An excerpt from Sakai’s press release regarding a demonstration of the IMS Tool Interoperability (TI) standard:
The demonstration included four LMS systems including BlackBoard, WebCT, Sakai, and Moodle. The demonstration included three applications: Concept Tutor, Samigo(Sakai), and QuestionMark. All LMS/Application combinations worked and were demonstrated at the meeting which validates the interoperability of the IMS TI specification.
The demonstration was the culmination of nine months of significant co-design and engineering between all of the participants.
Now that the interoperability demonstration is complete, the standard is expected to be published Fall 2005. As long as the standard is finalized in time, we expect that this feature will be present in the Sakai 2.1 release in the Fall 2005.
So tit for tat; now Sakai and Moodle can integrate proprietary pieces like QuestionMark as easily as WebCT and Blackboard can integrate FOSS pieces like Samigo. Note that it doesn’t matter whether your LMS is written in, say, PHP (like Moodle) or Java (like Sakai and WebCT). That’s part of the magic of web services.
In the short term, the P.R. mileage that the proprietary vendors get out of announcing integration with a given specialized tool vendor gets drastically reduced if not eliminated. Anything that complies with TI will run on at least two FOSS platforms as well.
In the long run, this is a first step toward the disintegration of the LMS and the creation of the LMOS. Why can’t every single tool in Moodle, Sakai, Blackboard, or WebCT interoperate this way? Why do I have to pick one package for 90% of my functionality and only be able to make choices about the last 10%?