Some Strengths of Sakai 2

Image: University of North Carolina

I write a fair bit about Sakai 3 because I am excited about the possibilities for change that it represents. That said, there are a couple of points worth emphasizing. First, Sakai 3 doesn’t exist yet and won’t be adoptable as a full LMS for a while. (See Sakai 3: What It Is and When To Move To It for details.) Second, Sakai 2 is a very good current-generation LMS that is meeting the needs of many schools today.

University of North Carolina, which has been piloting Sakai 2, has been putting out some excellent evaluation materials on it. (See UNC’s Sakai Evaluation Results, for example.) Their Sakai pilot blog also contains some gems. For example, they have identified five “big ideas” that they believe represent some of Sakai’s strengths—particularly in comparison to Blackboard, their current LMS. Here is a video describing the first of those ideas:

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In addition to the school-wide evaluation, the UNC medical school has been looking at Sakai to meet their more specialized needs. (See Academic Study of Blackboard vs. Sakai at UNC School of Medicine.) They have some niche requirements which are critical for them, foremost of which is a good calendaring system. Here’s a video of medical school faculty talking about how Sakai works for them:

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About Michael Feldstein

Michael Feldstein is co-Publisher of e-Literate, co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner in MindWires Consulting. For more information, see his profile page.
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One Response to Some Strengths of Sakai 2

  1. Michael, great post. I use Sakai 2 daily and I am kind of the “embedded Sakai consultant” amongst the faculty so I get a lot of questions and feedback from fellow faculty members and students about Sakai (CTools@UM).

    The more I use Sakai 2, the more I appreciate what it does well and how well it does what it does. I think that perhaps the greatest strength of Sakai 2 is that is it probably one of the best combinations of “ease of use when you are starting out” and “lots of power under the hood if you want to dig into it a bit”.

    We literally have no training for students and faculty to use Sakai at Michigan – folks just stumble in and “figure it out” – it’s simple navigation and course setup capabilities let people discover its capabilities simply by clicking on the obvious clickable things.

    One thing that seems to be a common theme when schools switch to Sakai is that the percentage of use across all courses and instructors goes up to really high rates – often in the 80-95% range. My own explanation is that this “initial ease of use” is whats folks “in the door” and using 4-5 features and then later learning more subtle capabilities. At some point students and faculty simply teach each other how to use Sakai.