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Contrib: OpenSyllabus


New Sakai GWT Working Group created by Thomas Amsler
Sakai Solo and OpenSyllabus
SAKAI community warmly welcomes GWT in Paris...


Jacques Raynauld
Sacha Lepretre
Claude Coulombe


The OpenSyllabus project seeks to adapt to Sakai an easy to use tool to create and publish model-based syllabi that is currently used at HEC Montreal ( OpenSyllabus differs from the actual syllabus tool found in Sakai release 2.4 in three dimensions.

1. For the instructor : contrary to Syllabus which offers no guidance to the instructor, OpenSyllabus is a template that organizes the material and resources usually found in a course outline in predefined sections (introduction, contact information, learning material, assignments, weekly themes or lectures, etc.). Instructors can thus deposit their electronic resources (ppt, pdf, url, etc.) directly to the right syllabus section and qualify their use (reading, exercise. general resource, etc.).

2. For the students: OpenSyllabus offers a unified interface with a standardized vocabulary for easy navigation through the syllabus for all the course material.

3. For the administrative staff and the general public: OpenSyllabus offers a centralized location were all the university syllabi can be found (current and archived ones). OpenSyllabus seamlessly present public or private versions of the syllabi (depending on the viewing rights) and merge information intended for all registered students of a course or for the students attending a specific section. OpenSyllabus shares the openness objectives found in the MIT OpenCourseWare project.

OpenSyllabus presentation at Sakai Newport Conference 

Video (RealPlayer) - OpenSyllabus presentation at Sakai Paris Conference : A Prototype Tool to Create Structured Syllabi in Sakai

Update on the prototype :

  • The prototype exploits Google Web Toolkit library (GWT to provide a quick and friendly user interface.  The structure and the content of the syllabus are described in a structured XML file.  OpenSyllabus/GWT shell can create, display and modify the XML file which is then stored in Sakai.  The XML file also contains the unique URLs to access all the other resources (Power Point, citation, forum, etc.) contained in the syllabus.  The prototype can thus exploit all the resources and features available in Sakai yet can keep the information in a XML format for possible sharing or export.
  • Three presentations are scheduled at the 9th Sakai conference in Paris:

Screenshot :

The OpenSyllabus prototype...

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titleLatest News

2011-05-30: OpenSyllabus is getting SakaiFriendly
Our current sprint at HEC Montreal is nicknamed SakaiFriendly! Why is that? Well OpenSyllabus has not exactly earned a reputation to be easy to install, nor to be a standard Sakai tool. As our business school is now in full production with Sakai 2.7.1+OpenSyllabus we could finally focus on giving back to the community. You can test OpenSyllabus on a standard Sakai instance at and we'll provide more information in the following weeks about how to get the code. Thanks for your patience!

2009-10-23: OpenSyllabus V9.10 now available
This release features a completely reformatted XML representation (more on this later). We also upgraded the project to GWT 1.7 which means shorter compilation times among other improvements. Our SVN repository is open to anyone kind enough to ask!(smile)

We are getting prepared for a pilot project (starting january 2010 at HEC Montreal) including Sakai 2.6.1 and OpenSyllabus as a replacement for our current Course Outline system (ZoneCours). We are actively testing OpenSyllabus as well as the other tools involved in this pilot (assignment, resources and citations) with the help of 3 new team members (and more to come). Load tests with The Grinder are also being conducted as well as automated functional tests with Selenium. This is getting serious!

2009-10-07: Our Public Test Server now runs OpenSyllabus V9.09
Our public test server at http://osyltest.hec.cais now running OpenSyllabus Version 9.09. This version features a greatly enhanced User Interface inspired from the forthcoming Sakai 3!

2009-05-19: Public Test Server: Version Updated and Address Changed!
Our public test server can now be reached at It has been updated to the version 9.05 which is not yet available otherwise. The main enhancements are the addition of a direct Z39.50 connection to our library (this is configurable) as well as a Citation Browser as showcased at the Stockholm Conference. Several bugs were corrected too.

2009-04-14: New release of OpenSyllabus (version 9.04)
OpenSyllabus is about to enter its first Beta phase. Usability has been highly improved. In the following weeks, teachers and other users from the user advisory committee at HEC Montréal will start testing the component we call OSYLEditor. Other parts of the project are in a work-in-progress state at an alpha-level (OSYLAdmin, OSYLManager, etc.)

2008-11-25: Release Alpha 3
The latest version of OpenSyllabus is deployed on our demo server. Contact us if you want to give it a try!

2008-11-17: Usability Improvements
We are currently working with usability experts from YuCentrik to improve our user interface.

2008-10-06: Open CourseWare Conference
OCWC Conference - September 22-25, 2008 - Logan, Utah (U.S.A.) Jacques Raynauld on OpenSyllabus

2008-09-16: Alpha Version Released
The first release of OpenSyllabus (Alpha) is now available. This is a slighlty improved version of what has been presented in July 2008 at the 9th SAKAI Conference in Paris, France.

titleQuick Access

General information

How to try OpenSyllabus

Technical documentation

titleRelated Info