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From Conception to Production -- The Yale Sakai Story. Chuck Powell May 31, 2006. Agenda. Some history to help understand: Why we chose Sakai What we did to make it a good solution at Yale Culturally Technically “In the trenches” Why we’re headed in certain directions

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agenda
Agenda
  • Some history to help understand:
    • Why we chose Sakai
    • What we did to make it a good solution at Yale
      • Culturally
      • Technically
      • “In the trenches”
    • Why we’re headed in certain directions
  • How we’re doing things today
  • What we learned along the way
humble beginnings
Humble Beginnings

From: Chuck Powell

To: Lois BrooksDate: Nov 10 2003 - 3:10pm

Lois,

Any chance I could set up a time to call and learn more about "Sachi (?), Saki (?)"? Intrigued at this end and would always rather be ahead of the wave rather than behind it.

Chuck

From: Chuck PowellSent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 4:13 PMTo: Wheeler, Bradley C.Subject: Re: Announcing the Sakai Project and the Sakai Educational Partners Program

Brad,

Please count Yale in as a SEPP member. I'll be the initial contact point.

Chuck> > Wheeler, Bradley C. wrote:> >>We believe the time is right for advancing a set of open source…

today s toddler
Today’s toddler

Date: May 18, 2006 4:34 PM EDT

From: Drew Mazurek drew.mazurek@yale.edu

Subject:Testing again

We're now in production with 2.1.2. No need to respond if you receive this message. - Drew

in the beginning circa 2003
In the beginning (circa 2003)…
  • Classes.yale.edu had served central campus well since the late 90’s
    • Homegrown, every line of code written at Yale, built in Java running on Windows
    • Easy to use, basic instructional tools, well known space, full support for end users
    • Strong buy-in and heavy usage
    • Features lagging behind “the competition”, organic growth of code difficult to support
  • Law School running Bb, Med campus using a different version of Bb and School of Management using WebCT
in the beginning continued
In the beginning (continued)…
  • Student portal (using uPortal) was “quietly” rolled out in summer 2003 with no incremental budget/staffing
  • Student Financial and Administrative Services was also increasing its online services in response to growing student and faculty demand, e.g. online access to Banner, Online Course Evaluation, Photo Roster and the Facebook.
  • The Library was invested in a significant array of online resources and had extensive plans for more integrated access to digital materials. Also a growing number of Web-based library services such as reference and reserve, course support and more.
current
Current

Student Portal

Classes

WebCT

Blackboard

BannerWeb

Facebook

OCI

OCE

WebMail

Orbis

News, etc.

HR Records

Banner Data

Directory Info

Library Resources

future

The Portal

WSRP

iChannel

JSR-168

CWeb

Sakai GUI

Quiz Tool

Check Grades

Weather

Reserve Classroom

Post Grades

WebMail

OCE

JStor

Term Bill

OCI

Library Loan

Facebook

Search Engine

eReserves

News

Jive

OPAC

OSID

OSID

OSID

Authz OSID

OSID

HR Records

Banner Data

Directory Info

Library Resources

Future?
vision
Vision

Yale will deploy a next generation collaborative learning environment to provide excellent online support for the administration of courses, a rich set of tools to support teaching and learning and with integrated access to the emerging digital materials under development at the Library, museums and across Yale. Yale will develop and deploy an institutional strategy for continuous evolution of the learning environment to accommodate accelerating technology change and development of digital material.

for those who don t speak vision
For Those Who Don’t Speak “Vision”
  • Replace our homegrown CMS with Sakai
  • Deploy Sakai with a strong interest in supporting research and administrative collaboration – “common tools different groups”
  • Aim for a future framework where uPortal and/or Sakai interoperate seamlessly and tools are interchangeable
governance
Governance
  • Provostially appointed T&L Portal Committee with cross campus faculty participation and sponsored jointly by ITS, Library and SFAS
  • High level steering and guidance not a committee to compare products
  • General assistance with prioritizing work and acquiring additional resources
  • Additionally, a lot of grassroots communication has paid huge dividends around the campus
original schedule
Original Schedule
  • Phase I
    • Pilot replacement for classes.yale.edu (5-10 courses) and draft portal views for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty which highlight access to the course web system and related services
    • Goal: Begin immediately and conclude Spring Semester, 2005
  • Phase II
    • Expand number of courses in pilot (few hundred) and add one content tool/service.
    • Introduce full SAKAI-based portal with improved views for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty
    • Goal: Begin immediately following phase I and conclude within Fall 2006
  • Phase III
    • Full replacement of classes.yale.edu
    • Phased integration of library content and services
    • Goal: Begin immediately following phase II, conclude within Fall 2007
technical architecture a k a the lineup
Technical Architecture (a.k.a. the “lineup”)

Apache & Load Balancing

(Stengel & Ruth)

(Gehrig, Scooter, Guidry Winfield, Howard, Maris & Mantle)

Multiple Tomcat Sakai App Servers

NFS Servers

(Torre & Jeter)

iSCSI SAN devices

Oracle Shared Server

progress summary
Progress Summary
  • Classes*V2 adoption exceeding our expectations and straight line projections. ~60% on V2, ~40% on the original.
  • No new content tools or services built. We’ve focused on modifying or integrating existing Yale tools like the Photo Roster and Online Course Selection
  • Still aiming for retiring the original Classes server by Fall semester 2007.
things we ve done
Things We’ve Done
  • Tweaked the syllabus tool and a few others plus develop local scripts/tools for administration
  • Lot’s of integration with existing systems on campus
  • Selective replacement of Sakai tools with local preferences like Jive and the “Shopping Cart”
  • Continuous work with Sakai and AuthZ (via CAS)
  • Lightweight integration of other Yale resources and services (e.g. the Librarian role, the Photo Roster)
  • Customized and augmented the documentation for Yale faculty and students
  • Focus on faculty support
things we haven t done
Things We Haven’t Done
  • Incremented staffing by more than one!
  • Stopped supporting both systems well
  • Skimped on infrastructure
  • Let wants and needs become show-stopping “requirements”
  • Solved our final technical hurdle (i.e. Sakai as web server)
the road ahead and priorities
The Road Ahead and Priorities
  • Lot’s of opportunities to do more! We have 50+ items currently that we’d like to work on -- they are a good start not an exhaustive list.
  • Current estimate given current resourcing is that it would take us 3-4 years to complete just these.
  • How to balance needs, impact, transition costs, future expansion and patience in a community setting?
what chuck learned
What Chuck Learned
  • It’s the support stupid!
  • Collaboration and communication on campus were essential to success and a “good thing”™ in and of themselves
  • Community source and collaboration within the Academy are hard, frustrating, and slow but worth it
  • Think globally, act locally
  • Community source breeds freedom of choice not freedom from cost or freedom from risk!
two quotes to remember
Two Quotes to Remember
  • “I figure I only get one course management system conversion in my career” – Malcolm
  • “I never want to beg, borrow, or buy another CMS in my lifetime” -- Chuck
sir isaac newton said
Sir Isaac Newton said…
  • “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
    • David Hirsch (david dot hirsch at yale dot edu)
    • Gloria Hardman (gloria dot hardman at yale dot edu)
    • Mike Appleby (michael dot appleby at yale dot edu)
    • Cheryl Wogahn (cheryl dot wogahn at yale dot edu)
    • Jen Bourey (jennifer dot bourey at yale dot edu)
    • Plus many more like Kalee Sprague, Andy Newman, Paul Lawrence, Andy Zygmunt, Drew Mazurek, Greg Soltesz, Hong Ko, Cheryl Boeher, Emily Horning, Matt Wilcox and on and on and on…
purpose
Purpose

To evaluate and adopt a next generation collaborative learning environment that will improve faculty and student access to and utilization of web-based services and capitalize on the campus investment in information and learning resources.

why not buy
Why Not Buy?
  • A suite of collaboration and learning tools have become core to the IT infrastructure and simultaneously is perceived as core and unique to the University’s “business” something we shouldn’t necessarily outsource to a vendor
  • We’re better positioned to integrate these tools with other campus infrastructure and enterprise tools
  • We (collectively) have vastly more experience in what is needed than any vendor