Oxford visit – Sakai factfinder

Paul and Dan recently visited the University of Oxford Computing Services Department to have a look at their installation of the Sakai system, an open-source “Collaboration and Learning Environment” (similar to a VLE)  which is deployed in some major UK institutions, including Oxford and Cambridge.

They were the guests of Adam Marshall, a one-time employee of the University of Liverpool. Adam very generously gave his time to talk through the experience at Oxford of running an open-source VLE, of the transition from one VLE system to another, broader issues of staff support, and he gave a guided ‘tour’ of the University of Oxford Sakai installation WebLearn. We were also treated to a very fine lunch!

Some key findings and resources from the day included:

  • Sakai allows you to create structures that suit your programme, rather than being tied in to an annual ‘modular’ system.
  • University of Hull’s resources on institutional VLE  migration from Blackboard to Sakai (includes very useful information on testing and migration of BB tests to Sakai)
  • Only the medical faculty are currently allowed to assess students formally online at the University of Oxford, this being done in specially built facilities.
  • Also seen was the open-source Mobile Ox developed by Oxford, a student information service for mobile platforms.

Paul and Dan also brought back a wealth of information and contacts which will prove an extremely resource to draw on should there be a general review of the systems offered at UoL in the future. Do leave a comment or email the elearning unit to find out more about Sakai,  elearning systems and support structures at Oxford, or even about the Oxford Sausage!

Further to this, Nick will be visiting the Oxford team on December 9th 2010 for an open day workshop on the latest version of Sakai currently under development, the Sakai Open Academic Environment:   http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.cms.sakai.devel/39016

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