Blackboard users switch to Sakai (WebLearn)

332px-Sakai_Logo.svgThis article is an interesting read  and has good words about Sakai: Blackboard loses high-profile clients as its rivals school it in innovation.

We’re hoping that the release Sakai 11 (early next year) will turn more heads and cause another stir amongst the Blackboard community.

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WebLearn upgraded to version 2.10-ox5

WebLearn was upgraded between 17th and 19th August 2015 to version 2.10-ox5. If you want more details then please contact the WebLearn Team.

If you would like to suggest further improvements then please do so by contributing to the WebLearn User Voice feedback service.

Improvements

  • Brand new authoring of Reading Lists – NB this currently only works when using Firefox, cross-browser support will be added in due course. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
    • can add nested sections and subsections – these will ultimately be reflected in the ‘student view’
    • can add explanatory text to each section
    • this work is not yet complete and is being undertaken as part of the ORLiMS Innovation Fund Project
  • Lessons: One can now add or link to multiple files at once
  • Site Info: Paging at bottom of Site Info Participant list as well as at the top – this was a User Voice request
  • Researcher Training Tool: Administration Interface is no longer grouping on ‘teachingDetails’ instead of term.
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Have you ever wondered how the Sakai CLE is governed?

332px-Sakai_Logo.svgThe Sakai Project Management Committee (PMC) is a group of dedicated individuals from various Sakai institutions who provide direction and leadership to the community and Sakai project.

The Project Management Committee is the body responsible for strategic oversight of the Sakai project and operates based on meritocratic principles of member selection, and consensus based decision making taken in an open and transparent manner.

The PMC comprises 17 full members (plus 5 Emeritus members). Two of the full members are from Oxford University (Adam Marshall and Matthew Buckett) which means that Oxford has quite a bit of influence on the future direction of Sakai.

The PMC meets informally with a lot of work being undertaken at the annual conference; other decisions are made via email conversations. If you have any ideas that you would like to be taken forward to the PMC then please let us know via the usual channels.

The PMC is part of Apereo Foundation whose staff members provide support to both the PMC and the Sakai community in general.

 

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Sakai (WebLearn) Virtual Conference 2015: “The Future of the Learning Management System is Open” – Register Now

Sakaiger

Sakaiger

Date: November 4, 2015

URL: http://virtconf.apereo.org/

Hashtag: #SakaiVC15

Registration is open for the Sakai Virtual Conference. Registration is $50 per person, with all proceeds going toward Sakai feature development. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide input on the enhancements they would like to see in Sakai.

The Sakai Virtual Conference will take place entirely online on Wednesday, November 4, 2015.  You’ll attend presentations in concurrent session webinar rooms, ask the presenters live questions, and get the conference experience without the expense of travel. There will be opportunities for networking and informal discussions, as well as a chance to win prizes donated by our sponsors. The “conference location” will be in Sakai, and we will be using Sakai tools such as Lessons, Forums, etc. to facilitate interaction among attendees. If you are comfortable in Sakai, you will easily engage in this virtual experience.

The program is still being finalized. However, there will be information sessions, interactive, small-group discussions, a UX testing track, and a two-hour Spanish language track prior to the main conference. Find out how your peers are using Sakai at their institutions! Presentations will focus on effective teaching and learning practices, online pedagogy, and engaging students using technology.

The Sakai Virtual Conference is a unique opportunity to network with your peers and share stories and best practices in an online venue.

Register today and stay tuned for publication of the full program!

Neal Caidin, Sakai Community Coordinator, Apereo Foundation

Wilma Hodges, Sakai Virtual Conference 2015 Planning Committee Chair

Ian Dolphin, Executive Director, Apereo Foundation

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The Legend of the Sakaiger

Sakaiger

Sakaiger

Ever wondered about that cuddly blue and white cat that keeps popping up? Well, wonder no more – I have just discovered that he’s got his very own web site: http://www.sakaiger.com/

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WebLearn upgraded to version 2.10-ox4

WebLearn was upgraded on 4th August 2015 to version 2.10-ox4. If you want more details then please contact the WebLearn Team. For more detailed information and other minor changes, please looked at the detailed release notes.

If you would like to suggest further improvements then please do so by contributing to the WebLearn User Voice feedback service.

Improvements

This release sees WebLearn move to a brand new source of course and unit groups. This new service (‘Group Store’) has a better naming scheme and more accurate membership.  This has been a major piece of work.

For course groups it partitions (non-rusticated) suspended students into a separate group – you will notice that when you add a course group, a certain proportion of the students will be given the ‘suspended’ role. Every WebLearn site contains the ‘suspended’ role and the rights that these students are assigned have been set up in collaboration with the Education Committee.

Unit groups are now more granular and there are groups for a unit’s staff and also for students.

We have spent many hours comparing the membership of groups between the old and new systems and are convinced that the new groups are correct, however, would ask that you take time to check that groups on your sites appear to be correct. Please let us know if you have concerns.

  • The Quick Links menu now includes Oxford talks, behaves in the same way as the My Sites menu (User Voice suggestion), is ordered alphabetically and uses individual service logo icons for clarity
  • Sign-up tool: reminder email no longer comes from postmaster@weblearn.ox.ac.uk, it comes from the organiser
  • Site Members tool no longer ignores privacy status (“Hide me in this site”)
  • Copying a reading list within a site is now possible
  • The presentation of reading lists has been greatly improved with thumbnails of book covers where available
  • Resources that are not visible to access users due to timed-release are now greyed out in ‘access view’ (User Voice suggestion)
  • The label of “Site Info > Manage Subgroups > Joinable Set” has been changed to to “Joinable Group” – a Joinable Group is a subgroup that a student can elect to join if they see fit
  • Files uploaded from within the Lessons tool are now stored in a hidden sub-folder in resources
  • The number of files that can be uncompressed from with a zipfile has been increased to 10,000
  • Researcher Training Tool
    • A number of bugs have been fixed
    • SES has been changed to to RTT in emails that the system sends out
    • OLI have been added as a training provider
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WebLearn unavailable on Tuesday 4th August 2015 from 7-9am

cisco-routerWe plan to upgrade WebLearn to version 2.10-ox4 on Tuesday 4th August 2015 7-9am. There will be no service during this period.

We apologise for any inconvenience that this essential work may cause.

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Sakai Has Greater User Satisfaction Than Moodle or Canvas

Sakaiger

Sakaiger

I saw an interesting report into customer satisfaction of Learning Management Systems (aka VLEs) by the G2 crowd today which shows that there is a higher satisfaction amongst Sakai (WebLearn) users than amongst Moodle or Canvas users.

I know the sample size is fairly small but it still means that we’re doing something right!

G2 Crowd‘s strap-line is “Compare the best business software with G2 Crowd’s industry-leading review platform”

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Now Open! Call for Proposals for the Sakai Virtual Conference 2015

Sakaiger

Sakaiger

Here’s an announcement about this year’s Sakai Virtual Conference which is to be held in the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 4th November. (Sakai is of course the software upon which WebLearn is based.) 

It would be fabulous if Oxford could build upon the success of Lucy Tallents’ TWSIA 2015 Award and showcase some more of the most excellent work that is taking place at Oxford. The central WebLearn team will be very happy to support and individuals or teams who plan to submit a proposal.

Even if you don’t propose a virtual session, why not mark the date in your diary and plan to attend the conference? As noted above, due to the difference in time zones, the conference will start in the afternoon and run into the evening, however, there is no compulsion to attend every minute of the conference!

Now Open! Call for Proposals for the Sakai Virtual Conference 2015

You are invited to submit a proposal for this year’s Sakai Virtual Conference! The premise of the virtual conference is simple: An On-line, Sakai Teaching and Learning focused conference to connect with colleagues across the globe, share stories and best practices, and envision how you might use Sakai in the future. You can enjoy interaction with your peers in the Sakai community, all without leaving home!

We are actively seeking presenters who are knowledgeable about teaching with Sakai. You don’t need to be a technical expert to share your experiences! Submit your proposal today! The deadline for submissions is September 6th, 2015.

This on-line event will emphasize the use of Sakai for teaching and learning, although there will also be some technical sessions in the program. The conference committee has planned the following tracks/session types:

  • Faculty Course Showcase – Demonstrate exemplary instructional strategies and course design by showcasing your course.
  • Instructional Design/Support – How do you support your end users?  Share best practices for instructional design, training, and professional development at your institution.
  • Effective or Innovative Practice – Are you using Sakai in a unique or uniquely effective way? For example, are you doing something innovative in Mobile/Responsive Design or Accessibility? Show us your effective or innovative practice!
  • Learning Analytics - How are you using Learning Analytics in conjunction with your Sakai LMS to promote institutional objectives? Have you implemented a dashboard or student intervention success plan, Learning Records Store, xAPI, etc.?
  • Technical Session – Do you have a topic that would be of interest to Sakai developers or IT staff? Would you like to demo new features or functionality coming in Sakai 11? Present on a technical topic “under the hood” of Sakai.
  • Birds of a Feather – Lead an informal/unstructured online discussion about a topic of your choice.
  • Lightning Talks – Do you have a project or perspective you’d like to share? Maybe you have an idea to improve Sakai that you’d like to promote? Lightning talks are 5 minute presentations which will be combined into an exciting and fast-paced conference session.
  • UX Testing – We will be conducting live usability testing during the conference. Do you have a research question and test script you’d like to propose as part of our UX track? Help us improve the Sakai user interface through UX testing!
  • Sakai en Español - Envía tu presentación sobre cualquiera de estos temas en español. (Note: The Spanish track will begin two hours prior to the main conference sessions so that attendees have the option to attend the presentations in Spanish as well as other conference tracks.)

The Sakai Virtual Conference will take place entirely on-line on Wednesday, November 4th.  You’ll make your presentation in a virtual “room,” take live questions from the audience, and get the conference experience without the expense of travel. There will be opportunities for networking and informal discussions, as well as a chance to win prizes donated by our sponsors.

Help us make this year’s Sakai Virtual Conference a success!

We look forward to your proposal!

http://virtconf.apereo.org/home/call-for-proposals

Sincerely,

Ian Dolphin, Executive Director, Apereo Foundation
Neal Caidin, Sakai Community Coordinator, Apereo Foundation
Wilma Hodges, Sakai Virtual Conference 2014 Planning Committee Chair

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A step in the right direction

At the heart of the WISE project is the aim to improve the student experience of WebLearn.  Here is a word cloud which describes the aims of the project.

Cloud_WISE_blog_large

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