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?

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