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Welcome to the Apereo Teaching and Learning (T&L) Group!

The T&L Group Mission

To drive innovation on teaching and learning within the Apereo community. To share best practices, understandings and experiences among faculty members themselves and between faculty and other Apereo community members. To communicate the goals and issues of the teaching and learning community to contributors in Apereo projects (like Sakai, Xerte, etc.) including developers, UX (user experience), system administrators, documentation, support, and QA (quality assurance).

Hello and welcome!

This confluence site is the gathering place for folks interested in teaching, learning and assessment within the Sakai community. We are actively looking for more folks to contribute so please wander around and jump in wherever you wish.  You may also want to join the "Teaching & Learning" (i.e. "pedagogy") discussion group. If you have questions e-mail Joshua Baron

Sign up for our Mailing Lists on our Communications Page .

T&L 2013-2016 Initiatives

UPDATE (2015-2016) Add your ideas on organizing a course using the Lessons tool on this page: Lessons - Ideas on Organizing a Course.

UPDATE (Dec, 2014) - A new page T&L Showcase is now available within this space. This page will serve as a repository of demonstrations or ideas discussed in the Teaching and Learning Weekly Conference Call.

UPDATE (May, 2014) - Following the completion of a "proof-of-concept" Teaching and Learning Capability Review of the Lessons/Lesson Builder tool, the group has decided to focus initially on a major User Interface (UI) redesign of the Lessons tool before identifying new capabilities to introduce which could also create more UI complexity.  We are now seeking contributions for a Lessons Enhancement Project which we hope to begin in June with the goal of having a major redesign of the Lessons UI for inclusion in Sakai 11.

UPDATE (Feb. 19, 2014) - Following productive discussions at the Apereo Camp "unconference" in January, the group has begun, in addition to continuing the work noted below, on a vision for a "next generation" LMS.  This is very early thinking which the group is surfacing as means to get broad community input and reaction to as initial ideas are forming.  There is also recognition that realization of this vision will require significant new resources and time to develop.

UPDATE (October 7, 2013) - The Teaching and Learning Group has finalized a draft approach and format for producing a Teaching and Learning Capability Review Report for Sakai and has began to work on an initial draft focused on the Lesson Builder/Lessons tool.  We are looking for more folks from the community to engage at this point, if you are interested please join our weekly call (details below) or email Josh Baron.  Some useful resources related to this work are at:

UPDATE (August 7, 2013) - After a series of conference calls following the Open Apereo conference (see confluence page below for meeting notes), the Sakai Teaching and Learning Group has begun to develop plans to engage in a process to review the Lesson Builder/Lessons tool being developed by Rutgers University (and others) as means to identify new capabilities and new user interface designs that would enhance its use from a teaching and learning perspective.  Our hope is that this process, once matured, could become a model for work with other Sakai tools and capabilities as well as means to engage in longer-term strategic planning for the product.  An early draft process document is being worked on and everyone in the community is encouraged to contribute to this effort.  We would like to begin this work in late August or early September.

UPDATE (June 20, 2013) - The Sakai Teaching and Learning (T&L) Group held a "gathering" at the recent Open Apereo conference in San Diego to discuss the future priorities for the group and new roles it could play.  The T&L Group is holding a series of follow up planning phone conferences to continue these discussions with the goal of identifying areas of interest and focus for the coming year and groups who are interested in engaging in these areas.  All are welcome to participate in these calls.  Call schedules and notes from prior calls can be found on our Conference Call Wiki page Information on the groups prior work can be found below in our Archive section.


T&L 2011-2016 Initiatives

Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award (TWSIA) - The TWSIA committee is starting work on the award for 2016. If you are interested in participating in the planning, communications, or judging of this award for 2016, please enter your name and contact information on the TWSIA 2016 page in the committee members list.

Teaching and Learning with OAE - As of 2012, the new administrative home of the combined T&L Learning Capabilities Design Lenses group, the Portfolio Visioning group, and the newly formed Teaching and Learning with OAE group, is the Sakai OAE server To participate, register for an account there and join the group. Refer to the "Meeting Information" item for further details.

  Sakai Learning Capabilities Design Lenses - The design lenses have became an important touchpoint with the requirements for Sakai 3. As the Sakai 3 project moves forward, this group is working closely with the product manager and the resources dedicated to the Sakai 3 Managed Project to translate the design lenses into functional requirements that can be used in the development of Sakai 3.  This effort would likely then inform a refining of the Lenses and a 2.0 release.

Teaching with Sakai Webinar Series - At the 2011 Sakai Conference, there was substantial interest in establishing a monthly, live, synchronous, online course (or project site) demonstration by faculty at different Sakai institutions. The intent is to provide examples to interested community members and to highlight the wonderful wealth of resources in our Sakai community! This can be an exciting professional development opportunity for all of us -- and your participation is essential to our collective success.Goal: Host one presentation per month beginning in September 2011 - May 2012 -- and represent a variety of institution types, disciplines, and countries. Please visit the planning page for more information. Webinars for 2012 - 2013

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The Sakai Learning Capabilities v 1.0 document has been released. This document is the culmination of months of work by the Sakai Teaching & Learning Community via conference calls and virtual meetings. Discussions at the last conference were the catalyst for this work. Now we anticipate this work will be a catalyst for Sakai 3 design and development.

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T&L 2010-2016 Initiatives
  1. Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award Committee This group is leading the process to define and execute the Teaching with Sakai Innovation Awards. The group is responsible for organizing and facilitating the judging and award process, recruiting judges, and encouraging submissions.
  2. Sakai Learning Capabilities Design Lenses - The design lenses have became an important touchpoint with the requirements for Sakai 3. As the Sakai 3 project moves forward, this group is working closely with the product manager and the resources dedicated to the Sakai 3 Managed Projectto translate the design lenses into functional requirements that can be used in the development of Sakai 3.  This effort would likely then inform a refining of the Lenses and a 2.0 release.
    1. Design Lenses Brainstorming Page Provides background information about the brainstorming and conference discussions that informed the project.
  3. Distance Learning Community -The distance learning community is focused specifically on the use of Sakai in fully online courses. The group hopes to share best practices, faculty training, and support materials related to distance learning. The group will also consider options for faculty across institutions to engage in professional development (online) together.
    1. Sakai Distance Learning Brainstorming Page - Provides background information about the brainstorming and conference discussions that informed the project.
  4. Student Engagement in the Community - Students are an important constituent of the Sakai community whose active participation in the community is not visible. This group is focused on identifying initial steps to engage students in the community in a more active and visible manner.

In support of these efforts, the T&L community is actively managing the communications both within and across the groups. Please view the following page to review and provide feedback the communications plans and priorities of the T&L community. The intent of this effort is to both increase engagement and more easily share the work of this group with those that cannot commit time to be actively involved. Please do not hesitate to provide feedback on the communications efforts. T&L Communications
The communications team is also in the process of refining the strategy for enhancement and use of the Open Ed Practices site. Input and plans on the use of the site are captured at Open Ed Practices Planning and Feedback.

Each of the initiative groups will hold regular meetings. Please see the calendar of T&L group events.

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Past Teaching and Learning Group Initiatives
  • Instructional Visioning - Initiative to produce "tool/technology agnostic" visions of the types of instructional practices Sakai should facilitate and support.
  1. Instructional Visioning Proposal
    • UPDATE (11/12/09): We are currently documenting Learning Capabilities from a user-centric perspective in a Google Spreadsheet.
    • UPDATE (01/13/10):  We are Defining "Themes" and "Activity Workflows" for further development in the Virtual Working Session (see above), to extract guidance from the Learning Capabilities spreadsheet.
  2. Instructional Visioning Efforts (past formulations of teaching and learning requirements)
  • Sakai Instructional Technology Trend Report - Initiative to produce an annual report that identifies instructional technology trends which may impact on Sakai in a 2-3 year window.
  • Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award - Started in 2008, this program aims to highlight examples of educational applications of Sakai which are considered innovative or transformative in nature.
  • Pre-conference Teaching and Learning Workshops - Each year we work to organize a pre-conference workshop that focused on sharing teaching and learning best practices.
  • Contribute to - A community of practice for teaching and learning with open/community-source tools.

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  1. I have added some pedagogical questions that we need to focus on, I think.
    I know that some other Europeans are working on this subject too. I will try to point them to this page and ask them to share their thoughts over here.
    For sure, we will be discussing this issue in Lubeck on the European Sakai Day (

  2. I think the questions that were pointed out by Wytze are really what the educational requirements are about. Other issues are too often interpreted in terms of functionality / components in Sakai. One of the conclusions at the Lubeck conference is that we now should really focus more on the learners. They are the real stakeholders here.

  3. I agree with Stanley here and liked the question that Wytze added...

    I think these thoughts related to my feeling that the pedagogy group may want to try and focus more "purely" on instructional issues related to teaching and learning with Sakai and stear away from technical issues. This comment is by no means an attempt to minimize the importance of the technical "challenges", particular those related to UX issues, that we as the Sakai community face today. These, in my opinion, are critical issues and ones that need to take top priority right now within the community.

    My feeling is just that we already have a lot of folks focused on and discussing these technical and UI issues (I'm involved in these on a limited basis myself). Since these discussion are already being moved forward, I have begun to think that this is a good time for some of us to focus more exclusively on the uses of Sakai, as it is today, in ways that can truly innovate the teaching and learning process.

    Although I recognize (and struggle myself in my role at my institution to deal with them) that the tools within Sakai are not perfect (yet) and can be limiting at times for instructors, I also believe that they can be used in very powerful ways, as they are today, to radically improve how we teach and students learn.

    I've started to try and stimulate a discussion on this and plan for some related sessions in Newport along with many others on the Pedagogy DG so if there are others with an interest in this topic please join that list on Collab and jump into the discussion!