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Sakai SEPP Developers' Conference

The authors of this report attended the first Sakai Conference in Denver, Colorado 23-27th June, 2004. Other UK participants included Sarah Porter (JISC), John Norman (University of Cambridge) and Ian Dolphin (University of Hull). This meeting was also the inauguration of the Sakai Educational Partners' Programme, SEPP.

The SEPP includes resources for community development, training, shared best practice, and also early access to Sakai releases. The SEPP goals are:

The majority of the participants were already SEPP members. Over 175 people from 45 institutions attended tutorials, presentations, meetings, and BOF sessions. The enthusiasm for the Sakai project was leavened with some hard hitting technical questions and concerns for the future. The Sakai Board of Directors, led by Joseph Hardin, emphasised that SEPP has a vital role to play as we move into Sakai 2.0 development and beyond.

The current list of SEPP members includes:

Arizona State University
Boston University, School of Management
Brown University
Carlton College
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Carnegie Mellon University
Coast Community College District (Coastline Community College)
Columbia University
Community College of Southern Nevada
Cornell University
Dartmouth College
Foothill-De Anza Community College District
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Johns Hopkins University
Maricopa County Community College District
Nagoya University
New York University
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Ohio State University
Princeton University
Simon Fraser University
State University of New York
Tufts University
Universitat de Lleida
University of Arizona
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Merced
University of Cambridge (UK), CARET
University of Cape Town, SA
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Delaware
University of Hawaii
University of Hull (UK)
University of Oklahoma
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Yale University

The Denver conference included a number of important presentations from the Sakai Core Team as well as from SEPP members who had already begun to develop and port educational tools into the Sakai framework. We here focus on points raised in the core presentations. Most of the presentations shown are available on the SEPP Community portal site. A Syllabus article covering the conference is also available at: A Chronicle of Higher Education article covering the conference is available too: written by J.R. Young. A longer list of relevant articles, particularly concerning its use in education, is now available on the Sakai Web site.

The Sakai Tools Team had released three documents related to Sakai functionality. The first document covers Samigo (based on tools SAAM and Navigo) and its feature set: Marketing.doc

A second document covers general Sakai functionality: Fall04 mktg.doc

In addition, here is a link to the 15MB PowerPoint presentation that explains each gap in great detail as was promised at the SEPP Conference:

SEPP Requirements Group met at the SEPP conference with the BOF on content and authoring and later on its own. Some of the key areas that it identified include:

$\bullet$ Get more institutional input into the high-level build list (match institutions to tools) to contribute to the 3.0 product;
$\bullet$ Matchmaking to encourage ad hoc alliances to form around tool development and common areas of interest;
$\bullet$ Promote a common specification and development process;
$\bullet$ Provide links to the core teams and ease communication efforts;
$\bullet$ Provide a common repository for discussion group requirements and specification documents;
$\bullet$ Provide a gap analysis between what is currently in 1.0 and 2.0 and the stated partner requirements;
$\bullet$ Encourage partners to become more forthcoming with what they are doing via a suggestion area;
$\bullet$ Provide a process for requirements feedback for projects to encourage a broader understanding of common needs across institutions;
$\bullet$ Keep a running list of current projects, participants, and project information.

Some thoughts were shared during the conference regarding project management within ad hoc alliances:

$\bullet$ Mutual interest and timing (alignment) is critical;
$\bullet$ Create mini-projects using the SEPP process template;
$\bullet$ A project leader should be assigned from one of the participating departments who will be responsible for staff resources across institutions and management of project;
$\bullet$ Projects need to have visibility via Sakai forums.

We in the UK are recommending the formation of a Sakai Alliance which would work in this way and follow the SEPP guidelines.

Challenges identified:

$\bullet$ Maintaining openness and communication while keeping tasks on track;
$\bullet$ Ensuring visibility of projects and crediting their authors;
$\bullet$ Maintaining a process where people understand where and how they can participate (especially if projects are already underway).

The requirements group needed volunteers willing to put in some time and effort to creating the necessary matchmaking tools, compiling the build list, and performing a gap analysis.

SEPP Development Group. On Wednesday, Mark Norton gave an overview of the Sakai architecture and how to write tools using the Sakai framework and Tools Portability Profile (TPP).

The primary contributions to the Sakai tools project include the following.

Secondary contributions were deemed to be no less valuable and in the longer run may be more valuable to the Sakai user communities.

The second evening of the conference comprised of an ``All Hands'' style demonstration session exhibiting the range of tools which are now being ported to Sakai by the SEPP members. This list was impressive:

Tufts VUE
Virginia Fedora
Rsmart OSPI
Wisconsin Virtual Dig
Wisconsin Lesson Builder
Northwestern Annotation tool
Indiana Sakai Assessment Manager
University of Toronto TILE and Atutor
Northwestern Project Pad
University of Michigan Sakai
Indiana weBWorK
Knowledge Media Laboratory KEEP
Tufts TUSK
Harvard iSites and Videotool
UC Davis/ Princeton Image Management System
SUNY Learning Environments
OKI OSIDs Digital Repository

Our questions to the developers and SEPP members included:

next up previous contents
Next: Role of Portals in Up: SAKAI EVALUATION EXERCISE (A Previous: Portals and Portlets 2003   Contents
Rob Allan 2005-05-09