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Are you interested in contributing to the Sakai project as part of Google Summer of Code 2014?  Then this page is for you! 

Scroll down for an introduction to Sakai, project ideas proposed by our mentors, and tips on making your application.  Sakai has applied as a mentor organization again this year; please check the GSoC 2014 site for program schedule dates.

About Sakai

Sakai is an open source system that supports technology-enabled teaching, learning, research and collaboration for education. It is primarily deployed as Learning Management System / Virtual Learning Environment (pick your preferred term) by more than 350 educational organizations, and is actively maintained and developed by contributors based at universities and commercial partners. Sakai is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014.

Features Overview

The Sakai is very widely used every day and has over 4 million educational users.  Usually deployed for a whole institution, users create 'sites' for learning management (e.g. associated with lecture courses), research collaboration (e.g. on a particular research project or research group), project collaboration (e.g. for course designers or final-year projects) or e-Portfolios (for learners to assemble portfolios of work they can use to reflect on and evidence their skills).  Each site is a shared space for its members, and its creator chooses a suite of 'tools' to use within the site.  Users work in one tool at a time.  There are many built-in tools, e.g. file sharing, announcements, wiki, forum; and even more contrib tools, e.g. opensyllabus. 

You can learn more about Sakai on the official information page.


Most people working on Sakai work at educational institutions using it, so in effect it is developed by universities and colleges for universities and colleges.  The community is still run on open source principles, but this is a bit different from archetypal OSS projects where people contribute in their spare time, so we sometimes make a distinction by calling it "community source" rather than "open source".  We use the Educational Community Licence 2.0 (FAQ), which is OSI certified and is a minor variant of Apache 2. The Sakai community organizes itself and its work using a typical suite of OSS tools:

  • an official project site for letting everyone know what we're doing, why they should be interested and how to get involved
  • project blog to keep everyone up to date and share what's on our minds
  • mailing lists for support and discussion
  • wiki (Confluence, also kindly contributed free by Atlassian) for plans and documentation
  • an issue tracker (JIRA, also kindly contributed free by Atlassian) for managing bugs and feature requests
  • source version control system for managing collaboratively-developed code (Subversion)

Organization Administrators

  • Seth Theriault
  • Aaron Zeckoski

Project Mentors

  • In recruitment


Sakai is developed and a series of standard Java web applications (usually called tools) running in a Java servlet container (commonly Apache Tomcat). It uses the Spring Framework as a base for the Kernel and Component Manager which manages the Sakai services and allows the Sakai tools (webapps) to communicate.

Individual tools (webapps) use a variety of technologies (e.g. Spring MVC, RSF, JSF, Velocity, etc.) but plug in to the CLE Kernel to access core services.


This list is currently building, while we recruit mentors.  Each mentor gets to propose their own project ideas. 

Once you've got to grips with Sakai yourself you might find you've thought of an idea you'd love to work on.  That hasn't happened very often in the past but we love it when it does.  You'll still need a Sakai mentor though so you'll need to get on the Sakai Developers mailing list as early as possible, whip up some enthusiasm and recruit yourself a mentor.

0. Example project

Mentors: please enter your proposals here. Proposals should summarise what the project is about, provide some motivation for it, briefly outline important technologies and skills, and if necessary a short description of the kind of candidate you think the project would suit.  Also, a little advice on getting started can help candidates make a good application.

Mentor: <mentor name>
Tracker URL / Discussion page: <confluence link if available>
Initial Assignment (for accepted students during socialization period, plus anyone who can't wait to get started)

If you have questions or want to discuss your ideas, try sakai-dev list, then the project mentor directly (unless you don't have one yet).  We will always try our best to respond and give advice, but please be patient as sometimes we have a lot of questions to answer.

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