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Sakai (aka Vula) Conference 2015

12 Jun 2015 - 15:30

The Apereo Foundation is a network of institutions from six continents. Its mission is to create and sustain open source software and communities that support learning, teaching and research. One such community is Sakai, on which our own Vula is based, and yes, UCT is a member of Apereo.

Each year the Apereo Foundation holds an annual conference where teachers, learners, and technologists come together as a community. This year the conference was held in Baltimore, MD, USA. The conference is the absolute best way to learn what is happening in the Sakai community and to get to know people from other Sakai adopter institutions.

UCT was well presented by Stephen Marquard, Edmore Moyo and Samantha Lee Pan from CILT and Greg Doyle from the Education Development Unit.  In total they had 5 presentations. Greg Doyle presented a session titled “Designing an online faculty development course” and the others’ presentations are available from the same site.

At the conference there was much excitement regarding creating online courses and changes in the tool used to create that content, lecture recording using OpenCast and the new responsive design coming in the next version of Sakai.  Assessment was also an important topic and how the user interface of Tests & Quizzes has been improved. All these changes and more will be coming in the new version of Vula (i.e. Sakai version 11) that will probably be released at the end of 2015.

New tools currently worked on in the community are always a great topic of discussion over breakfast and lunch. In particular Xertes, a content authoring tool and Apereo’s new version of Open Academic Environment (OAE, taking Vula to the next level).

People are always the highlight of the conference. In particular meeting tweeters in person, such as Giulia who thinks in pictures and is an impressive doodler – just look at what she drew about OAE and Xertes: (Click on pictures to visit pages)

Also meeting Adam from Oxford, Hank from N-Cast and Charles who talked about DART (Design, Align, Refine and Teach Online) and fellow Africans, Derek Moore from WITS, Elne Van Niekerk from North-West University and Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi from the University of Ghana.