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Sakai Foundation Board of Directors Conference Call
July 7, 2009

This document contains minutes from the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors meeting held on July 7, 2009.  Corrections and/or suggestions should be sent to Lois Brooks and Mary Miles.

These minutes capture both the discussion and formal resolutions of the Board.  Simply because something was discussed does not mean that it is the agreed-upon position of the Board.  When the Board makes a formal resolution to approve an item, it will be noted as such in the minutes.  If there is no such notation, readers should assume that the minutes are simply the notes of the Board discussions.

Board members present:  John Norman, Josh Baron, Lois Brooks, Clay Fenlason, Joseph Hardin, Stephen Marquard, Lance Speelmon, Michael Korcuska (ex-officio), Mary Miles (staff)

Board members absent:  Jutta Treviranus.

Topic: Product Development Process

Product Council members have been selected and one meeting has been held. A group dinner is planned during the conference, to allow members to become better acquainted.  A Product Manager has been appointed but the paperwork has not been finalized.  That completion is targeted for August 1.

The process for Product Management was reviewed, including establishing formal processes, community criteria and the "role" of the council.  The relationship between the Product Manager and the Product council was also reviewed. The timeline for implementation of this process will be determined by Michael and Clay.

Topic: Finances

The transition from the University of Michigan financial reporting system to Sakai's Quick Books accounting system is complete, including historical transactions.  This will allow for more complete comparative reporting.  The Sakai finances are on an accrual account basis on the revenue side (to allow for 3-year pre-payments) and cash-based accounting on the expense side.  Sakai will also be creating a purchase order system for tracking future expenses.

Tamy Arthur, Sakai Accountant, joined the meeting via conference call to explain the reports provided and to answer any questions. Documents reviewed included the Profit and Loss Statement, Statement of Financial Income and Expenses, Balance sheet, and Cash Position Statement.  Minor modifications were made to the way these documents will be presented in the future.  The Profit and Loss Summary (January-May) shows income in three categories: unrestricted revenue, restricted revenue and conference revenue.  Restricted revenue can only be spent against that category, while expenditures in the unrestricted category need only follow IRS regulations.  More complete details on overall conference expenditures will be provided for the August meeting.

When discussing conference finances, it was suggested that a survey be sent out one week after the conference asking attendees to answer the question: "what was the value for the money?"  The possibility of providing floor space for vendors was also raised, however several Board members felt that building the community was more important than revenue and that the conference should continue to focus on Sakai and not on vendors.  One possible approach would be to ask the commercial affiliates whether they thought they would get a lot of sales out of more vendor focused areas. This continuing discussion will assist in determining the focus of future conferences. This discussion will also provide an opportunity to look at the overall conference and ways in which it should evolve in the future.  A small work-group was suggested to discuss the future of the conference, but this group was not formally formed.

A sub-committee was also suggested to work with Michael on looking at the membership dues model with the option of raising fees to pay for the changing structure of the Foundation.

A fundraising plan will be developed and presented at the August meeting.

Topic: External Board members

Michael noted that while this topic has been discussed fairly broadly, he was seeking advice from the Board as to what expertise would be useful.  Two areas quickly identified were financial and legal expertise.  Another thought was for the formation of an advisory group of 6 or so members to provide input into particular areas of expertise.  This could be done around a particular initiative or a particular focus.  It would also be valuable to have someone on the advisory group who has run an organization that relies on membership to survive.  This conversation will be continued at the August meeting.

Topic: Sakai 3 Branding

Michael reviewed slides from a branding exercise done recently in the US.  He is considering using some of the visual elements as part of the refresh of the website.

Topic: Sakai 3 Update

The Sakai Foundation is publicly committed to Sakai 3. The community is excited, there are not enough committed resources at this time. This needs to change before the end of the calendar year at the latest. Clay added that a big part of his job as Product Manager will be to figure out how to knit people together without short-circuiting the new development process. Michael concluded that his main goal is to get a clear message out as to how to get involved.

The Sakai 3 effort runs a slight risk of splitting the community, freezing adoption, or running out of resources. While there is a huge variation in upgrade needs and timelines, most members will need full functional equivalence. Regardless of how well this is managed, some institutions will not come along to Sakai 3. The hybrid-mode must be a viable option allowing users to upgrade fairly easily. Michael added that people need to see that the hybrid-mode is something that will work. John added that a partially-featured product should be available for release in October and that should help build confidence and allow progress to be made with hybrid-mode.

For institutions asking if they should wait for Sakai 3, the answer in most cases is no. Sakai 2.x works very well today and Sakai 2.x is a good transition to Sakai 3. However, if their individual adoption timeline is 2012 or if there needs are generic collaboration (rather than teaching and learning), the answer could be yes.

Topic: Board chair elections

Mary will send instructions to the Board and conduct voting so that a new Board chair is in place for the August meeting.

With no further business before the Board, the meeting ended at 3:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Miles

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