What's Sakai?

Posted by Miro | 3:26 PM | | 0 comments »

The Sakai CLE is a free and open source Courseware Management System. It features a set of software tools designed to help instructors, researchers and students collaborate online in support of their work--whether it be course instruction, research or general project collaboration.

For coursework, Sakai provides features to supplement and enhance teaching and learning. For collaboration, Sakai has tools to help organize communication and collaborative work on campus and around the world. Using a web browser, users choose from Sakai's tools to create a site that meets their needs. To use Sakai, no knowledge of HTML is necessary.

But the product vision reaches beyond teaching and learning applications. Many Sakai deployments include as many or more project and research collaboration sites. In addition, the Open Source Portfolio e-Portfolio system is a core part of the Sakai software. Finally, the Sakaibrary project links library resources to Sakai. You can try Sakai for yourself by downloading and installing the demonstration .

Sakai is Open Source
Sakai is distributed as free and open source software under the Educational Community License. Access to this code is extremely valuable to those who want to customize their on-campus instance or wish to develop innovative new tools. But open source code is important to the entire Sakai community. The ability to make that one change to the code for your campus can be crucially important and that change can be added to the Sakai code base, removing the need for customization as you upgrade. And the source code serves as the ultimate insurance policy, ensuring that you aren’t locked into a single vendor.

The Sakai Project began in 2004 when Stanford, Michigan, Indiana, MIT and Berkeley began building a common Courseware Management System rather than continuing their homegrown systems or licensing software from a commercial vendor. The Mellon Foundation provided initial funding for the project.

These universities recognized that research collaboration would be as important as teaching applications and developed a Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) that scales across many kinds of academic uses.

Today, the Sakai CLE is the enterprise system of choice at over 100 institutions, in production settings ranging from 200 to 200,000 users. The Sakai CLE is open source software that is freely available to everyone.

The Sakai Community
The Sakai community draws on the contributions of many organizations and individuals around the world. The Sakai community is responsible for all aspects of evolving the Sakai CLE. No one is closer to the needs of users than the teams designing and developing Sakai. The Sakai CLE is truly designed by higher education, for higher education. Members of the Sakai community believe this community-driven development model will inevitably lead to the best product for use on campus. Whether large or small, institutions may also opt to work with Sakai commercial partners which offer hosting, development and support options.

The Sakai Foundation
The Sakai Foundation is a member supported non-profit corporation with a small staff and modest budget. While membership in the Foundation is optional, over 100 organizations around the world support the foundation so that it can continue its important community activities. These include managing the intellectual property of Sakai, organizing conferences and planning meetings, maintaining the Sakai technology infrastructure including the bug tracking system and project wiki, coordinating development activities and quality assurance, publishing the Sakai CLE releases and functioning as a public advocate for Sakai.