Community Support for Sakai CLE and OAE
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;
• Recognition that the Sakai CLE as a state-of-the-art collaboration and learning environment, and the Sakai OAE, as a next generation environment supporting academic practice, will continue to be actively supported and developed. The integration of the two environments, through the Sakai Hybrid work, will significantly enhance institutional capability to support key elements of the academic mission - learning, teaching and research – online.
• Priorities for the Sakai OAE project over the course of the next year include moving to more direct engagement with the broader community, whilst continuing to reflect the necessity of meeting the needs of its primary initial stakeholders and investors. By the end of the coming period (2011-2012) the OAE Project will have charted clear structures and paths, aligned to realistic timescales, by which fractionally contributed resource can be effectively contributed. The Project will therefore be in a position, by the end of this period, then, to meaningfully engage institutions contributing at less than the initial investor level. Long-term sustainability hinges on this transition.
• Recognition that the base of support and development for the Sakai CLE should be expanded and re-energized. The sterling role played by the Sakai CLE Technical Coordination Committee over the last fourteen months provides an excellent base to build on. Other teams supporting the CLE will be rationalized and expanded. Critical dependencies on single individuals will be eliminated or mitigated.
Against this backdrop, the Foundation, TCC and OAE Steering Group are working together to deploy community and Foundation resources more effectively, and taking a fresh look at how we work to support and develop our software.
The initial changes we are making are –
• During the course of September, Anthony Whyte will commence a transition from his central role in technical coordination of the CLE to a principle role in managing the OAE Project. Although Anthony will be joining the OAE project as a dedicated resource, he will retain his membership in the TCC as well as a small set of Foundation responsibilities including that of Community Security Liaison and cCair of the Sakai Fellows Selection Committee
• The TCC and Foundation will work to backfill Anthony’s current role with contributions from the community. These contributions will be led by Indiana University and the University of Michigan, two institutions that are at the forefront of work in both the CLE and OAE software efforts - other TCC members, and other institutions, will step up to other roles. For example, Sam Ottenhoff, a member of the CLE release management work group and current 2.8.x branch manager, has volunteered to replace Anthony as CLE release lead for the upcoming Sakai CLE 2.9.0 release.
• The OAE project will directly fund 50% of Anthony’s effort, and the Foundation the remaining 50%. The Foundation will use this funding to ensure that the TCC is adequately resourced to lead the CLE work into the future.
As the first phase of the OAE Project draws to a close, we say farewell to its current Director, Alan Marks. Alan was engaged to lead the Project through its initial phase, and he’s now turning his attention elsewhere. Alan’s direction has steered the project through rocks and shoals typical of a first year; his expertise and commitment has been invaluable, and he will be missed.
All concerned are aware that any change brings some concomitant risk. We are committed to making the changes effectively, and with a minimum of disruption to either project or the Sakai Community. If you have concerns – or can offer to help – please contact me at email@example.com .