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  • Josh Baron Sakai Webinar (June 18, 2009)

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Q: Is there integration functionality with SunGard Banner? If so, then what?
Q: Do you know what the timeframe is for the banner integration with Sakai?
Q: Is there real-time (incoming) SIS integration with Datatel Colleague?
A: Marist plans to integrate Sakai with Banner in 2010. Other universities have integrated Sakai with Banner as well. These include UC Davis, UC Merced, Yale, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, University of Hawaii and Rice.


Q: Can you speak a little more to the SIS integration process?
Q: Was your previous CMS integrated with your SIS?   Did you create course sites for every course or only on request?   Has that changed with Sakai?
Q: What built-in modules are in Sakai to import SIS data from SIS systems? Are there built-in modules (e.g. LDAP) that can authenticate logins from an SIS source in real time? Discover enrollments in the SIS source system?
A: Sakai is typically integrated with the campus SIS. The Sakai wiki contains information about integrating other systems with Sakai.


Rice has 1.85 FTE to support Sakai to support 10,000+ users.   Cerritos College has 2 FTE. Cape Town supports 30,000 users with 3.5 FTE. Claremont Colleges have 5 FTE. These FTE numbers may include roles varying from system administration to instructional design.


Q: What about a math equation editor? Does one exist?
A: Sakai does not contain a math equation editor out-of-the-box, however, some people have been custom-integrating solutions, such as a WebEQ plugin with Sakai's default rich-text editor or LaTeX support. 

Q: Can you do attendance within Sakai?
A: Yes, there are ways of doing this with Sakai. At Marist we generally use the assignments tool to track attendance.
Hosei University in Japan has developed a tool to automatically track attendance using a card reader and student ID cards. This is not part of the default Sakai functionality.

Q: What is the difference between Discussion Forums and Forums?
A: Previously Sakai offered two distinct "forum" tools, one called Discussion and one called Forums.   The former tool has been deprecated, and removed from current releases, in favour of a single-solution, Forums.   Discussion is still available as add-on contrib tool, along with other implementations of "forum" capabilities, such as Yaft.


Q: Does Marist have a programmer contributing code to the project/community?   If so how is it working? What lessons have you learned from that.   Thanks!
A: Marist does contribute some code to the project, mainly support for IBM DB/2 and WebSphere products. Stanford does significant work on Tests & Quizzes and supports others in the community who want to make contributions to that module. University of Deleware notes that there are other ways to contribute as well, by participating in the Teaching & Learning group and helping write use cases and requirements.

Q: According to the licensing arrangements, are changes introduced to Sakai by a commercial firm REQUIRED to be released back to the Sakai community, as is the case with the GPL?
A: No.   First a word on the GPL. It requires changes that are externally distributed to be released under GPL. You can make modifications of GPL code for internal use only without releasing those back to the community.
Sakai's Apache-style license does not have this requirement. This allows Sakai Commercial Affliliates Affiliates to provide value-added options for their customized distributions of Sakai; and, though they are not required, experience has shown they do typically contribute back useful modifications and bug-fixes to the community in a timely fashion.

Q: I did a quick search of Sakai Teaching and Learning Group on Google and couldn't find any informaiton information Do you have a web site?
A: The Teaching and Learning Group has a space on the Sakai wiki.

Q: When will 3.0 be ready for pilot? We are wanting a system by fall 2010 but want to start piloting this fall.
A: If you are looking for a full featured LMS for Fall (northern hemisphere) 2010, Sakai 2.7 will be the best candidate. It will contain some of the features of Sakai 3 and will therefore make an excellent transition point to Sakai 3.
There is information about Sakai 3 on the Sakai Project website and wiki.   Preview versions of 3 will likely become available for piloting starting later this year, however, they will initially only provide partial functionality.   You should consider how you might balance your need for functionality, aversion to risk, and gaining experience early to determine when it would be best for you to begin exploring Sakai 3. 

General UX Questions

Q: I really like Sakai but think it might be hard to train users not to use the ""back"" button, which leads to unpredictable behavior due to the number of iFrames in Sakai. How do you handle that?
A: This was a signifigant problem in early versions of Sakai but has improved over the years. It is not a big issue at Marist.   University of Delaware and Stanford University confirm that it is not a significant issue for them.   It is unlikely to be a problem in Sakai 3, which is being designed with back-button support in mind.