woensdag, oktober 11, 2006

Interdisciplinary studies (UvA) supported by Sakai

By:
- Jaeques Koeman, Universiteit van Amsterdam (IIS), Edia
- Roland Groen, Edia

The Sakai implementation www.iis-communities.nl is the learning environment for interdisciplinary lecture series at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS, www.iis.uva.nl) of the Universiteit van Amsterdam. A broad population of students including alumni, contract students and students at other universities participate in these lecture series, which cover topics ranging from conflict studies, religion, quantum lessons and China.

The use of Sakai in supporting the lecture series offered ways to overcome bottlenecks and meet new demands and opportunities at the same time. The environment has been configured to meet demands such as facilitating experts at distance to contribute to the educational process and have a level of public accessibility to allow the communication and transfer of academic knowledge to a broader audience outside the university. By doing this, the achievements made during these lecture series (e.g. a Wiki containing future scenario’s about the city of Amsterdam) will also not be deleted at the series’end, but remain publicly accessible and serve as a reference point for future students, thus creating a community around interdisciplinary topics.

The Sakai implementation www.iis-communities.nl was done by Edia - education technology (www.edia.nl) . Edia is an Amsterdam-based company that develops educational software, implements (open source) e-learning technologies and advises in the field of ict in (higher) education. Since 2005 Edia has monitored the developments of Sakai and now has version 2.2.1 in production at IIS. Next to adding various bug and issue reports and some translation work, Edia has developed a tool for versions 2.1.1 and 2.2.1 that combines the register, join and login functions in one.

Both Edia and IIS are now joining forces with the Computing Centre of the Universiteit van Amsterdam, exchanging experience and ideas on applications of Sakai within the university. For example, 2007 will see Sakai in action supporting online academic introduction courses for scholars (Webklassen).

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