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Institution: Rutgers
Contact: Charles Hedrick

I didn't do a formal [MIG:gap] comparison. However I did look at what we needed to warn faculty about. I see two major differences:

  • In Sakai, the primary place to put content is Resources. It is structured as a set of folders. In WebCT that structure exists, but it's primarily for faculty to keep their material. For students, content is put on organizer pages and in modules. This provides a lot more structure to the presentation. The nearest we can come to this in Sakai is Melete. However Melete isn't as flexible. It is, however (in my judgement) easier to use. When we looked at a sample of sites we were a bit surprised that Melete was able to handle most courses pretty well. But I think structuring the presentation of content is a continuing gap.
  • The other big gap is in tests and quizes:

+ Sakai does not have "computed questions". It appears that only one faculty member is making large-scale use of this. We will make limited WebCT capacity available to that person for another year, at which point we expect to be able to handle that in Sakai.

+ Sakai does not have an equation editor. We expect to support equations for Fall, 2007, but support may not be available until Summer. Thus the one faculty member that is making extensive use of this may prefer to stick with WebCT for another year. (We have licensed WebEQ. That was after I wrote the conversion tool. At this point I could go back and fix the tool so that equations come over properly. I have some issues with WebEQ: because of its dependence on Java, the authoring piece doesn't work reliably on the Mac. Viewing equations works fine.)

+ In short-answer questions, WebCT allows you to specify the correct answer using "regular expressions." This is an advanced feature that is not well documented. It appears that only one person is using this extensively. We believe his regular expressions can be replaced with facilities in Sakai, but it may take significant time to make the conversion. We are prepared to have staff help in this.

+ Many textbook publishers have content formatted for Blackboard and WebCT. Sakai can't immediately input this. We're considering a couple of options. One is to ask faculty to use Repondus as an intermediary. I have preliminary support for Respondus input. The other is to run the content through WebCT. I'm going to look at the licensing implications of that.

As far as development priorities are concerned, I see 3 major issues:

  • need for structured content presentation
  • support for scientific users: equations, graphics, computed questions
  • support for import of content from a variety of other systems
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