Sakai @ UF

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About Sakai

Sakai is the new course management system for the University of Florida. Read on to learn more.

Sakai is Open Source

Sakai is distributed as free and open source software under the Educational Community License. Access to this code is extremely valuable should UF need to customize our installation or wish to develop innovative new tools. Open source code is also important to the entire Sakai community. As any institution makes updates and improvements those changes can be added to the Sakai code base, removing the need for UF to create every customization as we grow the use of the system. Furthermore, the open source code serves as the ultimate insurance policy, ensuring that we aren't locked into a single vendor.

"Free" in this context must be understood as "as in a puppy." In other words, getting the puppy (software) is free but there are many expenses associated with feeding and caring for the puppy. For Sakai, these expenses include purchasing hardware supporting and maintaining the system; not to mention user training, help desk support, and programming to fix problems and develop new features and functions desired by the UF community.

Who is Using Sakai?

The Sakai CLE is the enterprise course management system of choice at over 160 educational institutions [http://www.sakaiproject.org/portal/site/sakai-home/page/29186420-3b36-4381-9d53-bba4d17b6f1f], in production settings ranging from 200 to 200,000 users.

Background

The Sakai Project was first announced in November 2003 and began in earnest in early 2004 when Stanford, Michigan, Indiana, MIT and Berkeley, with funding from the Mellon Foundation, began building a common Courseware Management System rather than continuing their homegrown systems or licensing software from a commercial vendor. In March 2004 the Sakai Community was launched as the Sakai Educational Partners Program with 19 founding institutions.

These universities recognized that research collaboration would be as important as course sites and therefore developed a Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) that scales across many kinds of academic uses.

Sakai 1.0 was released in June 2004 and the Sakai Foundation was incorporated in October 2005. By December 2005 the Sakai Community counted more than 100 institutions with 12 commercial affiliates including Apple and IBM.

The Sakai Community

The Sakai community draws on the contributions of many organizations and individuals around the world. The Sakai community is responsible for all aspects of evolving the Sakai CLE. No one is closer to the needs of users than the teams designing and developing Sakai. The Sakai CLE is truly designed by higher education, for higher education. Members of the Sakai community believe this community-driven development model will inevitably lead to the best product for use on campus. Whether large or small, institutions may also opt to work with Sakai commercial partners which offer hosting, development and support options.

The Sakai Foundation

The Sakai Foundation is a member supported non-profit corporation with a small staff and modest budget. While membership in the Foundation is optional, over 100 organizations around the world, including UF, support the foundation so that it can continue its important community activities. These include managing the intellectual property of Sakai, organizing conferences and planning meetings, maintaining the Sakai technology infrastructure including the bug tracking system and project wiki, coordinating development activities and quality assurance, publishing the Sakai CLE releases and functioning as a public advocate for Sakai.