Planet Sakai

February 13, 2019

Dr. Chuck

What Should I do After I Finish the Python for Everybody Specialization?

I got this message from a student:
I am currently a student in your Python for Everybody online Coursera specialization, and am about to complete the Capstone course. I would like to move my career into App Development / Software Engineering management, what is the next course that you would recommend that I take?
Here is my answer.

Congratulations on making it through the specialization. In terms of what to do next – a lot has to do with how confident you feel at this point. If you are still struggling with the programs in the specialization – then you might want to go back and take another “beginner class” – there are levels of beginner classes and you might benefit from one that is more rigorous like this one from UMich:

If you are confident in your programming skills, it depends on what you want to do. If building web apps is something you find interesting, these specializations will move you in that direction:

If you want to go into Data Mining – we have a specialization for that too:

You should have your programming skills well in place before you take the data science specialization – but it has a lot of good stuff and important job-ready skills.

by Charles Severance at February 13, 2019 01:51 AM

February 12, 2019

Apereo Foundation

Survey: 2019 North-American Opencast Workshop

Survey: 2019 North-American Opencast Workshop

The aim of this survey is to find out if there is interest in a North American Opencast workshop.

by Michelle Hall at February 12, 2019 09:30 PM

Webinar: Unicon Open Source Support Briefing for openEQUELLA

Webinar: Unicon Open Source Support Briefing for openEQUELLA

Mark your calendars for the next Unicon openEQUELLA briefing webinar on Thursday, April 11, 2019.

by Michelle Hall at February 12, 2019 09:27 PM


Peer Assessment – Reflect and Improve

Been bowling lately? Did you ever find yourself staring up at the pin count and wonder – “Wow I’m doing better than so and so – nice!”, or perhaps it was more like “Yep, right at the bottom as usual.” Did you ever catch yourself watching how those who had higher scores were bowling? Did you ever try and imitate them, or modify your process (even if it was the ‘granny bowl’ method) to see if you could improve your results? In a way the scoreboard lets you see how others are doing and through conversation with them you might just improve your game. Why can’t we do something similar in courses through peer review?

40882864921_560c834013_k.jpgScoreboard at a bowling alley.

Peer assessment is a great way to be evaluated – partly because it involves feedback and exchange from those who know you and the work you’re doing.  In much the same way peer assessment or review can be a good way for students to engage with other students and help them up their game and think more critically about content or subject at hand.

When peers review each others’ writing for example, they can easily see and point out mistakes that are tougher for the original author to see or recognize. Review of other student’s content also helps students see how their writing and handling of a topic differs – perhaps it’s better or perhaps it’s worse.  Peer review also involves students cognitive thinking, by asking them to look for concepts and think about them critically, in much the same way academics do with their peers. If this is further aided with specific questions or sets of check lists it can improve student’s products even more. Moore says you should also make sure you spend time with students on the substance of their feedback; explore questions like (Moore, FacultyFocus 2016):

  • How can I leave feedback for someone who is a better writer than me?
  • What if I’m not sure how to answer their questions?
  • What if I don’t know what to say?

But what could be peer reviewed? There’s a whole bunch of things – but the easiest thing that comes to mind is a paper or short piece of writing. Perhaps this is part of a scaffolding task – one done as instructive, not as something that will receive a grade – this goes along with what Gonzalez says in sharing the concept of “feed forward“. We have to remember that part of learning is about not getting it right the first time, learning is iterative and organic. If you want to learn more about leveraging feedback take a look at Hirsch’s book called The Feedback Fix, available on Amazon for under $20.

So how do you do this in a course site? I thought you’d never ask (no really, please ask)! The following video (while long) takes you through the whole process of:

  1. creating an assignment that will be reviewed by peers
  2. having multiple students submit to the assignment
  3. having multiple students review submissions by other students
  4. assessing/grading submissions by all students by the instructor
  5. viewing peer review results and instructor comments by students

You can implement this right your course site. You can follow the video or you can follow these well-laid out directions. And if you were wondering if this is new, it is – as of 2013 or so, so don’t feel bad about starting to use peer review in your course.

If you need more assistance on peer review, just ask this guy.


by Dave E. at February 12, 2019 04:17 PM

Michael Feldstein

Insight into Community College Students and Challenges of Online Education

Inside Higher Ed reported today on a new survey report on community colleges and challenges that students face.

Most community colleges are aware of the challenges students face if they are working, raising children or struggling to afford textbooks. But a newly released survey digs into the nuances of those challenges so colleges can pinpoint ways to lift barriers to college completion and prevent students from dropping out.

Researchers at North Carolina State University designed and encouraged students to participate in the Revealing Institutional Strengths and Challenges survey. The survey found that working and paying for expenses were the top two challenges community college students said impeded their academic success. The researchers surveyed nearly 6,000 two-year college students from 10 community colleges in California, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming in fall 2017 and 2018.

Of the top ten challenges listed, the category of online classes was tied for fourth along with parking in an ironic twist as lack of physical facilities is one of the drivers for the growth in online education. Interestingly for parking, it is not the costs. 86% of those listing parking stated it was "difficulty finding parking on or near campus" and only 10% listed parking as too expensive.

Top Ten challenges for community college students

The value of this survey, as described at IHE in interviews with the report authors, is in the nuance that can guide institutional planning.

[Report authors] Umbach and Steve Porter, also a professor of higher education at the university, said they noticed a dearth of surveys that asked students about the barriers they face to completing college and wanted to provide a tool that colleges could use to eliminate those barriers and boost graduation rates.

On the topic of online education as a barrier, one view of the results could be that only one out of five students have a problem with these classes, which is not problematic as we have long known that online is not for everyone. On the other hand, the nuance provided should give institutions some insight into how they can improve their services to students.

Reasons for online classes as a challenge

The big issue that I've seen in the field is not whether a school should offer online classes - in so many cases this is the only way for students to have access to degrees - but how well-designed the courses are and how much support is provided outside of the course. Throwing courses online with no real interaction or adequate support is a recipe for disaster here, as I described in one case last year. But the school in that example is not alone in this regard. In the many cases where community colleges make these mistakes, students should have difficulty learning and the 21% number should be problematic.

But on the opposite side, when colleges focus on improving course design and extend meaningful support services, student outcomes improve dramatically. Consider the California Community College system and their improved outcomes, where their most recent distance education report shows system-wide closing of the achievement gap between face-to-face and online students. Online education can work for community college students and is an important part of student access, but there are no silver bullets.

I was quoted in the article about these challenges.

Hill said the California Community College System's Online Education Initiative, which he worked on as a consultant, is a good example of a well-designed online learning system. It helped close the gap between the rate of students successfully completing traditional courses and online classes from 17 percent in 2006 to 4 percent in 2016.

To be clear, the California Community College System in general has been improving their provision and support of online courses for years, and OEI is not the only driver of this change.

CCCS improvements in gap of online ed

I don't think the California Community College System is the only example of improvements in online education support, but I do think their focus on improving course design as well as improving advising and support structures is worth considering.

The problem of 'difficulty learning material on my own'  and 'difficulty keeping up' issues can only partially be addressed - online education is not for everyone - but more engaging and well-designed online courses can help, or at least reduce barriers. The mixing of synchronous elements of a course along with asynchronous can also play an important role.

'Lack of interaction with faculty', 'lack of interaction with other students', and 'difficulty using course technology', however, are issues that should be addressed by the institution as part of the course design and support services. It would be naive to think that these issues could be eliminated, but there is no excuse for schools to not have a coordinated effort to make improvements across all online courses.

Online education can work, and community colleges can improve outcomes by addressing the challenges students face.

While this post focuses on the online education angle, the whole report is worth reading. The insights into issues outside the classroom, particularly for students trying to balance work and family commitments with their education, should provide valuable input into institutional- and system-level planning.

The post Insight into Community College Students and Challenges of Online Education appeared first on e-Literate.

by Phil Hill at February 12, 2019 03:34 PM

Dr. Chuck

Abstract – Building LTI Advantage Tools for Blackboard using the Tsugi Application Environment

This presentation will introduce users to the free and open source Learning Application development environment available at Blackboard supports the IMS Advantage suite of specifications including LTI 1.3.  Tsugi to allow external tools to be easily integrated into Blackboard using either LTI 1.1 or LTI 1.3 to increase the richness and diversity of the course experience.   External tools can provide functionality not present in Learn like a social grading system, or a YouTube viewer with analytics.   External tools can also build very rich auto-graders that make online classes bother more interesting and more effective.  Imagine if you could easily develop an interactive system like Pearson’s MyMathLab for *your* course and field.  Tsugi provides a set of libraries that allow you to write learning applications without any need to read an LMS integration standards document.  Tsugi’s run-time environment takes care of complying with the necessary standards to make plugging Tsugi tools into Learn, edX, Coursera, or any other LMS.  Tsugi also provides a hosting environment that is as easy to deploy as WordPress and allows institutions to host tools and provide an “App Store” of available tools to their users.  There is also a free cloud-based Tsugi App Store that provides scalable hosting for open source Tsugi applications at  It is easy to learn to write Tsugi applications using the online materials at

by Charles Severance at February 12, 2019 02:55 AM

February 10, 2019

Dr. Chuck

Sakai Passes LTI Advantage Certification

Sakai 19 has officially passed the IMS Global LTI Advantage certification suite along with Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle.  The standards have not yet been released to the public but as part of the process to validate the certification suite itself – IMS Contributing Members help with the testing of the suite before its formal release to insure a smooth release once certification is completed.

Having nearly every major LMS passing the certification for LTI Advantage before it is done is unprecedented and gives a hint of the big things to come with LTI Advantage.  It is the most important standard in educational technology since IMS LTI 1.0 was released in May of 2010.

I think that most everyone who has been around long enough to know and been part of standards development for the past 15 years would agree that without Sakai the market would never have created IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (started in 2004 by Sakai) and IMS Common Cartridge (started in 2005 by Sakai).  Being 100% open source and with an open community, Sakai has always put the best interests of teachers, learners, LMS administrators, and those who want to improve the educational technology ecosystem above our own market-share success.

Building an enterprise-grade open source LMS (read the book)  was a challenging effort but it gave the Sakai community and its adopters far greater influence in the marketplace than the typical university that took the easy way out and installed proprietary commercial products like Blackboard, Angel or WebCT (back in the day).  Moodle has been open source since 2004, but not actively involved contributing to the development of interoperability standards until recently.

The Sakai community was willing to invest in the greater good of interoperability and use our small (6%) market presence to gain attention for the standards that we knew would transform the market far more than the software that we were building.

When LTI 1.0 was released in May of 2010, the only major LMS that truly supported LTI was Sakai.  I had written LTI 1.0 code and contributed it to the OLAT, ATutor and Moodle open source projects to help build momentum but none of the major players provided support for IMS LTI 1.0 until Desire2Learn announced it in their 8.4.7 release at Educause in the Fall of 2010.   Blackboard announced  support in the first quarter of 2011.

The key point to all this is that back in the old days (i.e. 2010) when the LTI standard came out it was over a year before the major LMS vendors came on board and it took a lot of travel, begging and encouraging.  I even made a promise of a tattoo of their logo on my shoulder to get the vendors attention.

Now with LTI advantage, we not only have bundled four standards together:

  • LTI Core Launch
  • LTI Deep Linking
  • LTI Names and Roles
  • LTI Assignments and Grades

Four of the five of the leading LMS vendors *already* are certified for all four standards.  Believe me, this changes everything – just wait and see.

This would not have been possible without tremendous effort and cooperation between the LMS vendors and tool providers for over 18 months.   The following folks have been in weekly meetings and on Slack nearly continuously to bring this very complex suite of standards to life.

We (and I) owe these organizations and their staff a great deal of appreciation for this wonderful new suite of standards: Cengage (Chair), Canvas (co-chair), Blackboard, Moodle, Unicon, VitalSource,  the IMS Staff, LearningObjects, TurnitIn, McGraw-Hill, Houghton-Mifflen-Harcourt, and Desire2Learn.  LTI Advantage was so significant that Microsoft and Google brought engineers to the meetings.  They were somewhat limited in how much they could dive in and show source code and help others debug their code – but they provided a valuable contribution by carefully architecting and reviewing the security protocols that underpin LTI Advantage.

As I worked on adding LTI Advantage to Sakai and Tsugi I had the luxury of being surrounded by so much talent from these organizations.   I got a lot of help in the PHP version of LTI Advantage in Tsugi from Martin Lennord of Turnitin and I got a lot of help from Eric Preston of Blackboard and Paul Gray of LearningObjects who helped me when the going got rough in Java.  They were always there when I got stuck to help me get unstuck – whether in a meeting or on Slack.  I also owe a big debt to Derek Haskins of IMS who helped me work through certification issues at the last minute – we both found a few small issues in each other’s code.

All in all, being part of such a talented team of engineers from so many organizations was one of the most collaborative engineering projects I have ever experienced.

And the most important point of all is that this is just the beginning.  Just the first release.  The first release is always the most difficult.   In terms of building new standards – we have been holding our collective breath for about two years and putting any good idea that someone came up with in the “parking lot”.

This group of talented people and dedicated organizations, can now start to prioritize all those ideas.  You should expect that the next two years will be very productive as LTI Advantage expands further.

by Charles Severance at February 10, 2019 01:27 AM

February 08, 2019

Adam Marshall

Copyright and Audio-Visual Material

I thought this copyright guidance from LearningOnScreen (The British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council) may be of interest to some.

by Adam Marshall at February 08, 2019 04:42 PM

February 06, 2019

Apereo Foundation

Michael Feldstein

Is Microsoft or Google your next LMS? The view from BETT

The following is a guest post from Jason Cole, a longtime colleague and freelance consultant who recently moved back to London. Previously, Jason was Vice Chancellor for IT at the Peralta Community College District, and before that was CEO and Board Chair at Remote-Learner. [ed]

I recently spent a day at BETT (formerly known as the British Educational Training and Technology show), the UK’s largest educational technology show. The show tends to skew towards the primary and further education market (k-12 and community college in the US), but there is also significant higher education presence. If you are looking for a US equivalent, its more akin to ISTE than EDUCAUSE.

For those who haven’t been to BETT, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are over 34,000 attendees and 900 exhibitors from 138 countries. The massive show floor hosts everyone from national trade organizations from Denmark, Spain, UAE and Egypt to little ed tech startups that will probably evaporate in a few years.

Everything is in one giant exhibition hall, with auditoriums scattered amongst the vendor booths. You can hear the noise of the conference space everywhere, even in the main event auditorium.

For all of the activity, what was noticeable was the absence of the major LMS vendors besides Instructure Canvas. The company sponsored talks and roundtable lunches, but it didn’t have a traditional marketing booth. Their presence and sponsorship, however, meant they were the only LMS vendor anyone was talking about. D2L, Moodle, the UK Moodle partners, and Blackboard had no discernible presence. WebAnywhere is now focused on the SchoolJotter product and corporate Totara market. Synergy had small table in the back with one small Moodle Partner badge. Why - is BETT just a bad bet for lead generation and branding for the LMS providers? The large schools presence may mean less traffic for the higher ed (HE) focused LMS providers. But there are HE attendees, and Moodle had a strong schools presence. Some might argue the limitations of GDPR make lead generation difficult in European shows, but the presence of 900 exhibitors seems to imply there is some return on investment.

On the other side of the spectrum, Google and Microsoft had large crowds in their large multi-plot booths. Each company had case study talks by users, how-to’s for teachers, and partner ecosystem mini-booths. Most of the hands-on presentations by these two tech giants were near capacity when I checked in throughout the day, as were most of the case study discussions.

Every presentation in the Microsoft booth had real-time captioning displayed directly above the slides, and every presentation had real-time translation into multiple languages. Microsoft is obviously confident in both services, and from what I could see these services were remarkably accurate.

It may have been the (AI-recommended) Microsoft Kool-aid1, but it appears Google and Microsoft are edging their way into the LMS space. Their presence at a K-12 focused show suggests they are finding traction at the younger grades. But as their education offerings grow in sophistication, and their ecosystem advantages start to accelerate, I believe a more concerted push in the higher ed space is inevitable.

When Microsoft makes their push, the learning system won’t look like an LMS, but it will look like Teams. Teams is Microsoft’s central communication application for business, rolling in Skype and other business lines. There is an education version for teachers. Students with courses in Teams access their materials, communicate with the instructor and each other, and collaborate using Office and other tools online.

View of Microsoft Teams demo

The early indicator of Microsoft’s intent is their recently released Assignments for Teams for Education. Assignments gives teachers an easy to use tool to create either quizzes (using Forms) or submissions (using the Office suite). The student work can be graded using either a straight score or a rubric. Students see the results in their Teams, and teachers can download the grades for all the Assignments to Excel. It’s an interesting feature that signals a definite intent from Microsoft to meet the needs of teachers in the education version.

Teams is not ready to replace or compete with the LMS yet, but it isn’t terribly far away. The Teams interface for classrooms needs some reorganization, it needs a centralized grade book that isn’t reliant on export to Excel, and it needs a slightly better authoring experience to combine the features together in learning modules. Teams and Sharepoint would also need a clear content strategy enable integration with publisher tools and content. But none of these challenges are impossible, and some Microsoft partners already have pieces of the solution.

The ecosystem around Teams and Office will give Microsoft an increasingly interesting story. Microsoft is rapidly integrating service platforms for email, calendar, business logic, business intelligence, AI, device management, and cloud services into the Teams platform. There is enormous potential for educational organizations to leverage these capabilities to deliver a unified student experience. The “learning management” features move into the background, while students interact with a single application and message flow.

While the potential is there, there are a few hurdles on the way. Moving into the learning and teaching side of the HE market requires a different channel strategy than the current focus on the productivity and infrastructure side of the house. Microsoft relies on a combination of direct account management and partner sales in a complex selling process. The Microsoft partners who would need to engage in the sales process and own customer relationship tend not to have academic sales experience, nor do they have the brand recognition of Canvas, Moodle, D2L and Blackboard among faculty. Given the sales costs and margins, a higher education focused Microsoft partner would have difficulty achieving scale. I would watch for more bottoms up adoption, pressure from students coming to HE from Google and Microsoft schools, and adoption outside of the traditional HE context as early indicators of a market shift.

Other observations:

  • By sheer number of vendors, apparently every school in the EU is going to have a robotics lab and a maker space in the next few years. Lots of Arduino, 3D printers, and so… many… robots.
  • A few VR and AR vendors were making a splash (and inducing large scale motion sickness) with headsets and learning simulations.
  • Newton Rooms, modular, pre-packaged hands on science learning rooms, designed in Norway are one of my new favourite things.
  1. Somehow an AI tied to a screen with a camera judged my reactions to three pictures, and estimated my age and gender and then labelled me an “Empowerer”. It’s recommendation was a rather refreshing apple cucumber drink with Spirulina distributed for free by two attendants. I have no idea why empowerers need cucumber, nor was there any falsifiable alternatives to getting a different flavour. Would the Innovator beverage make me more creative? Ah, the joys of inscrutable machine logic!

The post Is Microsoft or Google your next LMS? The view from BETT appeared first on e-Literate.

by Jason Cole at February 06, 2019 08:08 PM

February 05, 2019

Michael Feldstein

State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: 2018 Year-End Edition

This is the eleventh year I have shared the LMS market share graphic, commonly known as the squid graphic, for US and Canadian higher education. This past year we at e-Literate shifted our LMS Market Analysis reports from Spring / Fall to Mid-Year / End-of-Year to better allow analysis of entire years. With the release of our end-of-2018 report last week to subscribers, it's time for us to look at updates on the institutional LMS market for North America (US and Canada) higher education. Note that our coverage for the market analysis includes Europe, Latin America, Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and surrounding island countries) as well as emerging coverage of the Middle East.

We present the following data "by institutions", with market share as a percentage of the total number of institutions using each LMS as a primary system, and "by enrollments", where we scale the institutions by its total enrollment. The latter better captures the business of the LMS market, since most licensing deals are based the number of students.

But first, let's look at an updated LMS market share graphic, commonly known as the squid graphic, for US and Canadian higher education. The original idea remains – to give a picture of the LMS market in one page, highlighting the story of the market over time. The key to the graphic is that the width of each band represents the percentage of institutions using a particular LMS as its primary system.

Higher ed LMS market share for US and Canada, January 2019

This year there are two inter-related trends that deserve a broader explanation -the LMS market slowed down with less activity overall, and Canvas and Blackboard continue to be neck-and-neck in the top spot of this market.

We recently described the overall market activity slowdown in that there are fewer LMS formal evaluations taking place since mid 2018, with initial data pointing to a 20 - 25% drop from a year earlier. This slowdown seems to be a type of plateau rather than a continuing trend, and we are watching to see if it is temporary or not.

Last summer we shared the symbolic passing of the torch where Canvas surpassed Blackboard in US market share, which was the first time Blackboard was not the top system since the market emerged two decades ago. What is interesting is that half a year later, the two systems are still neck-and-neck. In the US Canvas is still slightly ahead, and in North America (adding in Canada), Blackboard remains in the top spot by 0.4% (26.8% to 26.4%). Why is Canvas not continuing to extend its lead? Looking at the underlying data, there seems to be three reasons to consider:

  • The overall market slowdown means that there are fewer deals for Canvas to win lately.
  • Blackboard continues its University of Phoenix implementation, which still includes dozens of campuses despite its enrollment drop.
  • The shutdown in December of the for-profit Education Corporation of America (Virginia College and Brightwood College systems) meant that Canvas lost several dozen campuses.

The latter two points should fully play out in the next three months, possibly making this a one-time change in trends, but it is important to call this situation out.

Some other notes:

  • The market continues to consolidate around the Big Four - Blackboard, Canvas, D2L Brightspace, and Moodle.
  • The Homegrown option for LMS usage is going away, at least in a statistical sense. Only a handful of schools even consider this option.
  • D2L shares the challenge of having picked up several large for-profit systems that are closing campuses and therefore hurting market share. In D2L's case, the biggest one is the former EDMC schools - the Art Institutes, Argosy University, and South University - that were sold out of bankruptcy to a non-profit entity and have closed dozens of campuses over the past year. These losses offset many of D2L's wins in 2018.
  • Moodle had a few new wins in North America.

Sticking with North America, we can also show LMS market share scaled by the enrollment of each institution, giving a different measure worth considering.

NA LMS Market Share by Enrollment

We'll share more information on other global regions in the coming months.

The post State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: 2018 Year-End Edition appeared first on e-Literate.

by Phil Hill at February 05, 2019 12:00 PM

January 28, 2019

Adam Marshall

Free Accessibility Tool


I thought I’d pass along the following message from JISC.

It is important to ensure that the visual content of your website and learning resources has alternative text for those who either cannot see the visual content or struggle to make sense of its interpretation.

However, how do you know what is an appropriate description? And some visual content is merely eye candy and is best hidden entirely from screenreader users rather than wasting their time announcing something that is meaningless to the learning experience.

Making this different choices requires a certain degree of understanding but the good news is that there are some excellent free training resources out there. A recent quote from a Vision Australia newsletter reminded me of the Poet training Tool (which I’ve used  – and it has nothing to do with poetry!).

Vision Australia’s partner, Benetech has provided an initiative called Poet Training Tool which provides best practice guidelines and exercises that will help you grow your skills in writing effective image descriptions benefiting everyone who needs to access your digital documents, web pages and mobile apps.

This free resource is broken up into 3 helpful sections:

  1. Helps you determine when a description is actually needed.
  2. Provides guidelines on how to write an effective description (with examples).
  3. Upload content and practice writing your own descriptions.

If you or your colleagues are going to be involved in revisiting digital images on your website or learning platform then I highly recommend using these resources.

Alistair McNaught
Subject specialist – accessibility

by Adam Marshall at January 28, 2019 03:21 PM

January 14, 2019

Adam Marshall

WebLearn and Turnitin Courses and User Group meetings: Hilary Term 2019

IT Services offers a variety of taught courses to support the use of WebLearn and the plagiarism awareness software Turnitin. Course books for the WebLearn Fundamentals course (3 hours) can be downloaded for self study. Places are limited and bookings are required. All courses are free of charge and are presented at IT Services, 13 Banbury Road.

Click on the links provided for further information and to book a place.

WebLearn 3-hour course:

Plagiarism awareness courses (Turnitin):

User Group meetings:

by Jill Fresen at January 14, 2019 04:54 PM

November 23, 2018

Matthew Buckett

Firewalling IPs on macOS

I needed to selectively block some IPs from macOS and this is how I did it. First create a new anchor for the rules to go in. The file to create is:/etc/pf.anchors/org.user.block.out and it should contain:

table <blocked-hosts> persist
block in quick from <blocked-hosts>

Then edit: /etc/pf.conf and append the lines:

anchor "org.user.block.out"
load anchor "org.user.block.out" from "/etc/pf.anchors/org.user.block.out"

Then to reload the firewalling rules run:

$ sudo pfctl -f /etc/pf.conf

and if you haven't got pf enabled you also need to enable it with:

$ sudo pfctl -e

Then you can manage the blocked IPs with these commands:

# Block some IPs
$ sudo pfctl -a org.user.block.out -t blocked-hosts -T add
# Remove all the blocked IPs
$ sudo pfctl -a org.user.block.out -t blocked-hosts -T flush
# Remove a single IP
$ sudo pfctl -a org.user.block.out -t blocked-hosts -T delete

by Matthew Buckett ( at November 23, 2018 12:41 PM

November 09, 2018

Apereo OAE

Apereo OAE Snowy Owl is now available!

The latest version of Apereo's Open Academic Environment (OAE) project has just been released! Version 15.0.0 is codenamed Snowy Owl and it includes some changes (mostly under the hood) in order to pave the way for what's to come. Read the full changelog at Github

Image taken from bird eden.

November 09, 2018 06:50 PM

September 27, 2018

Sakai Project

Sakai 12.4 maintenance is released!

Dear Community,

I'm pleased to announce on behalf of the worldwide community that Sakai 12.4 is released and available for downloading! 

Sakai 12.4 has 88 improvements including: 

  • 22 fixes in Assignments
  • 14 fixes in Gradebook
  • 9 fixes in Tests & Quizzes (Samigo)
  • 7 fixes in Lessons
  • 6 fixes in Roster
  • 5 fixes in Portal

For more information, visit 12.4 Fixes by Tool

by WHodges at September 27, 2018 06:11 PM

August 15, 2018

Sakai Project

Now Open! Call for Proposals for the Sakai Virtual Conference 2018

Sakai Project Logo

We are actively seeking presenters who are knowledgeable about teaching with Sakai. You don’t need to be a technical expert to share your experiences! Submit your proposal today! The deadline for submissions is September 21st, 2018.

Save the Date: The Sakai Virtual Conference will take place entirely online on Wednesday, November 7th.

by MHall at August 15, 2018 06:58 PM

August 13, 2018

Sakai Project

Sakai Community Survey - Number of Users at Your Institution

We would like your help in tallying up the total number of Sakai users worldwide.

by MHall at August 13, 2018 04:33 PM

July 04, 2018


F2F Course Site Content Import

If you’re tasked with teaching an upcoming course that you’ve taught in the past with the University – there’s no need to rebuild everything from scratch – unless you want to.

Faculty teaching face to face (F2F) courses can benefit from the course content import process in Site Info. This process allows you to pull in all your assignments, syllabus, gradebook, handouts and other files associated with the course – as used in a previous offering of the course.

To do this, you need to be an instructor in both course sites (the former and the upcoming). Go to the upcoming course site, and select Site Info>Import from Site:


Next, select the kind of import you wish to perform. I typically suggest using the replacement option “I would like to replace my data”. On the next screen select which course you’d like to pull content in FROM.  Be careful here making sure you select the SOURCE of the content you’ll import. Next click Continue.

On the next screen select the tools/areas of content you wish to import. Keep in mind it’s always a good idea to import the Resources, because files referred to in Assignments, Quizzes, Lessons or Announcements could refer to those files, and in order for those links to work properly the corresponding resources must be likewise imported.

Finally complete the import process and watch for the email to be sent to you – notifying you of the import process being completed. You can find out more information about the process here.

Want to watch the whole process in real time? Take a gander here:

by Dave E. at July 04, 2018 06:56 PM

June 11, 2018

Apereo OAE

Strategic re-positioning: OAE in the world of NGDLE

The experience of the Open Academic Environment Project (OAE) forms a significant practical contribution to the emerging vision of the ‘Next Generation Digital Learning Environment’, or NGDLE. Specifically, OAE contributes core collaboration tools and services that can be used in the context of a class, of a formal or informal group outside a class, and indeed of such a group outside an institution. This set of tools and services leverages academic infrastructure, such as Access Management Federations, or widely used commercial infrastructure for authentication, open APIs for popular third-party software (e.g. video conference) and open standards such as LTI and xAPI.

Beyond the LMS/VLE

OAE is widely used by staff in French higher education in the context of research and other inter-institutional collaboration. The project is now examining future directions which bring OAE closer to students – and to learning. This is driven by a groundswell among learners. There is strong anecdotal evidence that students in France are chafing at the constraints of the LMS/VLE. They are beginning to use social media – not necessarily with adequate data or other safeguards – to overcome the perceived limitations of the LMS/VLE. The core functionality of OAE – people forming groups to collaborate around content – provides a means of circumventing the LMS’s limitations without selling one’s soul – or one’s data – to the social media giants. OAE embodies key capabilities supporting social and unstructured learning, and indeed could be adapted and configured as a ‘student owned environment’: a safe space for sharing and discussion of ideas leading to organic group activities. The desires and requirements of students have not featured strongly in NGDLE conversations to this point: The OAE project, beginning with work in France, will explore student discontent with the LMS, and seek to work together with LMS solution providers and software communities to provide a richer and more engaging experience for learners.

Integration points and data flows

OAE has three principal objectives in this area:

  1. OAE has a basic (uncertified) implementation of the IMSGlobal Learning Tools Interoperability specification. This will be enriched to further effect integration with the LMS/VLE where it is required. OAE will not assume such integration is required without evidence. It will not drive such integration on the basis of technical feasibility, but by needs expressed by learners and educators.
  2. Driven by the significant growth of usage of the Karuta ePortfolio software in France, OAE will explore how student-selected evidence of competency can easily be provided for Karuta, and what other connections might be required or desirable between the two systems.
  3. Given the growth of interest in learning analytics in France and globally, OAE will become an exemplary emitter of learning analytics data and will act wherever possible to analyse each new or old feature from a designed analytics perspective. Learning analytics data will flow from learning designs embedded in OAE, not simply be the accidental output that constitutes a technical log file.

OAE is continuing to develop and transform its sustainability model. The change is essentially from a model based primarily on financially-based contributions to that of a mixed mode community-based model, where financial contributions are encouraged alongside individual, institutional and organisational volunteered contributions of code, documentation and other non-code artefacts. There are two preconditions for accomplishing this. The first, which applies specifically to code, is clearing a layer of technical debt in order to more easily encourage and facilitate contributions around modern software frameworks and tools. OAE is committed to paying down this debt and encouraging contributions from developers outside the project.

The second is both more complex and more straightforward; straightforward to describe, but complex to realise. Put simply, answers to questions around wasteful duplication of resources in deploying software in education have fallen out of balance with reality. The pendulum has swung from “local” through “cloud first” to “cloud only”. Innovation around learning, which by its very nature often begins locally, is often stifled by the industrial-style massification of ‘the hosted LMS’ which emphasises conformity with a single model. As a result of this strategy, institutions have switched from software development and maintenance to contract management. In many cases, this means that they have tended to swap creative, problem-solving capability for an administrative capability. It is almost as though e-learning has entered a “Fordist” phase, with only the green shoots of LTI enabled niche applications and individual institutional initiatives providing hope of a rather more postmodern – and flexible - future.

OAE retains its desire and ambition to provide a scalable solution that remains “cloud ready”. The project believes, however, that the future is federated. Patchworks of juridical and legal frameworks across national and regional boundaries alone – particularly around privacy - should drive a reconsideration of “cloud only” as a strategy for institutions with global appetites. Institutions with such appetites – and there are few now which do not have them – will distribute, federate and firewall systems to work around legislative roadblocks, bumps in the road, and brick walls. OAE will, then, begin to consider and work on inter-host federation of content and other services. This will, of necessity, begin small. It will, however, remain the principled grit in the strategic oyster. As more partners join the project, OAE will start designing a federation architectural layer that will lay the foundation to a scenario where OAE instances dynamically exchange data among themselves in a seamless and efficient way according to a variety of use cases.

ID 22-MAY-18 Amended 23-MAY-18

June 11, 2018 12:00 PM