sakai 3 development, they should be able to ensure that their requirements are met by the base version of Sakai 3 and, therefore, reduce their customization costs.

On Wednesday two pre-conference workshops were held. Ian Boston led an overflow session on developing for Sakai 3. Philip Uys and Janet Buchan of CSU held a session on change management. I wasn’t able to attend either of these as Matt Morton-Allen and I were giving Sakai 3 briefings to a number of CSU groups. I’m told both were very interesting and successful and Ian has posted some code samples from the workshop on the Sakai wiki (see attachment Bathurst work on the K2 documentation page).

Thursday and Friday were the main conference (see the full conference program) and attendance was very strong. There were representatives from CSU, Melbourne, Australian National University, Macquarie University (James Dalziel of LAMS), the North Sydney Institute, NetSpot, Sferyx and The Learning Edge. Not to mention the Sakai Foundation, Cambridge University and University of Michigan (Peter Knoop). It was a great program and I think Clay and Ian’s keynotes were real highlights. I know CSU is working on making all the slides available. In the meantime, here are the slides from my keynote.

The group dinner on Thursday at The Vanilla Bean was excellent. You can get a wine-making degree at CSU and the dinner was appropriately supplemented by some very good Charles Sturt wine. Before the dinner we visited the famous Mount Panorama racetrack and the National Racing Museum. I’m not a racing fan (at all) but the brief visit was fascinating. The circuit (a public road when races aren’t occuring)  is extremely steep (174 meters from lowest to highest point with up to 16% grades) and has a number of extremely intense curves. The track record is 2 minutes and 6 seconds for the 6.13 km circuit. It’s hard to imagine driving it at that speed and easy to see why there have been a number of fatalities during the races (15 in total over the years). While I wouldn’t plan a family vacation just to visit the track, I highly recommend it if your happen to be in the area.

A big thanks to the conference organizers, especially Matt Morton-Allen, Philip Uys, Marian Tulloch, Kate Rose and Lorraine Stephens. The organization of the conference was exemplary. And a “thanks in advance” to the NSW North Sydney Institute who has agreed to host next year’s event–I, for one, can’t wait!

Next post will cover my visit to UNE….

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