Technical Notes and Maintenance Release Information
Highlights in the Sakai 11 release include:
Responsive User Interface
The user interface in Sakai 11 has been completely redesigned in order to provide powerful new capabilities and a clean, modern design. The new interface, code-named Morpheus, features a number of functional enhancements framed by a responsive, iframe-less tool structure. This new design provides an optimized user experience on any device, from desktop computers to smartphones. And thanks to improved style sheets, developers can easily modify the Sakai 11 interface to create their own customized skins. Features include:
GradebookNG (New tool)
Designed to provide faster, easier grade-entry capabilities, the Sakai 11 Gradebook is centered around a new spreadsheet-style interface. Fully compatible with legacy Gradebook content, the new Gradebook tool provides a number of functional enhancements, including:
Lessons Tool Enhancements
Thanks to an improved tool interface and a number of functional enhancements, the Lessons tool in Sakai 11 is more powerful and flexible than ever before. Content authoring/presentation is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of new, multi-column layouts. And with a host of additional features, it is easier than ever to develop innovative content, especially student-generated content. These include:
PA System (New tool)
The PA System provides Sakai administrators with the ability to deliver timely alert banners and popups system-wide or to targeted sets of users within their Sakai instance. From simple banners at the top of the interface to fully customizable popup notifications, this system provides system admins with new and powerful ways to keep their users informed. Features include:
Improved Tests & Quizzes
Online assessments are one of the core features of a learning management system, and in Sakai 11, the Tests & Quizzes tool benefits from a number of enhancements. Using funds raised from the 2014 Sakai Virtual Conference, the Samigo Tests & Quizzes Enhancements Project (STEP) produced a number of new features and improvements, including:
Contact Us (New tool)
New to Sakai 11, the Contact Us tool provides powerful feedback functionality for every course/project site. By offering up to four different contact pathways within a single form, users can quickly and easily direct their questions/feedback to the correct individual/group. And with one click, the Contact Us tool can send an email to an institution’s helpdesk, with all relevant info automatically included (e.g., site URL, username, browser and version, plugins installed, etc.). Contact pathways include:
Designed to present mathematics natively, Sakai 11 can now display LaTeX equations as mathematical notation on most pages. Using new LaTeX options, user can simply write LaTeX in an enabled tool and the resulting equation will be displayed beautifully. LaTeX updates include:
By default, it is now possible to publish Sakai calendars. This can be done in one of two ways a) make the calendar publicly accessible (for non-sensitive calendars) or b) privately publish the calendar with a non-guessable URL (for calendars containing sensitive information). The most useful feature of these new options is that students can subscribe to their Home (formerly My Workspace) calendar which contains a collated listing of events from all sites that the student is a member of. Students will be able to subscribe to the sakai calendar URL from their favourite calendaring application. (This is not a snapshot of events as the link is dynamic.)
File Browser (New tool)
The new file browser, which is based on elFinder (http://studio-42.github.io/elFinder/), is used when browsing for files (documents, images, movies etc.) from within the WYSIWYG HTML editor. Compared to the Sakai 10 file browser, it has a much smoother interface and enhanced functionality such as icon view, document preview, file management (copy, paste etc) and view file properties.
Softly Delete Sites
By default, when a site is deleted it is now only actually ‘softly deleted’ and will be recoverable for a period of 30 days (this value is configurable). To recover a site, use the Worksite Setup tool, select “Softly deleted sites” and choose the sites that you wish to restore. System administrators will need to configure the Quartz Job (‘Purge Deleted Sites’) that cleans out the deleted sites.
Message Bundle Manager (New admin tool)
With the Message Bundle Manager, Sakai Administrators can find and edit system message properties, which define UI text for Sakai components in various languages. This feature is off by default. To turn it on, have your administrator add
load.bundles.from.db=true to sakai.properties.
Additional Support for Industry Standards
In Sakai 11, the following standards are now supported (in addition to existing support in 10.x for LTI 1.1, IMS Common Cartridge, and IMS QTI).
VeriCite and Turnitin pre-packaged in Sakai 11.1
NB: The intention was to get this incorporated in 11 or a maintenance release, but to-date the work is not in Sakai. There are code contributions awaiting approval. Projected completion is for Sakai 12 (2017 Q2 projected release) followed by likely backport into Sakai 11.
Complete List of Features, Tasks, and Contributions