woensdag, juni 20, 2007

Executive dinner - part 2

This is a second post on the executive dinner last week in Amsterdam. There are three more things that are worth mentioning here and are fit for publication. Some other things are also really worth mentioning, but are not fit for publication yet. Please keep coming back and you might find out!
First of all there was a quite interesting point that was made by John Norman, the chair of the Sakai Board of Directors. He told us that for them, at the University of Cambridge, one of the big benefits of joining Sakai is what he calls 'staff development'. Because you are engaged in a worldwide, very fast-moving community, your staff gets much more opportunities to develop themselves. And you also can attract more easily the people that you need, because of the Sakai work that you need to do. This is really true for Cambridge. They have indeed attracted at least two sofware engineers from outside the UK to work for them.
Another interesting discussion we had was about software licensing. Well, actually it was about freedom of choice ofcourse! Most (commercial) software licencing schemes are based on 'seats' or 'users' or 'accounts', or maybe 'campus' or 'location'. This is very confining to the way we operate as educational institutions. This will simply not hold true in our sector. Think about all the collaboration we do, within our country, or even within the EU. Or what about the guest lecturers that we invite to our campuses. Officially they most likely are not allowed to use your VLE. There was given an example of a portofolio system in the UK that caused these kind of headaches to the ones involved. Because of the Educational Community License of Sakai, I can give away as many accounts and access rights to our Sakai system as needed. And we have done that already, and we will. There is one account underway right now!
One other interesting aspect of Sakai that we discussed is that a 'surprising' amount of Sakai installations are not physically based at a educational institution. Someone said that maybe about 50% of Sakai use is through intermediaries. So, in case you feel that your institution is not capable of hosting and servicing Sakai (which is indeed not that easy), you can rely on a service provider. This is true in the US, but also in The Netherlands. Go talk to Stoas, Portfolio4u, A New Spring, Omix or Edia! They will be more than happy to assist you. And if you want more 'independent' advice, please feel free to contact me.

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