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Moving Content Around

Sakai has a need to manage content in bulk. In the past (going all the way back to CHEF), Sakai supported an archiving feature that allowed course sites to be saved and later used to initialize new courses. Archiving isn't the end of the story, however. Sakai needs to provide migration strategies from other learning platforms and enable publishers to install content into specified courses. Finally, standards are emerging to simplify this, largely based on the IMS Global Learning Content Package Specification and it's derived profiles, Course Cartridge in particular.

This site is focused on moving content in various ways. The following sections define the major sub-projects.


Sakai archiving has been identified as a highly desired, short term
goal. Site archviing has been part of Sakai since the CHEF days, and
this new effort will include backwards compatibility for old Sakai
archives. New work will focus on supporting the IMS Content Package as
an archiving format for Sakai - initially for import, and later for

The Archiving sub-project is led by Michelle Wagner at Indiana U.
Participants.: Zach Thomas, Mike Osterman, Aaron Zeckoski, Mark Norton, Joshua Ryan

Archiving Goals

  • Import
    • Legacy Sakai archives
      • Content Files
      • Announcements
      • Forum entries
      • Assessments
    • Sakai Content Package Archive
  • Export
    • Sakai Site Content to Content Package

Learning Platform Migration

Sakai is an OPEN collaboration and learning environment. As such, there is a strong desire to make it easy to move content to and from other learning and course management systems. The learing platform migration sub-project is focused on providing a means to exchange content with other systems including BlackBoard, WebCT, Moodle, and others.

A table showing roughly comparable tools in various LMS/CMSes is available here.  

The Vendor Specific Migration sub-project is let by Zach Thomas.
Participants: Zach Thomas, Mark Norton

Migration Goals

  • Import
    • BlackBoard 5.5 Content
    • WebCT (version tbd) Content
    • Desire2Learn Content
    • Angel Content
    • Moodle (version tbd) Content
  • Export
    • TBD

A Tour of the Code

The new import mechanism has been hammered into shape for Sakai 2.3. It went through some last-minute refactorings to try to loosen some dependencies, as well as finding a new home in the archive/ module. Now is a good time to explain where everything is and what it does.

take the tour

Course Cartridge

The IMS Global Learning Consortium is currently engaged with defining a profile for the Content Package specification that will allow content to be packaged and installed in a learning environment in a manner that protects intellectual property rights and provides information on how that content will be accessed and used.

It was mentioned at the IMS Course Cartridge briefing that CC might be an ideal way to distribute content from digital libraries. We should investigate how support for CC can broaden the capabilities of Twin Peaks and Sakaibrary.

The Common Cartridge sub-project is led by Mark Norton:
Participants: Mark Norton, Kevin Gary, Dan McCallum.

Migration Goals

  • Import
    • Install Course Cartridge
  • Export
    • Content to Course Cartridge

Portable Portfolios

The IMS Global Learning Consortium has developed an interchange specification for portfolios. This specification would allow portfolios to be imported and exported to Sakai allowing them to be interchanged with any other portfolio system that implements the standard.

Migration Goals

  • Import Portfolio
  • Export Portfolio

Open Courseware Support

The lead developer of the Sakai/OCW work is Zhen Qian. She can show you where areas of overlap between the CC, migration, etc work would be. In this vein, have you made contact with Anne Margulies at MIT? She is very interested in the Sakai/OCW work and it may act as a driver for the installation of Sakai at MIT. That would be good in a number of ways.

The OCW sub-project is led by Zhen Qian of U. Michigan.

Migration Architecture

Currently we have two architectures in the archiving part of Sakai: support for the old archive structure started in CHEF at Michigan and being expanded by Indiana, and a newer architecture based on IMS Content Package developed by Zach Thomas. This group will focuse on generalizing architecture support for archiving, import, and export.

The Architecture sub-project is let by Zach Thomas and Mark Norton
Participants: Zach Thomas, Mark Norton, Kevin Gary

Site Contents

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  1. Hi Zack--

    Any work on an import tool for Blackboard content, calendaring, discussion lists, etc. going on?

    Came up in a meeting yesterday and I didn't have an answer.


    Mike Elledge

    1. A very crufty and unmaintainable tool has been in contrib since last August. In spite of its shortcomings, we use it in production here at Texas State. It does files, announcements, discussion forums (it just creates empty forums with the right names), weblinks, a weak version of Staff Info, and recently I added question pools to it. It only supports version 5.5 of Blackbaord.

      I am working on a new design that will be more maintainable and will make it easier to extend for supporting different archive formats like WebCT, IMS Common Cartridge, etc.

      old code:
      new code:

  2. Hi, Zach
    I installed the new ims-common-cartidge code with Sakai2.1.2. How can we test it out to import content from Bb? Any notes or documents? I did not see any new tool after integrated "import".
    Grace Wang