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Foundation

Sakai is a community of academic institutions, commercial organizations and individuals who work together to develop a common Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE). The Sakai CLE is a free, community source, educational software platform distributed under the Educational Community License (a type of open source license). The Sakai CLE is used for teaching, research and collaboration. Systems of this type are also known as Course Management Systems or Learning Management Systems. Sakai is a Java-based, service-oriented application suite that is designed to be scalable, reliable, interoperable and extensible.

The development of the Sakai CLE was originally funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation as the Sakai Project. The early versions of the software were based on existing tools created by the founding institutions, with the largest piece coming from the University of Michigan's course management system.

Once the first version of Sakai became publicly available, the original five institutions (Indiana U, MIT, Stanford, U Michigan, and U Virginia) invited other institutions to join through the "Sakai Partners Program". The partner institutions contributed to the program financially and by submitting code to the project. Blackboard is beginning to experience Sakai as a serious competitor. 

 

Sakai Project

Features

The Sakai software includes many of the features common to course management systems, including document distribution, a gradebook, discussion, live chat, assignment uploads, and online testing.

In addition to the course management features, Sakai is intended as a collaborative tool for research and group projects. To support this function, Sakai includes the ability to change the settings of all the tools based on roles, changing what the system permits different users to do with each tool. It also includes a wike, mailing list distribution and archiving, and an RSS reader. The core tools can be augmented with tools designed for a particular application of Sakai. Examples might include sites for collaborative projects, teaching and portfolios.

A generic listing of their collaboration tools are:

*Announcements - used to inform site participants about current items of interest

*Email Archive - all messages sent to a site's email address are stored in the Email Archive

*Resources - share many kinds of material securely with members of your site, or make them available to the public

*Forums - communication tool that instructors or site leaders can use to create an unlimited number of discussion forums.

*Presentation - allows you to present a set of slides to many viewers

*Schedule - allows instructors or site organizers to post items in a calendar format

And so much more

 




Community

The Sakai community is an international alliance of universities, colleges and commercial affiliates working with standards organizations and other open-source software initiatives to develop and freely distribute enterprise software applications using Sakai's community-source approach.  Many institutions in the Sakai community are members of the Foundation, but joining the Sakai Foundation is not required to use the software or participate in the community.

The Sakai Foundation is a member-based, non-profit corporation.  It encourages community-building between individuals, academic institutions, non-profits and commercial organizations and provides its members with an institutional framework for their projects.  The Foundation also works to promote the wider adoption of community-source and open standards approaches to software solutions within the education and research communities.

The Sakai Foundation currently organizes two conferences each year.


The Sakai Project's Website