woensdag, juli 26, 2006

Grading in Europe: Sakai 2.2 does it!

As Frank mentioned in the previous post, the Dutch perspective on Sakai would be shared here. This is a first post from the perspective of the University of Twente (a little background: we are planning on running some pilots with Sakai 2.2 from the start of September, which marks the beginning of the new 'collegejaar').
In the past weeks we have been talking with several teachers about what they want before their first pilot with Sakai can actually happen. They had several remarks, but they where quite positive in general. Their most important remarks were twofold:
  • that the concept of roles and users was a bit confusing (questions like "Who exactly can create a projectsite?" we are looking into that right now)
  • the way the grading works is completely unusable in our Dutch context
Well, actually regarding the second remark, we have looked at Sakai 2.1.1. where this is absolutely true. And even worse: this seemed to be quite hard-coded also.
But now we have Sakai 2.2! As of 2.2, configurable database-stored grading scales are supported. This is exactly what we have been looking for. The scales are referred to only when creating a gradebook. From then on, the gradebook’s mappings of those scales to percentages stay under the control of the instructor.
So, it now is quite easy for us to use our Dutch grading schemes (1 to 10, where 1 means "very very bad") or any other alternative scheme that you can think of.
If you want more current information on the Gradebook, check out the wiki at http://bugs.sakaiproject.org/confluence/display/SG2X/Home
To be continued...

donderdag, juli 20, 2006

Sakai 2.2.0 Release

"Sakai 2.2.0 marks the culmination of a significant effort to restructure the framework into more logical functional/architectural units, paving the way for multiple focused teams to work in parallel on moving the framework and legacy code forward. This release also incorporates the Open Source Portfolio suite of tools, available in this first merged effort as provisional tools. Additional functional improvements include group awareness for each of the Resources, Assignments, and Schedule tools, the inclusion of French and Catalan translations, updated help content, and the addition of four innovative provisional tools. See the release notes for more details."

(from the sakai website July 19, 2006)

More news from a Sakai-NL perspective on this new release will be posted on the blog.

Sakai 2.2.0 is available on this website: http://source.sakaiproject.org/release/2.2.0/

donderdag, juli 13, 2006

Please register now!

Everyone is strongly advised to register him/herself as a participant for the European Sakai Day in September, so that our collegues in Lubeck can move forward with regards to catering, location, rooms, seating, wifi etc. So please Register now.
To help you decide to do so, here are some reasons:
1. There will be a very interesting batch of sessions. There are speakers from Germany, The Netherlands (of course!), Italy, the UK and Spain. There will be visitors from these countries also.... (I guess) :-)
2. Registration if FREE (but you need to book and pay for your own hotel)
3. This is your chance to get a feel of the livelyness of the (European) Sakai community
4. Lubeck is a great city
5. This is your chance to meet those faces behind those names on Collab and/or Confluence
6. There will be some folks from the US, representing the Sakai Foundation. So if you feel the need to talk to them, please register
7. We are working on some sponsors, so there even might be some FREE beer. These sponsors also would like to know how many people will attend. So: please register now!
Thanks again...

vrijdag, juli 07, 2006

Sakai SIG NL - number 1

{july 26: updated with URL's pointing to http://elearning.surf.nl/sakai}
I won't repeat what Willem van Valkenburg has written already about the first meeting of the Sakai Special Interest Group The Netherlands (Sakai SIG NL). That would be a waste of time. But this is my summary of our first SIG meeting. I think we heard a good mix of enthousiastic and more realistic stories.
Saxion Hogescholen (Willem Smith and Hans de Vries) had a great presentation on student engagement with Sakai in one of their schools (the school for computer science).
Longtime Sakai partner University of Amsterdam (Frank Benneker) gave us a useful impression of different ways of involvement that are possible within the community. They are doing a lot of great work in the area of automatic code review.
My own collegue Stanley Portier presented the next steps for the University of Twente, which are definitely exciting since we are going into the pilotphase of our project real soon with Sakai 2.2.
Erasmus gave us an insight in some hindrances that they are having right now to get properly started with Sakai. So, their focus is now to get started in 2007.
And Stoas, together with Hotelschool The Hague, are also eagerly awaiting Sakai 2.2 to go ahead with some pilots.
Last, but not least, Leidse OnderwijsInstellingen (LOI), told us why they are interested in Sakai and OSP. And LOI is quite special, since they are what you could say a private school.
For now we have reached our first goal, which was to inform each other of our developments regarding Sakai. It also liked the fact that some other institutions were also present (TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, Universiteit Utrecht). And the Vrije Universiteit couldn't attend, but were interested to get notified of what happened.
What I will do as a next step is to work out a more detailed projectplan of what our SIG is about and where we can collaborate more closely together. We touched on some of these issues already last Wednesday, but that was only superficial as we were running out of time. This projectplan will be discussed with the SIG on our next meeting on September 13. That will be right after the first European Sakai Day in Lubeck, Germany.
In the coming weeks I will be working on a more permanent solution for our (internal and external) communications on the web. I am hoping (and striving) for http://elearning.surf.nl/sakai as well as http://www.surf.nl/sakai. How do you like that?
The presentations are here: http://elearning.surf.nl/sakai_en/agenda/3568.
Update: Keith Russel has also written about our first meeting.
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woensdag, juli 05, 2006

First pictures

Today we witnessed our first meeting of the Sakai Special Interest Group NL with attendance by half a dozen Dutch institutions that are more or less working with Sakai, or will be very shortly. A more detailed report will be published later (and Willem van Valkenburg and Keith Russell might be publishing their thoughts on their respective weblogs, I guess).
For now there are some pictures that I made today. You can find them on Flickr. Hopefully Willem Smith is also willing to share his pictures of today.