For the last four years - or thereabouts - the Sakai community has been in transition from a single project community to a community which supports more than one strand of software development. We're taking significant further steps in this direction with the forthcoming merger with Jasig, and the creation of the Apereo Foundation - recently overwhelmingly approved by our membership. From the outset, Apereo will contain several communities of interest and software communities.
Chuck Severance, Beth Kirschner and I just spent a fascinating and very enjoyable week at the Sakai Mexico Conference, hosted by u-red, a commercial entity based in Mexico City. I would estimate around 100 attended the event, which was spread over 3 days in Mexico City and Puebla. Attendees included a mix of teachers, IT director types and technical staff. We had some particularly lively Q&A sessions.
I spent the last three weeks visiting Sakai communities in Japan and South Africa, and attending annual regional conferences in both countries. It was a fascinating trip, and particularly interesting to note the similarities and differences between Sakai communities growing in local contexts. In Japan, there is a particular focus on localization and internationalization. The Ja Sakai community have agreed to a series of common approaches, including a common translation vocabulary, and are contributing the results of their work back to the broader community when it is appropriate.
Over the course of the next two months the Sakai Foundation will be working with the CLE Technical Coordination Committee (TCC), and the OAE Steering Group, to effect some changes in the way we support and direct the software effort of the Sakai community.
The background to these decisions is threefold;
Over the last eight months I've met with Sakai community members in many schools around the world. Most of those meetings have focused around three main areas: the future of the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment, the work undertaken to realize the vision of the Sakai Open Academic Environment, and the future of the Foundation itself.
A week ago I returned from a trip to Japan. Along with Chuck Severance and Janice Smith, I'd spent a few days in Japan, giving presentations at Nagoya University, and the Ja-Sakai conference at Kansai University in Osaka. Chuck presented his personal reflections on the history, impact and future of Sakai, and Janice on evolving portfolio practice. I provided an update on the state of the Foundation and the progress of the Open Academic Environment Project.
The program for the Sakai Conference is driven by the community. What presentation topics would be most helpful to you? Please share your ideas and requests below. This will allow those submitting presentation proposals to tailor their presentations to your needs.
When I took post in August this year I promised a review of Foundation policies, processes and financials. I have accompanied this essentially desk-based review with broad consultation within the community. In the last three months I have visited over twenty Sakai institutions on three continents, and met many more active community members at conferences and other events. I have also spoken with many institutions that are considering the adoption of Sakai.
The conference is over, the chairs have been cleaned away and I have had a few days to recover from the jet lag and 24 hour delay in airplane transfer at Chicago.
Looking back, I was glad that I had made it to Denver, not that I saw much outside the Hotel. The usual for the Sakai community, creative energy was sparking in the background. The opensyllabus tool looked strong; the project coordination meeting on Sunday had a frank and honest debate both for the Sakai 2 and Sakai 3 products. I enjoyed the presentations from the teaching awards and the lists go’s on.
I would like to draw your attention to some important changes in plumbing that is used in the hybrid integration between Sakai 2 and Sakai 3. First a little background… Previously, an authentication mechanism existed that allowed a system external to Sakai 2 to call into its services while not prompting the user for authentication and trusting the external system for the user’s identity. This has been used primarily to allow services in Sakai 3 to call services in Sakai 2 to retrieve, for example, lists of sites for which the user is a member.