dinsdag, januari 30, 2007

Some suggestions for our Sakai project

Originally uploaded by wytze.
Today we had a successful lunch meeting with faculty and students regarding our Sakai project. We presented very briefly what we have done so far and what our next steps will be.
We asked for some suggestions and for next steps from the audience. We received quite a few. Some are pictured here. We also asked for questions people still would have.
We will try to provide answers to the questions by means of our wiki.
See the rest of the photos (and the suggestions) at Flickr.

maandag, januari 29, 2007

How opensource works (NOT!)

Through the weblog of Alfred Essa, i got directed to a blogpost by Joel Spolsky. Joel posted his personal review of a great book (Dreaming in Code by Scott Rosenberg). The book deals with the Chandler project. The Chandler project had been 'advertized' as the Microsoft Exchange killer app. But it didn't even get close up 'till now.
As Joel puts it: "Chandler’s original vision was pretty much just to be “revolutionary.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t code “revolutionary.” I need more details to write code. Whenever the spec describes the product in terms of adjectives (“it will be extremely cool”) rather than specifics (“it will have brushed-aluminum title bars and all the icons will be reflected a little bit, as if placed on a grand piano”) you know you’re in trouble."
Joel really makes the point that software needs to be designed properly, before it should be developed! I couldn't agree more.
I can see some parallels here with the Sakai community. How many designers do we have? The Course Management Working Group does an excellent job at documenting their design process and choices they make, I think. And there will be a lot more than that, ofcourse. But, in other areas within the Sakai community I have a hard time to figure out where the design is to be found.
So, this puts me right on the ground again about what the Sakai community still has to cover. But we will get there! Watch us.

vrijdag, januari 26, 2007

Blackboard patent will be re-examined

Source: Software Freedom Law Center

"In response to a formal request filed by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today ordered re-examination of the e-learning patent owned by Blackboard Inc.(..) A re-examination of this type usually takes one or two years to complete. Roughly 70% of re-examinations are successful in having a patent narrowed or completely revoked."

dinsdag, januari 23, 2007

Agenda for Jan 31, 2007

For all those that speak Dutch, please read our agenda for our next meeting. The meeting will take place in Utrecht, at the SURF offices.
I am expecting around 20 people (that is at least what SURF is catering for regarding lunch). I you are planning on attending our meeting, please let me know *by sending an email to me or * by placing a comment on this post.

maandag, januari 22, 2007

Bootcamp in Amsterdam!

This is your chance! If you always wanted to know what developing and programming for Sakai is like, you should take note of the Bootcamp page on our wiki. This is the page where you will find all the information on this great workshop for programmers. The Bootcamp will take place during our upcoming Amsterdam conference. So, mark you agenda for June 12-14!
The 'faculty' are already preparing this bootcamp. This will be the first time that the Bootcamp will take place in continental (thanks for the hint, Anthony!) Europe. Previous editions during the Vancouver and Atlanta conferences, as well as in Oxford (UK) last September, were a huge success.
Update: Anthony Whyte reminded me that there was a Bootcamp in Oxford recently.

vrijdag, januari 19, 2007

Free publicity

After my talk at the OSOSS conference, i was asked if I could make a 'transcript' of my presentation that could be made widely available. Well, actually I was asked to write an article about Sakai, based on my presentation, that could be published online at www.livre.nl. Livre has a comprehensive website where a lot of 'open' news is published.
Livre is a free and open network organisation within The Netherlands that is dedicated to the use of open source and open standards to facilitate ICT innovation. In Dutch: "Het creëren van bewustwording over ICT innovatie die is gebaseerd op de waarden open, vrij en duurzaam."
See what I have written (in Dutch). The article gives the Dutch reader a comprehensive and current overview on Sakai, as well as some insight in the Dutch adoption (rate) of Sakai.

woensdag, januari 17, 2007

User Interaction, work in progress

In a post on this weblog Wyzte Koopal pointed out that the User Interface & experience is an important issue to address. I think Wyzte will to glad to read that User Interaction Group is working hard to collect to use cases and to discuss them with the community. People who want to read more about the ongoing User Interface work should read the UI pages on the Sakai Wiki, http://bugs.sakaiproject.org/confluence/display/UI/Home

During the Amsterdam Conference a full day pre-conference workshop will bring together all the members that have a sincere interest in improving the Sakai User Experience.

The U-Camp will provide an opportunity for those interested in the design and support of Sakai to meet, learn, and contribute to the future of the Sakai user experience.
This pre-conference session will include a series of workshops and presentations in the morning where participants will discuss design methodologies, accessibility, patterns, and usability. In the afternoon, we will focus on strategies for improving user delight within Sakai and finding ways to better represent user needs within the community process. (Authored by Colin Clark)

More information: http://bugs.sakaiproject.org/confluence/display/UI/U-Camp+Planning

Planning of the Sakai Amsterdam conference is on it’s way

Last week Susan Hardin and Mary Miles ( Sakai conference committee) visited Amsterdam to have a look at the conference hotel and to feel the city. In spite of the rain and wind they got a good view on the conference hotel and other options in the city. The pre-conference day will be held at the University and the main conference will be held at the Mövenpick.
In February more information on the Amsterdam conference will be posted on the Sakaiproject website.

Frank Benneker and Mary Veugelers (University of Amsterdam) will work closely with the Sakai Board and Community to make the meeting a huge success.

More information on the conference hotel: Mövenpick Amsterdam

maandag, januari 15, 2007

Everyone can join, as long as...

This is just a quick reminder. We will be having our 4nd meeting with the Dutch Sakai community on Jan 31, at the SURF offices in Utrecht. Official starting time is 10.30 hrs. Everyone is welcome at this meeting (a short confirmation by email is appreciated), as long as you are able to understand (and/or speak) Dutch. The official language of the meetings will be Dutch, since we are the Dutch community.
Our meeting room will hold approximately 25 people. I will be finalizing the agenda for our meeting on Jan 24 (next week). I have one confirmed presentation, which will be an interesting presentation by Walter Brand (Memotrainer BV), who will tell us more about what they did for Elsevier Opleidingen.

donderdag, januari 11, 2007

High level exposure for Sakai

This post deals with some specifics of the way we work together within The Netherlands regarding the use of ICT in Higher Education (HE). This might be interesting for foreign readers, but it might be more interesting for my Dutch readers, I guess.
Yesterday I was invited to do a short presentation for SURF. What is SURF, you might ask? Here are some quotes from their website, that say it better than I could: "SURF is the collaborative organisation of and for the institutes for higher education in the Netherlands. (..) The statutory organs of the SURF Foundation are the General Board, the Executive Board and the Scientific Technical Council. The administrative representation is implemented within the three SURF platforms: Research, Education and Organisation."
So, SURF is in fact the (only!) national organisation where every and all HE institutions work together on the improvement of the use of ICT within our institutions. SURF is also facilitating this weblog, some of my time that I am spending on Sakai, and the meetings that we regularly have in The Netherlands with all those that are interested in Sakai.
I was invited for the quarterly meeting of the Board of the ICT and Organisation Platform on January 10, 2007. Members of this board are executives from 8 different HE institutions within The Netherlands.
I presented (presentation in Dutch), within a short timeframe, what Sakai is, who is involved within The Netherlands, what our vision is etc. I think I did a good job of informing the Board and thereby gave some more exposure for Sakai on the executive level within HE in The Netherlands. Questions that got asked where mainly on the level of "does the community really work?" or "who is actually using Sakai right now?". More specifically some of the board members were quite interested in the fact that OSP is used quite widely already within secondary vocational education in our country. The board was very pleased with the presentation and wished us luck for the future.
Oh, and there is one more thing that came up during our short discussion: Sharepoint. This is our main "competitor" within the Netherlands. And Sharepoint has a distinct advantage, that was laid out nicely in the discussion: the user interface is so familiar....people are so used to all this stuff from Microsoft. So, once again, at least for me, one more reason why the Sakai User Experience should be high(er?) on our agenda.
What do you think?

maandag, januari 08, 2007

Sakai and Oracle: more news

On the weblog of Michael Feldstein, who recently started working for Oracle, you will find some more information on the way Oracle is seeing Sakai.
There are two initiatives that Oracle is working on with regard to Sakai. There is the Academic Enterprise Initiative (AEI) and there is Sakai for Oracle. A tiny quote: " “Sakai for Oracle” is not intended to be a fork; it is intended to be a supported configuration."
Please read the complete post to get to grips to what Oracle is doing for the Sakai community.

vrijdag, januari 05, 2007

Sakai SIG NL Feed Subscribers

Sakai SIG NL Feed Subscribers
Originally uploaded by wytze.
Since the start of this weblog, we've been using Feedburner to keep track of the usage and the users. The usage of the feed of our weblog is at 22 subscribers as of today. We are steadily on the rise here (we had 10 subscribers as of October 31, 2006).
What surprises me most (in the happy sense of the word) is that the preference for Netvibes is so huge. Personally I like Netvibes very much, and I use it regularly. Is Netvibes some sort of preference within the (would-be) Sakai community? Anyone wants to comment?

woensdag, januari 03, 2007

Weblog has been migrated!

A couple of weeks ago I emailed all of the authors of this weblog that we would be migrating this weblog to the new Blogger during the Christmas break. Actually we migrated today. And we are up and running again.
For those who would like to be (or stay) author for this group weblog, there is one caveat: you need a Google account. If you have an Gmail emailbox, you are by default the owner of a Google account.
More info on migrating and switching can be found in What is new and improved? or Switching teamblogs.