Euro Sakai 2011 – Amsterdam

Doug Johnson at Euro Sakai 2011 image Ian Dolphin11 people from UK HE attended the European Sakai conference (#EuroSakai). Delegates from the UK represented the following bodies: the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Newcastle, Hull and Leeds and JISC/CETIS.

The highlight of the conference was almost certainly the extended Sakai OAE demonstration.

The OAE is based upon the Sakai Learning Capability Design Lenses: https://confluence.sakaiproject.org/display/PED/Sakai+Learning+Capabilities+v+1.0. OAE is not yet complete but a combination of it and the Sakai CLE running as a Sakai Hybrid do just about cover every aspect. (Sakai CLE tools or sites can easily be displayed within the OAE.)

The scenario that was demonstrated was the construction of a collaborative research projects (with industrial contact). This demonstrates:

  • openness – layers of content opened up at appropriate levels: “unlocking your content”
  • reuse of material
  • collaboration: authoring, review publishing

The demo showed how a student or researcher could go about putting together a research proposal by collecting material from within Sakai OAE and from material located on the web. Then people with similar interests can be found and invited to help collaborative author a proposal. The proosal can then be opened up for evaluation of for public consumption. Collaborators can be from within the University or from external companies / institutions.

Other aspects of OAE were covered during other sessions: NYU spoke about their impressive pilot (http://www.youtube.com/user/nyuatlas) and the project team outlined the two-year road map. The emphasis will be on  integration with Sakai CLE, annotating documents, content collections, lists of people and a widget SDK to allow individuals and institutions to easily develop their own ‘tools’.

The OAE is currently in a very usable state. It has just had it’s first release and is ready for institutions to download and deploy as a pilot

There were many other interesting sessions including presentations about Mobile interfaces (and the Mobile Sakai project, see photo), Open Courseware, the benefits of open source software, new tools, the upcoming ‘Neo’ portal and integration with Internet2 Grouper.

The social side of the conference is also very important and it was nice to hear more about the Sakai initiatives at Leeds, Newcastle and Bath Universities. It is great to see that the word is spreading in the UK.

There have also been many opportunities for UK institutions to engage in collaborative projects with European and American partners. The Sakai Mobile Project is a good example of this.

In summary, it was great to see so many delegates from the UK and also to see that Sakai OAE is now ready for use ‘in anger’.

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