me on the Bb-Sakai ‘connector’

Firstly, you must read Michael Korcuska’s article here:

It is apparent to me that Bb is trying to move beyond the T&L silo and by moving up the administrative and IT hierarchy, eventually running into Oracle and Microsoft. The connector product is consistent with that strategy: “Hey, run multiple systems if you want. We’ll be the container and try to aggregate the results for you.” The connector product is also consistent with the interpretation that Bb is looking for a veneer of openness/interoperability without really being committed to either–once can see this as Bb wanting to “own” all the data. You’ll have to be your own judge. Or, as others have suggested, see if they are as eager to connect with Sakai/Moodle in the other direction or to implement and drive standards like Common Cartidge and Learning Tool Interoperability.
And, FWIW, the lack of revenue growth in HE teaching and learning (and likely corresponding reduction of R&D in that area) is why I think, in the long run, innovation in HE teaching and learning will come from open source communities and, therefore, why the success of Sakai is so critical.

My comments:
Great article Michael and an opinion I agree wholeheartedly with. I was at a conference in March where a Bb board member gave a talk on the future direction of Blackboard. We saw the ‘new’ interface – nothing spectacular – but also some slides on the Sakai connector – it raised a bit of a laugh, seen as the big bad vendor (actually thats a quote from his talk) saying ‘We are embracing open source’ – some would argue the Bb patent is still hanging overhead.

We were given a release date of late 2009 to early 2010. Thats 18 months to 2 years away. Two years. Picture the internet two years ago. Social networking was in its infancy – MySpace was king, Facebook was gaining ground. Two years on and the scene has completely changed. In regards to online environments, Cambridge has done ground breaking work with their MyCamTools package – widgets that dissolve the gap between you and your online environment. Facebook, iGoogle, your own desktop, any where you are you can be connected without logging in to a specific application.

I’m really excited to see where the next two years takes Sakai. And then Bb release their connector.

Leaderboard tool for Sakai

I have been conceptualising this tool for months and I put it down to sheer laziness that I haven’t started this any earlier… anyway, its underway, the Sakai Leaderboard tool.

What’s a leaderboard I hear you say? It’s a board that shows the ranking of people in a competition. Think of a group of sports players and their ranking across several tournaments.


This was actually requested by a group of staff at UNE who wanted to use it for high school students to compete in a science competition. Each week they would release a quiz or other type of assessment and the students would complete it. Each week they could see where they are coming in the class and compete against each other for the top place.

So the idea behind this one is that it will work off the Gradebook API, rendering the class list and each assessment in order, tallying up the results etc. The coordinator of the site will be able to set which assessments are included, their order in the tally table, and some privacy options.

I’m well aware of the privacy requirements in certain parts of the world so will build in different views based on these privacy requirements.

Anyway, should be a fun one to build. Stay tuned for more info like the confluence and svn locations.