Planet Sakai

July 21, 2016

Adam Marshall

Sakai Virtual Conference on Wednesday, November 2nd 2016



This year’s Sakai Virtual Conference will be help in the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016.

The conference will be held entirely online, and will have an emphasis on pedagogy and best practices. Join us for a faculty-friendly day of learning, sharing and community building with your fellow Sakai users around the globe, all without the need to travel!

More details coming soon.


Neal Caidin, Sakai Community Coordinator, Apereo Foundation

Wilma Hodges, Sakai Virtual Conference 2016 Planning Committee Chair

Ian Dolphin, Executive Director, Apereo Foundation

by Adam Marshall at July 21, 2016 04:21 PM

July 15, 2016

Apereo Foundation

Michael Feldstein

Blackboard Learn Ultra: Ready or not?

At this year’s BbWorld16 users conference, Blackboard’s new executive team demonstrated their ability to deliver a much tighter, more coherent message of what they are learning from talking to customers and what the focus of the company will be in the next few years. The “1 Learn, 2 Experiences (Original and Ultra), and 3 Deployments (Self-Hosted, Managed-Hosted, and SaaS)” meme is an example. Words are easy to come by, however, and Blackboard leadership needs to back up their claims, particularly with the Learn LMS and particularly with the long-delayed Learn Ultra.

Michael described the challenges that Blackboard and its new CEO Bill Ballhaus face back in January, with this comment about Learn Ultra [emphasis added]:

Prove that Ultra is real: While there are customers who will not be quick to move off of 9.x (for a variety of reasons), nobody believes that the current platform represents a compelling future for digital learning environments. It is long in the tooth. But schools evaluating LMSs have largely discounted Ultra because they don’t think it’s real and they’re not convinced that it ever will be. Now that the product is a year late, they have increased reason to be skeptical. We have heard that there are schools piloting Ultra, but I am not aware of any public information about how these pilots are going or even which schools are participating. Blackboard needs to ship Ultra and trot out some customers who are willing to speak publicly about their experiences with it. If they fail, they will not get a do-over.

While this inaccurate claim came from the previous executive team, and while I have heard nothing but positive reviews from Blackboard staff about the new CEO, this does not mean that previous claims are irrelevant. And the issue is not what Blackboard told us at e-Literate, it is more what they have told or not told the higher education (and K-12) communities.

Thanks to an interview Michael and I had in April with Bill Ballhaus and Katie Blot, SVP of Corporate Strategy and Industry Relations, I updated our understanding of Learn Ultra’s status:

When we asked when Learn Ultra would be available for schools to actively pilot (real courses, real students, with major integrations to student rosters, etc), it was interesting to hear both Ballhaus and Blot take a very different approach and give what appears to be much more conservative estimates. Learn Ultra should be available for limited-functionality pilots for specific faculty (e.g. for courses not using the LMS heavily) by Fall 2016 and more broadly for institutions in Spring 2017, leading to general availability in Summer or Fall 2017.

This is why I was surprised to see a press release just this week claiming that “Blackboard Learn Ultra Experience Available Now”. At the keynote, Bill Ballhaus said that Learn Ultra was “generally available”, although based on another interview with Ballhaus and Blot later in the week it became apparent that this was inadvertent phrase. The real message is that Learn Ultra is ready for production as described in Katie Blot’s blog post:

Bill told the crowd (40% of whom are attending their first BbWorld) that the highly anticipated Blackboard Learn Ultra experience is now available for production use.

Slide from #BbWorld16 keynote

Slide from #BbWorld16 keynote

Did Blackboard just pull a rabbit out of the hat since April and move its general availability of Learn Ultra from Summer 2017 to Summer 2016? Based on interviews and in breakout sessions this week, the simple fact is that Learn Ultra is just now entering the phase for running pilots. While IT language can be fuzzy, a pilot is generally understood to be a test for a subset of the target end users, typically running on the final or production environment, using real-world scenarios, for the purposes of testing the system and determining if the application is ready to go into full production mode. For a higher education LMS, this means at a minimum running multiple courses within an institution with real students taking the courses for at least a full academic term. The very first Learn Ultra pilots in higher education are starting this fall at the University of Phoenix and “a handful” of other institutions.

Last night Katie Blot shared a link to a new blog post from the company – “Where we stand with SaaS and the Ultra experience”.

  • And, delivered via continuous updates the Learn Ultra functionality that will meet the needs of many instructors. In fact, at BbWorld 2016 we declared that Learn with the Ultra experience is available now for pilot and production use.

So let’s clarify what we mean when we say that Learn with Ultra experience is available now. Learn with the Ultra experience now has a rich enough feature set to meet the needs of a certain segment of instructors. It’s ready for those who use the fundamental elements of an LMS. Will it be right for everyone? No, but the Original Course View, which can be run side by side with the Ultra Course View in SaaS, will meet the needs of the rest of instructors, those who need the full depth and flexibility the Original experience provides. And over time, we’ll continue to deliver more functionality for the Ultra experience on a frequent and regular basis, just like we have with Collaborate and Bb Student.

This blog post is a good sign of trying to be open and transparent, and the clarification about pilots is important. I still find the language “available for … production use” to be inaccurate. No academic leader in their right mind would skip a controlled pilot testing out this long-awaited LMS re-architecture and go straight into full production mode. And to my knowledge no institution has indicated that they plan to do so.

The message I heard over and over from people who had tried the Learn Ultra “educator preview” matched what SUNY’s Doug Cohen shared in his session where Blackboard asked him to try out Learn Ultra and present his findings unfiltered. There are some nice design features in Ultra, and there have been vast improvements in functionality – both bug fixes and new features – added within the past four months. But as Doug shared, Learn Ultra is not ready to evaluate yet at an institutional level. While he noted in a conversation after the session that this would be an individual campus decision within SUNY and not up to the system office where he works, in Doug’s opinion Learn Ultra will likely be ready for a true test by the beginning of 2017. There are a handful of schools, most notably the University of Phoenix, that are being more aggressive and starting pilots this fall, but I am hearing a consensus that Learn Ultra needs more time before having institutional-run pilots.

The Blackboard team noted in their press release:

Based on user data, the product offers the functionality most instructors need to manage their courses today

The basis of this determination, according to Katie Blot, was driven by analyses such as looking at the courses in a large community college to see which components of Learn 9.1 were used in each course, and then determining if Learn Ultra had those features.[1] There is a real difference, however, between analyzing such course data and asking real people responsible for making campus decisions of whether they would start a Learn Ultra pilot. If the vast majority of customers say that “it’s not ready to evaluate fully”, that does not necessarily mean that they must be waiting for Learn Ultra to have all features present in Learn 9.1 Original View to satisfy all faculty. Most campus administrators I have talked to know that Learn Ultra can be a course-by-course decision after you enable Ultra at the institutional level. The question is whether an institution is ready to enable this course-by-course testing and to support the new capabilities.

One more detail that is relevant to messaging. Once a course is converted to Learn Ultra, it cannot be converted back to Original view of Learn 9.1. You can go back to a snapshot of the course as of the time of conversion, but any course data created or added within Ultra will be lost. In other words Learn Ultra is much more than just an option user interface sitting on top of Learn 9.1, as described in one of the breakout sessions.

Slide presented at #BbWorld16 session

Slide presented at #BbWorld16 session

If Blackboard executives want to be open and transparent, which I believe they do, then part of the job is using straightforward, accurate language. Don’t play verbal gymnastics in “ready for production” without letting people know this will be the first time anyone has run live courses with real students. Don’t ignore the company baggage where customers and analysts have been told misleading stories even within the past year.

What Blackboard could have done is used this simple message to their advantage. We told you in April that we would be ready for limited-functionality pilots in fall, and we’re on schedule and making real improvements. The days of Learn Ultra delays are over.

The company has made a lot of progress in the past four months with Ultra, has improved the overall message, and has introduced some useful tools coming out such as Predict and Planner. But the community needs more in terms of open and transparent communication, especially around Learn.

  1. I believe they did this analysis from more than one school, but she mentioned this example to point out that they looked across the entire college, at all courses.

The post Blackboard Learn Ultra: Ready or not? appeared first on e-Literate.

by Phil Hill at July 15, 2016 06:17 PM

July 14, 2016

Michael Feldstein

About The Blackboard Partnership With IBM And Amazon Web Services

Leading into BbWorld16, Blackboard’s annual users conference in the air conditioned bunker of The Venetian in Las Vegas, the company announced that they were partnering with IBM.

Blackboard Inc. and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaborative agreement for IBM to manage Blackboard’s datacenters and cloud infrastructure. The two companies will also work together to develop innovative educational solutions, taking advantage of IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology and Blackboard’s broad capabilities suite.

Under the agreement, IBM will manage much of Blackboard’s technology infrastructure, including the company’s 28 global data centers and its existing public cloud footprint. IBM will also provide support for Blackboard’s expanding use of the public cloud. Blackboard will leverage IBM’s expertise and software to offer customers some of the most flexible, reliable, security-rich and resilient environments available.

What the initial press release did not capture, and what has become quite apparent at BbWorld16, is that this is really a three-way partnership between Blackboard, IBM, and Amazon (for Amazon Web Services, or AWS). Peter George, Blackboard’s SVP of Products, noted this critical distinction in his blog post “Partnering with AWS and IBM for cloud services and infrastructure management”.

Since the mid 2000s, Blackboard has grown its Managed Hosting operations, providing the ability for Learn LMS customers to have Blackboard run their instance in the company’s data centers. Yet as of last year, Blackboard also introduced Learn SaaS (software as a service), which is the LMS running in the public cloud. The original vision for Learn SaaS was based on using both OpenStack’s open source cloud platform as well as AWS, but as of last year Blackboard transitioned this option to run only on AWS.

What Does This Mean In Practical Sense?

There are quite a few Learn Managed Hosting customers, so what does this somewhat confusing three-way partnership mean in reality? At a session at BbWorld today, I asked for more details from Steve Kann, Blackboard’s VP of Product Development and Cloud Services. There is a distinction between Learn and all the other Blackboard applications.

For Learn:

  • Over the next four months, IBM will take over the existing Blackboard data centers and manage the existing technology deployments.
  • IBM will then start to deploy many of their infrastructure management processes and automation techniques.
  • Blackboard staff will continue to manage the applications while IBM manages the infrastructure. The same people from Blackboard will answer the phones, run the apps, etc while IBM does their work behind the scenes.
  • Learn SaaS is already on AWS.
  • In other words, for Learn this announcement is really about two separate partnerships with IBM running Managed Hosting and AWS running cloud / SaaS. The term of the initial Blackboard / IBM agreement is for five years.

For Other Applications:

  • IBM will take an active role in re-engineering the applications to move to AWS. For example, Collaborate currently runs as one instance in Blackboard’s Virginia data center. IBM will help change the architecture to move this out of what can be considered a private cloud into the AWS public cloud.
  • In other words, for other applications this announcement is really about a three-way partnership.

Why Make The Move?

During the BbWorld session, Steve Kann emphasized the nature of data center infrastructure management as very important but not unique. Blackboard is taking a hard look at what they do that is differentiated from other companies, and data center operations is not it. As stated in the session today, Blackboard should “stop doing the undifferentiated work.”

Beyond Blackboard getting out of this type of operations, there is also the question of the benefits of working with IBM and Amazon. In his blog, Peter calls out:

By focusing our future development on the AWS platform, we will be able to leverage not only AWS’s operational strengths and nearly infinite scale, but also the increasingly formidable breadth of capabilities it provides both natively and via the rapidly growing ecosystem of innovations coming from its partners.

We chose IBM to take on the role of infrastructure management because it brings world-class people, processes, and technology to the partnership. IBM brings deep experience and unique capabilities to bear. One exciting technology that we’ll be leveraging is IBM’s predictive analytics, that foresee potential component failures and give us the opportunity to deal with them in advance, avoiding disruptions. Under the agreement, IBM will provide infrastructure management and operations for all current Blackboard datacenters as we move to the AWS Cloud. Blackboard staff will continue to operate our applications, provide support for our customers, and act as the interface between the customer and the infrastructure teams – just as they do today.

At the BbWorld session, IBM touted their ability to provide “Dynamic Automation” with the use of “virtual engineers” to manage changes in computing demand and to adjust data center resources quickly. The focus is on shortening the Mean Time to Respond and Mean Time to Resolve metrics.

I asked Steve after the session when customers should notice any changes or improvements in the data center operations, and his estimate was 3 – 6 months.

The Future

Throughout the conference, Blackboard has emphasized their new meme: 1 Learn, 2 Experiences (Original and Ultra), 3 Deployments (Self hosted, managed hosted, SaaS). I’ll cover the Learn Ultra angle in tomorrow’s post, but for “3 Deployments” the intent is to tell Learn customers that they can keep Self Hosting or Managed Hosting “indefinitely”, according to Steve Kann during the session today. Yet he also said there are “compelling” reasons that customers should consider Cloud / SaaS options.

When I asked Steve about this potentially contradictory view, his response was that yes, there are reasons to go the public cloud and Blackboard sees that as the future. But they are not going to force customers to move. They are offering carrots but not sticks.

But now that it’s cooled off to 104 degrees, it’s time to head to a dinner outside the bunker. More tomorrow on other Blackboard news.

Update: Clarified that Bb’s original visions for cloud included both OpenStack and AWS.

The post About The Blackboard Partnership With IBM And Amazon Web Services appeared first on e-Literate.

by Phil Hill at July 14, 2016 01:26 AM

July 11, 2016

Michael Feldstein

Personalized Learning Explainer: Teaching to the Back Row

Phil and I are pleased to share our first animated explainer on personalized learning:

If it feels like a commercial that could have been produced by a textbook publisher or ed tech vendor, that is entirely intentional. We hope that they will actively promote this video (and the successor that we will be publishing in the next couple of weeks). We are giving them tools they will (hopefully) want to use that move the focus away from product bells and whistles and toward teaching challenges. This attempt at jujitsu is worth some unpacking.

As we’ve written about both here, there, and everywhere,  the term “personalized learning” is a marketing phrase that doesn’t seem to have a specific meaning as it is popularly used. It is associated with bundles of content that are typically called courseware that may or may not have certain kinds of features like learning analytics or adaptive learning. Note those two feature categories are themselves both so broad that they include capabilities that work and are used completely differently from each other. “Personalized learning” is remarkably devoid of semantic specificity even for a marketing term. As a result, the vendors themselves often don’t know how to talk about the value of the products beyond throwing around the slogan and maybe tossing in words like “efficacy” and “outcomes.” This is exactly the sort of solution-in-search-of-a-problem problem that leads us down the road to horror shows like “robot tutors in the sky that can semi-read your mind.”

But while the vendors may be confused about the value they provide, the teachers who make use of these products are not. When we go out into classrooms and see how products that have been labeled “personalized learning” are used in context, we find common, reality-grounded themes about best teaching practices. These practices are supported by the product capabilities that attach to the term “personalized learning” but they are independent from those capabilities. They can be achieved in different ways, with or without fancy products. Viewed through the lens of lived practice, the term “personalized learning” means something like differentiated instruction writ large with the assistance of pedagogical productivity tools.

Here’s a great example ((Hat tip to Laura Gibbs for the reference to Michelle Pacansky-Brock’s wonderful post.)) of personalized learning practice that requires nothing fancier than a discussion board and maybe a video or image or two:

The nature of online classes varies dramatically, much like face-to-face classes. But, in both scenarios, the teacher matters and the teaching matters. When an online class is taught by an engaged and empathetic instructor who seeks to be aware of the needs of her students, the asynchronous nature of online learning may become a benefit to students, not a disadvantage. This is contingent upon the design of the course, which is where instructional designers or “learning engineers” can play an important role.  Many instructors, however, play both roles — and those who do are often the professors who experience deep transformations in their face-to-face classes as a result of what they learned from teaching online.

Learning is a process that unfolds over time. In a face-to-face class, the actions in a classroom are a valuable part of that learning, but students don’t instantly “learn” upon receipt of instruction. This is something that teaching online can help faculty to recognize and lead them to enhancing their face-to-face instruction with opportunities for students to interact and reflect online between class sessions. An online class that is designed with scaffolded opportunities for students engage in low stake, formative assessments provides learners with an environment that can align more closely with the rhythm of their learning. The rhythm of learning is highly variable and this is another reason why online classes can be so empowering for students, especially those who feel left out and disengaged in traditional instructional settings. The opportunity to engage with media in a variety of modalities multiple times, to read or listen to peer conversations more than once, the ability to revise one’s thoughts over time by adding on to a conversation, engage with diverse opinions and perspectives from individuals beyond the course roster — these are stunning qualities of online learning that benefit students.

Phil and I want the phrase “personalized learning” to evoke this kind of course design just as easily as it does vendor-supplied adaptive learning and learning analytics products. We have produced and will continue to produce long-form pieces on this topic. But long-form only reaches people who are already interested enough to read (or view) it. We also want to produce short-form pieces that reach a broader audience. We want to frame up early discussions that lead to better places than “robot tutor in the sky.”

In the process, we are also trying to learn about the ways in which short-form works differently from long-form. From an academic perspective, “explainer” is almost inevitably a misnomer for a two-minute animation aimed at a mass audience. The verb “to problemetize” was coined for a reason. At best, short pieces like ours can be “provokers.” Or, to draw on the language of pedagogy, discussion prompts. For example, we frame personalized learning as “a set of ideas for solving [the] problem” of teachers being overloaded with work and not having enough time to give their students individual attention. That is a feature, not a bug. By framing it this way, we hope to open the door to questions like the following:

  • Why are faculty so overworked that “being the kind of teacher that [they] want to be gets harder and harder”?
  • How does the increasing diversity of our student population make good teaching more challenging and what is the best approach to meeting that challenge?
  • Are we providing faculty with the right support, incentives, and training to promote good teaching?
  • When is personalized learning good teaching practice and when is it cover for bad labor policy?
  • How can technology help us increase access to education without hurting quality and what are the limits of that capacity?

A two-minute animation can’t answer or even ask these questions. What it can do is change the rhetorical space, creating room for them to be asked. By changing the industry’s framing of its value proposition, maybe we can catalyze converations we should be having about the context in which that value is realized.

In the second explainer, we will be providing an overview of some of the pedagogical methods that we associate with personalized learning.

The post Personalized Learning Explainer: Teaching to the Back Row appeared first on e-Literate.

by Michael Feldstein at July 11, 2016 01:00 PM

June 28, 2016

Ian Boston

Referendums are binary so should be advisory

If you ask the for the solution to the multi faceted question with a binary question you will get the wrong answer with a probability of 50%. Like a quantum bit, the general population can be in any state based on the last input or observation, and so a Referendum, like the EU Referendum just held in the UK should only ever be advisory.  In that Referendum there were several themes. Immigration, the economy and UK Sovereignty. The inputs the general population were given, by various politicians on both sides of the argument, were exaggerated or untrue. It was no real surprise to hear some promises retracted once the winning side had to commit to deliver on them. No £350m per week for the NHS. No free trade deal with the EU without the same rights for EU workers as before. Migration unchanged. The Economy was hit, we don’t know how much it will be hit over the coming years and we are all, globally, hoping that in spite of a shock more severe than Lehman Brothers in 2008, the central banks, have quietly taken their own experts advice and put in place sufficient plans to deal with the situation. Had the Bank of England not intervened on Friday morning, the sheer cliff the FTSE100 was falling off, would have continued to near 0.  When it did, the index did an impression of a base jumper, parachute open drifting gently upwards.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 20.08.07

The remaining theme is UK Sovereignty. Geoffrey Robertson QC  makes an interesting argument in the Guardian Newspaper, that in order to exit the EU, the UK must under its unwritten constitution vote in parliament to enact Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. He argues that the Referendum was always advisory. It will be interesting, given that many of those who have voted now regret their decision, if they try and abandon the last theme that caused so many to want to leave. The one remaining thing so close to their heart that they were prepared to ignore all the experts, believe the most charismatic individuals willing to tell them what they wanted to hear. UK Sovereignty, enacted by parliament by grant of the Sovereign. I watched with interest not least because the characters involved have many of the characteristics of one of the US presidential candidates.

If you live in the UK, and have time to read the opinion, please make your own mind up how you will ask your MP to vote on your behalf. That is democracy and sovereignty in action. Something we all hold dear.

by Ian at June 28, 2016 07:09 PM

June 21, 2016

Dr. Chuck

Beyond MOOCs: Open Education at Scale (Abstract)

Here is a draft abstract for an upcoming keynote – comments welcome.

Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) providers like edX and Coursera have revealed an almost unlimited desire for education for people of all ages and all walks of life. While these pioneering efforts have achieved much, these learning opportunities are still in relatively short supply. Each course is costly to produce, deploy, and support. These costs are a rate limiting factor in scaling online education to the point where we begin meeting the much larger demand for high quality, plentiful and relevant education worldwide. We need to build a Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) that makes it so any teacher can build and efficiently deploy their own open courses to a worldwide audience. In this presentation, we will look at how we can build an open source infrastructure that is based on open standards and open content that will make creating an open education experience within the reach of any teacher, anywhere in the world. We will look at how educational technology will need to change to reduce the cost to produce, share, and even remix online educational content.

by Charles Severance at June 21, 2016 11:36 PM


Upgrade Date Announced

Sakai has been scheduled to be upgraded on:

August 5, 2016 from 6am to 10am EST.

The upgrade should take about 4 hours. During this time Sakai will be completely inaccessible to you and to students.

A confirmation email will be sent following the upgrade, letting you know that you can again login to Sakai.

The upgrade will take Sakai from version 10 to version 11, and includes updates some new features and most of all a new look that’s meant to make accessing Sakai on mobile and tablet devices much easier. See this list for a full list of the new features and changes. You can track availability of Sakai using the Johnson University Internet Services page. Login credentials will not be affected.

The User Guide is a good place to start when you have immediate questions.

Contact the Help Desk if you have issues following the upgrade.

Why isn’t the upgrade happening sooner?

by Dave E. at June 21, 2016 03:36 PM

Upgrade Schedule Rationale

The most important aspect of the upgrade is to make it as smooth as possible and minimize frustration and headache for both faculty and students.

Sakai is a world class, open source learning management system providing a platform for tens of thousands of students in various educational settings and used by the likes of Duke, Standford, Oxford and others.  The global Sakai community is currently in the process of field testing Sakai 11 and making sure it’s ready for ‘prime time’.  This testing is critical to put Sakai 11 through it’s paces to insure quality assurance for every adopting institution and organization.

The Quality Assurance testing is done by faculty, students and administrators in institutions who are using Sakai currently.  This QA process in collaboration with Sakai Developers helps insure Sakai 11 is ready.

In order to insure a smooth upgrade and provide ample time for instructors to prepare for their upcoming fall courses, course sites for the Fall 2016 term will be made available July 5, 2016.  This provides faculty with course sites a full month prior to the upgrade and about three weeks of lead time before fall term courses begin on August 22, 2016. This is a change from the plan to wait until the after the Sakai upgrade to create fall term course sites.

Contact the Department of Online Education with questions.

by Dave E. at June 21, 2016 03:35 PM

June 17, 2016

Apereo Foundation

Alex Balleste


More than two years ago Juanjo Meroño and I started the project LooWID ( As many of you already know it's an open source videoconference platform based on WebRTC that allow users to join in small rooms and share webcam, screen and audio and share files directly from browser to browser. Eduardo Rey has been also involved designing and implementing the interface and that helped a lot to have a nice platform.

It has been an good experience since we moved to make it open source instead of offering just as a service. Before we opened the project we tried to get feedback from friends and family and there were some interesting results. We asked them to fill a survey to guess what business model would be the best for LooWID. We were concerned that we should offer it as free but we needed to find a way to fund the infrastructure, and perhaps if the project grows contract an small team to work on it.  We were asking about the way the project must be funded. There were some options like, mandatory pay for use, advertisements, or donations. Around  90% of answers were 'donations' but in the following questions asking if they would donate to use a service like that, in small donations regularly or a bigger one (10€ - 15€) once, they all absolutely answer 'NO'.

So our conclusion was that people won't pay for a service that is offered by others for free, so we decided to change the direction and go to a fully opened to try to involve more people in the project in order to keep it alive. We knew that our motivation in the project would end if there was no response, so opening we wanted to get more people involved looking for more feedback to get energy to continue.
In some way we got it because we got a lot of nice words in the project, a lot of translations of platforms like German, Russian, Hungarian, other helped promoting the app with their tweets, and also Jose Rabal helped us with security, so the project got some good stuff, but the same main developers  that were at the beginning.

Now 1.4.1 release is out and included some interesting things like oembed integration in chat, but we realized that we can not afford big challenges like the one we were working on: the WebRTC relay. We were looking a way to grow up the numbers of users that were consuming streams in a LooWID room creating a relay in each  client in order to build multiple tree structures that would guarantee thousands of users getting video and audio running a simple 1GB Ram server. That sounds great, isn't it? But reality is that the time we can invest after work is too small and that makes it impossible to assume bigger goals like that :-(

So we've frozen the project for a while, trying to rest and get energy again. I hope that soon we'll start working again in some new features.

by Alex Ballesté ( at June 17, 2016 01:36 PM

June 16, 2016


How do I select a profile image?

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 4.08.24 PMSelecting a profile image in Sakai allows others to see who you are, and even shows up in discussion forums – helping others in the class identify who you are.

Selecting and uploading an image is easy and takes just 60 seconds.

To choose a profile image:

  1. image7Select Profile on the left (laptop or desktop) or if you’re on a mobile or slate, select the profile image on the top right and in the drop down menu select “Profile”.
  2. On the new window that appears hover over the profile image and select “Change picture”. If you’re on a mobile or slate, tap the profile image, and then tap the “Change picture” link that appears.
  3. Next select Choose File and upload an image from your device by browsing to an image on your computer or taking one with your mobile.
  4. After selecting the image you want to use, click or tap Upload.

Your new image should now show up in the Profile area and in the top right near the logout menu.

Be sure to select an image that helps others identify and recognize who you are.

by Dave E. at June 16, 2016 08:22 PM

June 07, 2016

Dr. Chuck

Live, Online, Graduation Ceremony for Python for Everybody Specialization Capstone – Wed June 8 at 9AM

We are reaching the end of the first session of the Python Specialization capstone. We have two things planned to celebrate the time and commitment of the students who have made it through five classes, 25 weeks of work and completed the capstone.

First, the University of Michigan School of Information will be sending signed paper certificates, a temporary tattoo, and a waiver of the application fee to the University of Michigan School of Information Masters Program to everyone who completed the Capstone. We will be sending the packet to every student that has completed the first capstone regardless of geography.

Second, we will be the first MOOC to have an online, live, graduation ceremony and we want to invite anyone to watch our celebration. The graduation ceremony will be held:

Wednesday June 8, at 9:00AM Eastern time


The URL will be ready Tuesday night. The ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube using Google Hangouts and then later a recording will be uploaded to Coursera for those without access to YouTube.

The agenda for the graduation ceremony will be to (1) thank those who have worked behind the scenes to make the course successful, (2) hear a short commencement speech from my colleague Colleen van Lent (who also teaches the Web Design for Everybody) specialization, and then (3) read the student’s names as we show each student’s picture.

There are 1165 students who have completed the capstone – but it is optional to participate in the ceremony.

If you have completed the capstone session 1 and want to participate in the graduation ceremony, go back to the course site and read the instructions for joining the ceremony that we sent you in email.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible and congratulations to the graduates on finishing the specialization.

I hope to see you at graduation.

by Charles Severance at June 07, 2016 05:23 PM

June 02, 2016

Adam Marshall

Announcing the ConnextOx Innovation Project

oae-logoFrom Vinton Cheng, Clinical Research Fellow, CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute of Radiation Oncology: “The ConnectOx project aims to bring researchers together and promote collaboration through researcher profiling and smart algorithms. By providing another route for researchers working within disparate subjects to find each other, our vision is that opportunities for novel and interdisciplinary connections will become enhanced, which in turn will break down the barriers holding back the free movement of knowledge. We will be working with key players in this space, *Research and Apereo OAE, to bring this project to fruition.”


by Adam Marshall at June 02, 2016 02:25 PM

May 20, 2016

Adam Marshall

WebLearn unavailable on Tuesday 24 May 2016 from 7-9am

cisco-routerWebLearn will be unavailable on Tuesday 24 May 2016 7-9am. This is necessary because of the need to undertake essential maintenance of the underlying AFS file system. There will be no service during this period.

We apologise for any inconvenience that this essential work may cause.

by Adam Marshall at May 20, 2016 01:41 PM

May 09, 2016

Sakai Project

Sakai 11 timeline

The Sakai core team is planning a Beta release the week of May 9, 2016. A Beta release is feature complete and within striking distance of an RC01, our first release candidate. We are anticipating having an RC01 shortly after Open Apereo 2016 and an expected release date in late June. 

by NealC at May 09, 2016 10:35 PM

JA Sakai Conference 2016 - A few notes from Sakai coordinator

Japanese Sakai schools meet three times a year, at JA Sakai,  at Open Apereo, and a JA Sakai unconference.

by NealC at May 09, 2016 10:32 PM

Sakai 10.7 released!

The Sakai Core Team is happy to announce the Sakai 10.7 maintenance release  for general availability! Congratulations worldwide team! There were 47 fixes  [1] in this release across the core tools. 2 new security fixes. 
if you're running 10.6 that this upgrade is of critical importance. Several of the fixes in 10.7 were regressions from 10.6, especially against Assignment and Samigo.

by NealC at May 09, 2016 10:31 PM

April 26, 2016

Dr. Chuck

More Tsugi Refactoring – Removal of the mod folder

I completed the last of many refactoring steps of Tsugi yesterday. when I moved the contents of the “mod” folder into its own repository. The goal of all this refactoring was to get it to the point where checking out the core Tsugi repository did not include any end-user tools – it just would include the administrator, developer, key management, and support capabilities (LTI 2, CASA, ContentItem Store). The key is that this console will also be used for the Java and NodeJS implementations of Tsugi until we build the functionality in the console in each of those languages and so it made no sense to drag in a bunch of PHP tools if you were just going to use the console. I wrote a bunch of new documentation showing how the new “pieces of Tsugi” fit together:

This means that as of this morning if you do a “git pull” in your /tsugi folder – the mod folder will disappear. But have no fear – you can restore it with the following steps:

cd tsugi
git clone mod

And your mod folder will be restored. You will now have to do separate git pulls for both Tsugi and the mod folder.

I have all this in solid production (with the mod restored as above) with my Coursera and on campus Umich courses. So I am pretty sure it holds together well.

This was the last of a multi-step refactor for this code to modularize it in multiple repositories so as to better prepare for Tsugi in multiple languages as well as plugging Tsugi into various production environments.

by Charles Severance at April 26, 2016 02:11 PM