Sakai 3 Development Process

These are my notes from the webinar on the Sakai 3 development process by Michael Korcuska about Sakai 3 Participation. This is about the changes coming for Sakai and what needs to be done in the community right now to move development forward. This is a very different approach to an LMS, with the idea of breaking things out of courses into broader workflows. This is liveblogged, so please excuse any typos or awkward wording. My notes and side comments are in italics. A recording of one of the earlier sessions of this webinar is available.

Why Build Sakai 3?

Changing expectations: Web 2.0
Success of projects sites = more than just courses

New technologies

  • More things can do the things Sakai had to do itself a few years ago–broader open source community
  • JCT, Open Social (What are these?)
  • Javascript/AJAX–client-side programming


  • Increased satisfaction, flexibility for site owners
  • Stability, scalability
  • Fewer local customizations b/c more existing use cases
  • Simpler development environment

Sakai 3 Themes

  • Content Authoring
  • Content Tagging & Management
  • Academic Networking
  • Breaking the Site Boundary
  • Academic Workflows, not just Tools
  • Sakai, Thick or Thin (apply a little or a lot of Sakai)
  • The unSakai (bringing Sakai data to users wherever they are)

Content Authoring

Make page creation easier, more like a wiki but w/o markup
WYSIWYG editing for page creation
Template based authoring
Interactive widgets within the content

Tagging & Management

Everything is content–it should all be taggable, searchable, linkable, portable. Very different from the traditional LMS

Unified content repository–content not tied to a site

Sakai is not a full Content Management System (i.e., it’s not Drupal) but some simple content management is possible

In Sakai 2, if users want to find things they created, they have to remember which site they created it in.
In Sakai 3, everything goes into the same pool and is tagged. Can be tagged by the system, organization, or user. Lots of metadata. Find content through Search or Smart Folders w/filters that aggregate specific content.

Academic Networking

Social networks now are either about content (flickr, delicious) or people (Facebook, LinkedIn). (Apparently content networks shun capital letters)

Academic networking: friends isn’t enough
Content and activity-based–reading the same articles, taking the same classes

Breaking the Site Boundary

Everything in Sakai 2 is divided by sites. If you want groups, they can’t cross sites.

Sakai 3: Groups & Sites can be managed separately
You can be a member of a group and you can have access to a site. A group may have access to many sites
Some support for hierarchy I’m not sure quite how that works

Academic Workflows, not Tool Silos

Example: Instructor creates a syllabus that includes an assignment to create a discussion post that will be graded. 4 tools right now

Imagine a syllabus with week-by-week plan with links to forum. Someone commented that this looks a lot like Open Syllabus, but they want this to be easier than that.

When a student sees the syllabus, link directly to the forum. When it’s been graded, the syllabus shows a checkmark.

I wonder if this would replace our current activity checklists. Would it be able to copy from a master course to copies?

Sakai 3 Demo
Demo is still rough and not stable right now

Dashboard has widgets sort of like iGoogle–like an animated clock. I see possibilities for the Dashboard to be a lot more useful than it currently is

Creating a new page. URLs are not so crazy–like a blog post with normal text


Technical difficulties–Connect/Firefox/Sakai Demo aren’t playing nicely

Participating in Sakai 3

Four ways to help

  • Join
  • Create
  • Document
  • Donate

They have a high-level plan with defined milestones
What features/functions are available depend on involvement in the community

2.6 coming out now
2.7 about a year from now
3 previews now
Full Sakai 3 in 2011
Hybrid mode in 2011

Project Milestones Spreadsheet

Milestone 1: simple project sites & basic networking
Milestone 2: Full Sakai functionality but not all native Sakai 3 (hybrid)
Milestone 3: Full functional replacement for Sakai 2.x, data migration tools

Join an Existing Project

  • K2 The kernel for Sakai 3
  • 3akai: UX (say thruh-kai)
  • Group Management: collecting requirements now
  • Library Integration: requirements discussion happening now

Create a New Project

I don’t think this is something we would do–too technical for our team

Lots of projects needed for different areas of functionality


They want it to be requirements-driven, but that means they need people to document their use cases and needs

Documentation can be institutional or individual


Starting a fund for Sakai 3

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