Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New CLE TCC Vice Chair Elected

At the end of this month my tenure as the CLE TCC chair will end and the current Vice Chair, Beth Kirschner, will take the reins for the next 6 months. I am pleased to announce that Aaron Zeckoski will be the next Vice Chair for the TCC and in 6 months move into the Chair role.

Congratulations Aaron! We look forward to your leadership over the coming year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sakai CLE 2.8.0 Released

On behalf of the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) Technical Coordination Committee, I am pleased to announce the release of the Sakai CLE, version 2.8.0.

The Sakai CLE 2.8.0 builds on previous releases by refining and stabilizing the 2.x feature set. It offers dozens of new features and improvements to key areas like accessibility, internationalization, performance, and security.

Among the many enhancements included in the 2.8.0 release, noteworthy items include:
• Configurable URL shortening service
• reCAPTCHA support for logins
• Collapsible portal navigation menu
• Mobile portal UI improvements
• Experimental CKEditor implementation
• Respondus question import handling
• Customizable letter grades in assignments
• Support for IMS BasicLTI outcomes and improved external integration capabilities
• Enhanced user profile options
• Persistent event logging for Quartz Scheduler jobs
• Improved integration with external user providers (e.g., LDAP)
• Inclusion of many new webservices
• Updated language packs (Chinese, Dutch, French Canadian, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Vietnamese.)
• Feature to set open/close dates for discussion boards, forums and topics and sort the threads
• Ability to preview message prior to sending in Messages tool
• Ability for site authors to change display order of announcements

A full list of features can be found in the release documentation

Obtaining the 2.8.0 release
• Release artifacts are available at
• Release documentation including install guides is available at

Sakai 2.8.0 is licensed under the Educational Community License, version 2.0.

Older Releases
With the release of the Sakai 2.8 series, official Community support for Sakai 2.6 ceases. Organizations running Sakai 2.6 (or earlier versions) are strongly encouraged to upgrade to the latest versions of Sakai 2.7 or 2.8 in order to take advantage of continued maintenance support.

Our thanks go out to the dedicated Sakai Community volunteers from around the world for their tireless work on this release.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sakai 2.8.0 release date rescheduled

On behalf of the Release Management Workgroup and the Sakai 2 Technical Coordination Committee I am writing you to let you know that the Sakai 2.8.0 release date has been pushed back. This can be traced back to a scarcity of resources in the Sakai 2 ecosystem that resulted in slipped schedules (ie late beta and release candidate tagging), final hour testing and subsequently, outstanding blockers.

The anticipated release date is March 31st with the following milestones.
  • March 8/9 Release Candidate 2
  • March 22/23 Release Candidate 3 (as needed)
  • March 24-30 Prep for release
  • March 31 Release

To reach these milestones the following strategy is being employed:
  1. Blocker handling: Continue to triage the blocker list. If a ticket is not truly a blocker, downgrade it. In addition there will be regular communication with blocker assignees regarding progress on tickets.
  2. Tagging: Continue to cut QA tags every two weeks until blockers are eliminated. If an opportunity exists to cut a QA tag early, do it. When no blockers exist, cut an rc tag and prep for release.
  3. Continued testing: Encourage testing but do not allow shortfalls or delays in testing to hold up the release

Monday, June 22, 2009

Boston Sakai Conference Dine Arounds

For some non-virtual social networking consider the informal “dine arounds.” You’ll join a group of fellow conference attendees for dinner at a local restaurant. There is a sign up sheet on the conference wiki ( and a dinner facilitator will help coordinate travel to destinations. Each attendee is responsible for their own bill and gratuity.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Proposed Sakai Development Model

Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend a webinar session given by Michael Korcuska, the Sakai Foundation Executive Director, on the proposed development model for Sakai. First, I want to say that even though there were some hiccups (gotta have them!), this was one of the most beneficial forums for communication and engagement that I’ve experienced in Sakai in a long time.

One of the things I liked about the proposal was that Sakai as a product is defined. I think a lack of vision has been a major hurdle these past few years. I see this a positive step forward but the devil is in the details. Before I dive into critique, I want to be clear that I don't think these are things that can't be worked through. They just happen to be points that need careful consideration and detail before we all drink the kool aid.

To begin with, the largest hurdle is going to be communication. Let's all be honest, we're all really bad at this for a multitude of reasons! The proposal adds complexity and without clear definition of who is to do what and how we're going to end up less coordinated. In addition, I have a few simple requests: I want it to be consistent, reliable and simple. Please, please don't make me read lengthy messages where I need to analyze every word for hidden meaning.

Also, I feel *strongly* that the product council should not include members of the board. The board should be visionary and assist in laying out a broad strategy for community execution (like the current proposal!). Once those members become bogged down in the day to day operational details, they will become less effective as the visionary leaders they have been elected to be. This isn't to say that there aren't members that wouldn't be a good fit on the council - they should just be one or the other.

Lastly, it seems that the product council is not only tasked with being the gatekeepers and shepherds but also the group that defines the standards. Performing as gatekeepers and shepherds requires quite a different skill set and temperament than defining the standards. I'd advocate that a short term task force that was charged with initially defining said standards that the council could use. I think that approach could result in a much faster implementation of this process as well as garner a wider breadth of knowledge. Something that will be *key* in ensuring we have appropriate standards/criteria. Future looking, when the standards/criteria need revisiting, the council could recommend the community assemble a new task force.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Unsubscribe me!

If you haven't seen your Sakai mail for the past few days, you're going to see that about 1/2 the email on the lists are pleas from former subscribers to be removed from the list. At first they were comical but I have to admit they are starting to grate on my nerves!

If you are still in need of unsubscription, Seth Theriault posted options for unsubscribing that can be found at

Some suggestions to the foundation for any future changes to systems that are critical
1) Tell us exactly what is going to happen and with sufficient notice. I'd suggest at least a 24 hour lead time. With this notice you'd be able to get volunteers to assist in confirmation that things are working swell.
2) Please don't make changes at 10am on a weekday. I know this is a global project but 10am is a time that impacts a large portion of our community. When thing go awry (and we all know they often do), it'd be better to impact a smaller population
3) When there is a problem, have someone from the foundation tell us you know there is a problem, what it is, ect . .

That said, I'm sincerely happy that something was done to address the problems we were having with the lists on collab. As a community we had been crippled and are now able to communicate to make progress in an open manner. Further, the messages are now nicely tagged by audience.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sakai 2.5.3 Released

I'm pleased to announce the availability of Sakai 2.5.3, the second maintenance release of the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment in the 2.5 series. This release includes 39 bug fixes and performance enhancements in Assignments, Blog, Database, Entity Broker, Messages, Forums, Worksite Setup/Site Setup and Wiki. This is an important milestone in the changes the community has been making in its release practices as the fixes selected for inclusion in the release targeted a subset of tools. The release is available in source, binary and demo versions from the main Sakai Subversion repository or from the Sakai website at

I’d like to thank all the QA and release team members that made this release possible: Bryan Batotich, Alan Berg, Angela Henry, Govind Iyengar, Matthew Jones, Huzefa Khalil , Peter Knoop, Michael Lockett, and Anthony Whyte.