Sakai Project

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Sakai Project
Sakai Logo.svg
Stable release 10.0 / June 30, 2014 (2014-06-30) [1]
Written in Java
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in 19 languages (ar, ca, de, en, es, eu, fr, it, ja, ko, mn, nl, pl, pt, ru, sv, tr, vi, zh),[2][3]
Type Course Management System
License Educational Community License

This page is about the software project, for other meanings, see Sakai.

Sakai is a community of academic institutions, commercial organizations and individuals who work together to develop a common Collaboration and Learning Environment. Sakai is also a free, community source, educational software platform distributed under the Educational Community License (a type of open source license). Sakai is used for teaching, research and collaboration. Systems of this type are also known as Course Management Systems (CMS), Learning Management Systems (LMS), or Virtual Learning Environments (VLE).

The Sakai Project's software is a Java-based, service-oriented application suite that is designed to be scalable, reliable, interoperable and extensible. Version 1.0 was released in March 2005.

As of September 2012, Sakai is estimated to be in production at over 300 institutions and being piloted by considerably more. A list with many of these is available.


The development of Sakai 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 "CHEF" course management system. "Sakai" is a play on the word “chef,” and refers to Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai.[4]

The original institutions started meeting in February 2004. Each institution had built a custom course management system:

In 2005 Indiana University moved all of its legacy systems to the Sakai implementation OnCourse. On October 5, 2007, the University of Virginia announced that it will be implementing Sakai throughout the university instead of the ToolKit.

Once the first version of Sakai became publicly available, the original five institutions 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.[5]

As the project phase neared completion in 2005, the Sakai Project set up a foundation to oversee the continued work on Sakai. In 2006 the Sakai Foundation named Dr. Charles Severance, who previously had served as Chief Architect, as its first Executive Director. On July 24, 2007 Dr. Severance stepped down as Executive Director, and Michael Korcuska was selected by the Sakai Foundation to fill the role. Following Michael's departure in February 2010, Lois Brooks became interim Executive Director, with Ian Dolphin, a former Sakai Project Board member becoming Executive Director in August 2010. Development work is currently supported by community members (resources provided by academic institutions and commercial affiliates as well as individual volunteers) and the Sakai Foundation.

Sakai collaboration and learning environment - software features[edit]

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 wiki, 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.

My Workspace tools[edit]

  • Preferences - allows setting of preferences
  • Message Of The Day

Generic collaboration tools[edit]

  • Announcements - used to inform site participants about current items of interest
  • Drop Box - allows instructors and students to share documents within a private folder for each participant
  • 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
  • Chat Room - for real-time, unstructured conversations among site participants who are signed on to the site at the same time
  • Forums - communication tool that instructors or site leaders can use to create an unlimited number of discussion forums
  • Message Center - a communication tool that allows site participants to communicate using internal course mail
  • News / RSS - uses RSS to bring dynamic news to your worksite
  • Poll tool - allows users to set up an online vote for site participants
  • Presentation - allows you to present a set of slides to many viewers
  • Profile / Roster - view the names, photos, and profiles of site participants
  • Repository Search - search content created by tools within a worksite or course
  • Schedule - allows instructors or site organizers to post items in a calendar format

Teaching tools[edit]

  • Assignments
  • Grade book
  • Module Editor
  • QTI Authoring
  • QTI Assessment
  • Section Management
  • Syllabus

Portfolio tools[edit]

  • Forms
  • Evaluations
  • Glossary
  • Matrices
  • Layouts
  • Templates
  • Reports
  • Wizards
  • Search
  • Web Content
  • WebDAV
  • Wiki
  • Site Setup
  • MySakai Widgets

Sakai community and foundation[edit]

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.

In October 2010, the Sakai Foundation announced its intention to merge with Jasig,[6][7] another organization supporting the development of open source software for education. Sakai and Jasig announced Apereo Foundation as the name of the new organization in March 2012.[8] Apereo Foundation came into being in December 2012.[9]

The Sakai Foundation and Community currently organizes an international conferences each year. Regional conferences take place annually in China, Japan, Australia, Europe and South Africa.

Board of directors[edit]

Each year new Board Members were elected from nominated candidates. Voting by Sakai Foundation member representatives typically takes place during October and November. Newly elected members start their terms with the first Board meeting of the new year and their terms last 3 years.

Board members are elected by the institutional and corporate representatives as specified in the Sakai Foundation bylaws. A current list of institutional and corporate representatives is posted on the Partners Program page.

Sakai Foundation Board of Directors:[10]

  • David Ackerman, New York University, Board Chair
  • Nate Angell, rSmart
  • Josh Baron, Marist College
  • Dr. Ian Boston, University of Cambridge, Board Vice-Chair
  • Michael Feldstein, Cengage Learning
  • Steve Swinsburg, Australian National University
  • Chuck Severance, University of Michigan
  • Seth Theriault, Columbia University

See also[edit]



External links[edit]