Sakai 11 Reviews & Product Details


What is Sakai 11?

The Sakai Environment provides a flexible and feature-rich environment for teaching, learning, research and other collaboration. As an open source software suite developed by its adopter community, Sakai continually evolves in step with the needs of the students, faculty members and organizations it serves.

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Sakai 11 Profile Details

Sakai 11 Profile Details

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Vendor
Apereo Foundation
Company Website
Year Founded
2000
HQ Location
Westminster, CO
LinkedIn® Page
www.linkedin.com
Employees on LinkedIn®
18
Twitter
@Apereo
Twitter Followers
1,214
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Companies Using Sakai 11

University of Maine System
TV France Intl
Longsight
Ric Ulpgc
Sciencespobordeaux
Exspend

Sakai 11 Reviews

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Sakai 11 Reviews

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Enterprise
(5001-10,000 employees)
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"Great java-based community-managed open source LMS "

What do you like best?

Our users are very happy with Sakai. Their evolution the last years has been awesome, specially the UX/UI improvements in Sakai 11 with the responsive design and the Lessons tool new features.

I am not a real developer, but when I have done a development (a patch for a bug, a small feature...) the community has helped me, reviewing the code and guiding me to follow the best practices. And my code has been finally merged into the repository, becoming part of the product and being available for others. I think this is not possible in other open-source LMS, and of course neither in the propietary alternatives.

What do you dislike?

The lack of contribution of many adopters. Open source needs resources to survive, no matter if work or money. And about money, with a little investment of a small percentage of the cost of other propietary solutions, Sakai would be really awesome.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Is the LMS / collaborative work environment of my university (1000 employees / 9000 students)

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Graduate Assistant - Instructional Support
Higher Education
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
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"Sakai is useful for grading and assigning work, but needs to be more mobile friendly"

What do you like best?

The discussion board and forums tools work extremely well, and students are familiar with the view from going on forums of other websites. There are a lot of options for setting up dates to release and reveal assignments to students, as well as when to close it out. The grading and balancing of a grade book is fairly simple, and takes a bit of playing with to get used to. Once it's set up, attaching assignments and the weight of those assignments becomes easier.

What do you dislike?

From a visual standpoint, it is not aesthetically pleasing. It is rather bland, which isn't terrible, but it is hard to highlight something for students. Overall, it is getting better, though. It also doesn't seem to be mobile friendly, which is becoming increasingly important in today's world. It would be helpful to have notifications and reminders standout a bit more when it comes to upcoming assignments that are going to be due. Students have complained about how many emails they'll get in terms of notifications from Sakai, and how the subject line is too cluttered to know what all the emails are for. They end up deleting them instead of weeding through them all. If there were a way for emails going out to students being a bit more organized and clear, it would be helpful.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you want complex features, I would personally look elsewhere.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Extremely secure in terms of user privacy. Makes you log in again if you have been off for awhile. This is important when it comes to student confidentiality.

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(5001-10,000 employees)
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"Sakai Review"

What do you like best?

The best feature is the organization of the website. I like how there is a favorites tab that has your favorites appear in the top. Also, the ability to go back to previous classes was very nice and helpful.

What do you dislike?

The user interface was a little buggy. To organize favorites, it was difficult, but once organized, it was ready to go.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Haven't used any other programs other than Sakai during my time at school, but there wasn't anything to complain about while using this program. The only problem that occured whilst using this program was when the Rutgers University's network got hacked into, and the website couldn't be reached. Other than that, the ability to view previous classes and all the workload involved was a huge plus. The gradebook, dropbox, assignments, resources, and all those miscellaneous tabs that came with every class was very useful. The announcements feature that they had to add to the extra awareness on top of emails being sent by the professors were a huge plus.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Organization and ability to go back to previous work.

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Senior Account Manager
Education Management
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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"Hard to learn, easy to use"

What do you like best?

Sakai has the most tools when it comes to learning management. The features it offers in terms of lessons, interactivity with others, announcements, polls, tests and quizzes, etc are just too good to not take an advantage of. It is also customization and easy to use. The documents are easily accessible and you can also plan, manage and distribute courses among students in a more effective manner.

What do you dislike?

Setting up this software can be quite complicated and can even even take a lot of time.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

This software is for businesses and not for individuals who run their own businesses. Sakai LMS makes your business run smoother, efficient and cost effective. Even though the entire software is quite expensive, the worth and value of this software is totally realized with the usage of this software.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Sakai has been a blessing for me. I can do a host of different things with the help of Sakai. Previously, I used to send out notifications and announcements for students to read. Now, I just have to post in on Sakai thus saving me time, paper and resources. Polls can be taken regarding the opening up of new sections and tests/ quizzes resources are even uploaded directly for students to go through themselves

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Music Teacher
Higher Education
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Sakai is Beautifully Set Up"

What do you like best?

Sakai is an awesome tool for teachers and students alike. The discussion boards and forums work very well and are easily accessible. The format of individual courses and assignments are easy to figure out/understand and are organized very well. Sakai provides a multitude of options to be able to set up release and end dates and assignments. Another amazing feature is the simplistic set up for the grade book, making it easy to return students' assignments upon completion. The flexibility to students to submit their work in a submission box or attach an individual, separate assignment are awesome!

What do you dislike?

Although there is a lot to like about Sakai, it does have it's flaws. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of using Sakai as a student and, now, as a teacher. The format and design has changed very little, if at all. It can be quite boring to see the same thing and not be updated with the times. While it is easy to access each individual course, there could be a better way to organize them so that they are all seen, rather than in a drop down menu. In addition, the accessibility on a mobile device could certainly use some improvement. There are times when I am on the go and need to grade assignments... it is extremely difficult to do so on my mobile device.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Sakai has been a consistent and useful tool for many years. If you are a fan of consistency and an avoidance of change, then this is the program for you. If you need continual updates and things organized a bit differently visually speaking, then you might want to try another program. I enjoy this for what it is worth. Personally, I don't have a choice in what program I use to run my courses; however, I have no complaints with Sakai. They have been top notch for me.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

From the time I started using Sakai, back in 2009-present day, Sakai has been fantastic with their security features. When you haven't been using it for a certain amount of time, it will log you out and make you sign back in again. This is extremely handy, as it protects a user's privacy and prevents any issues with other computer users.

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(10,001+ employees)
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"Sakai is useful to organize content and provide an easy to navigate interface for users"

What do you like best?

What I like best about Sakai is that courses are separated and you can favorite courses that will display on your main dashboard. I also like how there is separated tabs within each course that details what that tab is and has those resources organized within

What do you dislike?

What I dislike is that it is not as easy to use as a LMS like Canvas. The interface can often times be slow. Another thing is that going back to the home page by clicking the back button will often just take you back to the beginning of the tab, it is a bit hard to navigate at times

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use Sakai as an LMS in college. Professors post their resources on Sakai as well as tests and quizzes. It makes grading much easier as it has an automatic grading feature.

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AH
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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"Administrator"

What do you like best?

Clean interface, easy for all users to use most feratures and learn quickly.

What do you dislike?

Lack of sophistication in the software and scarcity of options available for the different tools (like Assignments). The Tests / Quizzes feature needs improvement. Things like making the syllabus go live (clicking on the light bulb) are odd and not obvious to an instructor (this is not intuitive and needs to be more obvious to an everyday user)

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Consider all alternatives like Blackboard and Canvas. Weigh all factors using a weighted decision matrix (like support, functionality, ease of use) and choose the best LMS for your school's needs.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We use it as a LMS for our school. It centralizes and facilities the flow of communication between instructors and students. All assignments can be submitted via Sakai, and saved for future use. Posting syllabi and all assignments on Sakai also contributes to the university's sustainability initiative. Less paper and more e-docs are used via this LMS (saves money via other departments).

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(5001-10,000 employees)
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"Open Source with Active Development"

What do you like best?

Sakai is open source and actively being developed. As an open-source solution, Sakai offers academic institutions an opportunity to design their future. Community-driven enhancements, whether from direct development or in partnership with commercial affiliates, allow schools and universities to improve the platform and create innovative approaches to teaching and learning needs. The platform is built on standards and integrates with other tools, especially via LTI. The platform offers many tools. My favorite tool in the platform is Lessons; I love how it allows me as an instructor to sequence content, embed media, ask questions, conditionally release pages and content, and more. I also like the revised Gradebook as of Sakai 11.

What do you dislike?

Since it was originally a patchwork of tools from different systems from multiple universities, there can be some user interface differences from tool to tool. Starting with Sakai 10 and continuing with 11 and 12, the community is actively working together to standardize interface names/features to improve consistency across the platform. So, past review feedback about user friendliness has been addressed and continues to improve in each release.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If considering Sakai, consider attending a community event like the annual North American conference. Meet with other institutions using the platform to learn the good, the bad, the upcoming. From there, consider working with a Sakai commercial affiliate on a pilot so you can evaluate the platform in full. You'll find that the Sakai community is incredibly helpful, so use the community discussion lists and attend events.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Sakai provide a solid learning management system that can enable the "next generation digital learning environment" (NGDLE) through the use of standards, integrations, and LTI. It's provided a reliable foundation for lesson content, grades, student feedback, class collaboration, and more. Since you can integrate with different student information systems (SIS), you can auto-create class sites for each academic term which makes course management a breeze. With project sites, you can also enable departmental collaboration.

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(1001-5000 employees)
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"Not Intuitive at All "

What do you like best?

I like the streamlined look of the new Sakai. The new set up is beautiful and easy to look at, much less cluttered looking than the older versions.

What do you dislike?

It is so hard to find and figure out how to do anything. Even the help function gives confusing directions. Importing information from a previous site, integrating information from my computer and uploading information is all much more difficulty and harder to navigate than it needs to be.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I think it definitely allows my students better access and in general is easier for them to use. I like the grading functions and how those work to make it easier for both students and instructors.

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AH
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"One of the better classroom management tools"

What do you like best?

We've used several versions of Sakai over the years and the most recent one has made some big improvements. Overall it's fairly easy to use and students seem to be able to navigate it well. If you take the time to customize a page with thoughtful navigation tabs, students can easily find what they are looking for on their course pages. It does take some time and thought to do the initial setup, which can be seen as a drawback for faculty members. But our university has taken the time to offer free Sakai training to faculty and staff which has greatly improved uptake of Sakai by the university community.

What do you dislike?

Not all of the navigation is intuitive, which is a particular problem for our ESL students. Sometimes when modifying page text with HTML tags it can cause issues with how the page appears but that seems to have been fixed for the most part with 11.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I would do some test cases with real courses and the faculty that teach them first to make sure Sakai meets your user needs before switching.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Having a one-stop shop for students to find everything they need on their courses. Using Sakai has cut back a lot on the back and forth emails we used to have to do with students when they wanted to find the code of conduct booklet, syllabi, etc.

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Graduate Student
Higher Education
Enterprise
(5001-10,000 employees)
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"Sakai Review"

What do you like best?

I like that professors can post homework and you can do homework online and have all of your resources in one place. You can take quizzes online and submit papers and assignments to professors.

What do you dislike?

Sometimes it crashes and loses all of your work when you are taking tests/ doing homework.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

This product is good for bringing classrooms together and working on projects online. It's an easy way to do homework and submit projects online instead of printing them out.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

One problem we solve with Sakai is replacing printed homework and papers with digital copies. This helps the environmental impact of our classroom.

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Distance Learning Coordinator/Learning Technologies Specialist
Higher Education
Enterprise
(5001-10,000 employees)
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"Sakai Administrator/Instructor Review"

What do you like best?

Why do I like Sakai?

Sakai is open source, free (no strings), reliable, easy to use, and has an excellent user community. I like it that a vendor isn't telling us what tools we can use, we're not stuck with tools we don't like, nor is one person or a few telling us what we can do. The Sakai user community decides on the direction of the LMS and what tools will be updated and how. Our college heavily uses the Gradebook, Assignments, Tests & Quizzes, Discussion Forms and Lessons (for organizing content). We also provide project sites for all of our advisers. We have over 5,000 credit students; 85% of our credit instructors are using Sakai, about 20% of our courses are online, another 15% are hybrid.

What do I like about the new features in Sakai 11+?

Our college is using Sakai 2.9 and upgrading to Sakai 11.2 soon-I've been one of the Administrators and an online instructor for 4 years. The latest release, Sakai 11+, has been updated with responsive design, is mobile-ready, accessible, has a new Gradebook that works like an Excel spreadsheet, and most of the core tools have been streamlined and updated to be even easier to use, such as Lessons, and Tests & Quizzes.

Create Organized Online/hybrid/supplemental classes:

In my online classes, I can easily import a course where I've added weekly Lessons subpages. If instructors use Lessons, they can create a very organized class for students-students can find all of their weekly materials in one location.

On each weekly Lessons subpage I can display:

YouTube videos or EDpuzzles or PlayPosit videos embedded with questions; display images/diagrams, link to Office Mixes (narrated PowerPoints) and/or documents, and I provide links directly to the weekly discussion, assignment, and/or quiz. I also add links to screencasts I've made to my assignment instructions.

Other Sakai/integrated tools I like to use:

I also provide web conferencing with BigBlueButton (an open source web conferencing tool), provide surveys to get updates from my students on how the class is going, provide blog posts for variety, and allow students to post in the Chat Room for quick questions/answers. I post all of the due dates in the Calendar. At any time, I can make the class grades visible to students in the Gradebook (this is a simple Gradebook setting, that displays weighted grades, and has been updated to also display points or percentages as well).

What do other Sakai instructors use?

Some of our instructors like to use Lessons Student Pages, where students can create their own "project sites" and post videos, images, links to documents, and links to web sites. Other instructors like to create groups-most of the Sakai tools are group aware, including Assignments, Tests & Quizzes, Forums, and our web conferencing tool BigBlueButton, Assignments and now Lessons Student Pages also allow peer review/grading for collaborative assignments. Other instructors like to use Turnitin, the plagiarism checker tool, as well as Turnitin's Grademark tool.

As a Sakai Administrator,:

It's easy to set up classes and projects. We've automated the site creation and instructor/student enrollment between our Colleague registration system and Sakai. We use Active Directory authentication, and Sakai is just one of many systems our students access with the same userid/password. We do have a Sakai vendor and a vendor for BigBlueButton, who keeps our system up 100% and provides excellent customer service. We also use LTI to link to various tools (such as links to textbook publishers).

I highly recommend Sakai, and would be glad to discuss our experience with others.

What do you dislike?

This is a community of users, so like any open source community, you need time, money and resources available to make updates. Luckily, the money and resources usually do appear when we need them!

The Test & Quizzes tool has been updated (simplified settings), but it will become more streamlined as money/resources become available.

Of the tools, the Forums/Topic tool is clunky; I'd like to see a replacement. Since different people created different tools-some don't work like the others-this is one of those tools.

I'd like to see the Blog integrated with the Gradebook, and I like how simple it is..but there are two blog tools and we have to pick one to support.

The community has looked at a replacement for the wiki tool, but nothing open-source has really caught our eye.

Lessons in Sakai 11+ has been seriously upgraded-now you can create columns, sections, colored backgrounds, and is streamlined, so it looks excellent.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

* Free, Open Source (really open-source)

* Has an active educational community donating new Sakai tools, updates, training, and support

*These are tools we use with Sakai in addition to the core and contrib tools: BigBlueButton, (an open source web conferencing tool), WIRIS, a math tool, Softchalk, YouTube, Turnitin (investigating Vericite),

* Small organizations to large (100,000 students) use Sakai

* Actively working towards meeting W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria, IMS Common Course Cartridge

* Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI v2) standard to integrate with third party learning tools and other systems

* Other tools Sakai integrates with: Adobe Connect, BigBlueButton, Kaltura (video/multimedia), Open Meetings (Conference tool), RSS Feeds, SCORM Player

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We had to upgrade 4 years ago, and at the time, our users didn't want Blackboard or Moodle. It would have been easier to go with one of those two LMS's since most of our state's Community Colleges use them. But we really like Sakai.

It's reliable, which is extremely important. Sakai meets our instructors teaching and learning needs and our students rarely have issues other than resetting their passwords. With the added collaboration abilities available for group/peer assignments in Assignments and in Lessons Student Pages/Content tools, it meets the growing needs of our online/hybrid instructors and students. We'll now have responsive, as well as accessible content for our users, and the latest version has a professional look and feel.

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U
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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Business partner of the vendor or vendor's competitor, not included in G2 scores.

"Very nice software"

What do you like best?

Lot, lots of functions and extremely easy to learn how to use! I thought I would need to take a training course but could figure everything by myself. Create assignments, upload files, get in touch with students

What do you dislike?

the class roster seems quite useless. Also it doesn't incorporate basic info like meeting time & place for classes.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Give yourself enough time to explore and "play" with it. There are a lot of useful functions that you can discover just by spending some time on it.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Grading papers online directly through the software, and being able to connect the grading to the Turnitin software, which checks for potential plagiarism in minutes.

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Teaching Assistant
Fine Art
Enterprise
(10,001+ employees)
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"Dependable Class/Project Page Program"

What do you like best?

I like that I can customize the sidebars to make the sites fit the needs of my classes and projects. I also like that the platform makes communication with groups and individuals easy.

What do you dislike?

I don't like that I cannot create my own, custom resources and that the permissions for users and administrators of each site are difficult to customize.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Know in advance the customization limitations of this software so that you can come up with creative solutions to make the preexisting fields/sections suit your class/project's needs.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use Sakai to create project and class resources pages for my students to access. With Sakai, I have been able to streamline communication with my students and the sharing of resources with project collaborators.

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UH
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
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"Great Course Management Software"

What do you like best?

One of the most useful features of the software is the ability to make random quizzes and upload all course work in a secure place for only students in the course to acquire.

What do you dislike?

Adding in html markup into posts to add emphasis can be trying at times as it doesn't always work properly.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Course resource management and online grading. This has allowed the university to get coursework online without having our professors each develop their own website. This has freed up time for our professors to have more face to face time with our students as opposed to sitting at a computer trying to figure out their own individual website.

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Software Engineer
E-Learning
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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Business partner of the vendor or vendor's competitor, not included in G2 scores.

"Great LMS software with many tools and beautiful community"

What do you like best?

It's the best LMS tool available.

It has great set of tools like lessons, assignments, announcments, test and quizzes, forums, chat and many.

Supports integration with basic lti, big blue button, kaltura etc.

It got beautiful community who are always there to help you out.

A true open source tool, You can voice your opinion on anything(feature, bug) in the community.

Help content is very well documented.

You can rely on this lms because it is used by lot of top universities in the world(https://sakaiproject.org/community).

Lot of customization can be achieved simply by setting properties .

What do you dislike?

First time Installation is tricky.

Documentation for developers is not so great so mostly you have to rely on the community.

Lessons tool should be improved to create class room kind of environment.

Developers need to know many technologies to customize the software.

Attendance tool is missing which should be provided.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Sakai is best If you need a scalable LMS software for many users.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are providing LMS software for education institutions as well as branded web sites for individual trainers.

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UE
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
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"Effective Communications Tool"

What do you like best?

I liked the ease of use and the ability to allow subordinates to contribute and maintain course pages.

What do you dislike?

Because I was a third party vendor, gaining access to the software was difficult.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

For implementation outside of an academic setting, the software was still useful. Considering the scope of the program and the tenure of employees, it was rather easy to add and remove them from the course pages. It was also an effective way to ensure that employees were enrolled in the institution; which was a requirement of the position.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

In a previous position, I was able to utilize Sakai to build course pages for the program I managed. The program was a student job affiliated with the institution, and we found that the pages were an effective tool to communicate with current employees and to recruit new employees.

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Center Coordinator
Education Management
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Sakai for Students"

What do you like best?

What I like about Sakai is how simple it is to use and the exam format is simple.

What do you dislike?

The layout could be nicer. There's also an issue with the lesson plans. When you click on a lesson, you can't see the other sections, so you have to go through each one if you're trying to jump from one to the next.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Make the navigation a little bit easier and the format a little bit nicer to look at.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use it for my synchronized classes to go through lessons, turn in assignments, and sometimes take exams.

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Managing Director
Management Consulting
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Sakai works well for 20+ institutions that share a single instance"

What do you like best?

Sakai is an open source LMS, which means that there are many, many people who care about its quality and functionality -- people who work in higher education. The people who build Sakai are the people who use Sakai. (Contrast this with commercial LMS where the system is build by programmers in a back room somewhere for profit.)

That said, Sakai has a wonderful open architecture that is pedagogically neutral. Instructional designers and instructors can place whatever tools are appropriate for their teaching, and, more importantly, for their students' learning, into a course. The tool pallet for Sakai is extensive, with tools for communication, administration, collaboration, and more. Sakai excels most of all, perhaps, in its ability to build collaborative working and learning models.

What do you dislike?

In an open source world, one has to get used to a rather broad range of opinions about what the system should look like. There may be less of a cohesive design strategy. That said, however, I've seen an awful lot of commercial products (and some open source ones as well) that have just as much, even more, lack of cohesiveness. Consider a certain commercial product that seems to enjoy acquiring (and suing) competitive products and then "integrating" them into its architecture. The design strategy of acquisition and stitching together ends up with more of a patchwork quilt than a consistent design. Sakai certainly does NOT have that problem.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

We have nothing to sell -- in fact, you can't buy Sakai. You can download it for free. But if you want to discuss the ins and outs of Sakai from a Consortium of people who have been using it for ten year, contact me. I'd be glad to tell you everything about it and even invite you to consider joining our Consortium.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Sakai has been outstanding for us. Our consortium started with just a few members who pooled our resources to host, support, and train around an open source LMS in order to save costs. Clearly we met a need, because we're up to 21 member institutions now. We're international and, in 2008, we won the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration. We've been able to extend the Sakai architecture and tightly integrate additional tools such as systems for plagiarism detection, live video conferencing, lecture capture and playback, media storage and real-time streaming, and more. If Sakai were not the robust, well-designed platform that it is, none of that would have been possible.

(Note: to define our "company size" I'm estimating the number of employees across all of our member institutions.) Check us out at www.lampschools.org.

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Assistant Director Online Instructional Design & Technology
E-Learning
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"How the little guy can play with the big players"

What do you like best?

Sakai allows for so much flexibility. More is given besides course sites. Project sites can retain and manage information for administrative needs and accreditation boards. Creativity can allow for designs for committees and projects way beyond the classroom.

I like that there are design options that can be explored. I especially like the conversation. Participants from all levels and all institutions can freely talk about their innovations and experiences within Sakai to learn from each other.

What do you dislike?

There is still a need for development with the aesthetic. The real functionality can be hidden in a plain wrapper. I have to remind myself that many of its graphic limitations are limitations of any website and this is not a dedicated authoring tool, but a platform for presenting instructional and administrative content. Also, there is not complete harmony in how the tools work. Different entities develop different tools at different paces. But there is real, observable development that is exciting to watch.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I know that many, many highly successful universities and businesses are using Sakai at every level of user participation. I know someone who was a trainer in the biggest commercial LMS who said Sakai has every functionality of the Big Guy and more with operating costs that were a fraction of participating in the commercial product. Training products are free and are becoming more and more available.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Our campus has around 550-600 FTE. This is a small campus that needs to work with other small campuses to have a presence in the online community. We also have few resources to invest in online development. We have been able to work collaboratively with several other institutions to share resources and group governance within our experience of Sakai. This is one of the many examples of flexibility that Sakai enjoys. Our small institution could not afford to have a commercial LMS, but Sakai is available to be maximally effective for any size or configuration of implementation. We have a top-notch LMS tool with a very affordable investment in a hosting service and a collaboration with others. That is allowing us to develop new programs and to help students who need the online component to complete their education

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VLE (Sakai) Service Manager
Research
Enterprise
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"Sakai works very well for us at The University of Oxford"

What do you like best?

The open and non-restrictive nature of Sakai is a perfect fit for a research-led institution such as Oxford. It is easy to open us access to course sites to students who are not officially members of that degree programme. The open nature of Sakai allows cross-fertilisation of ideas between diverse disciplines and offers students the opportunity to step outside of traditional course boundaries.

Sakai has all the tools you'd expect of an enterprise learning management system and the next release (due at the end of 2015) makes a giant leap forward by offering a fully responsive system that works equally well on a mobile phone or traditional desktop. One of the most useful features is the simple way that staff (faculty) can use the Lessons tool in conjunction with the WYSIWYG HTML editor to hand-craft fully-accessible web pages offering simple pathways through complex learning material.

Sakai is open source software which means there are no licence fees but more importantly means that Sakai can be customised to mirror the way that a particular institution operates. Sakai development follows the community source model which means that anybody who has implemented a good idea has every chance of being able to get their work into future releases of the software. This approach is both more dynamic and more democratic that insisting that all code modifications must pass through an over-worked central development team.

The Sakai user and developer community is excellent, it has weekly virtual meetings and is very good at offering support to both new and established users. Being part of the larger Apereo community is important as this provides good governance and allows the Sakai community to benefit from the experiences of other Apereo projects such as Xerte, uPortal, Apereo OAE and CAS.

Apereo is like the Apache Foundation for educational open source software and appears to be going from strength to strength.

What do you dislike?

Sakai is quite complicated to set up which means that staff members cannot easily experiment on their own - generally the system will have to be deployed and configured by a central IT team.

The fact that it is written in Java is a double edged sword: it provides the infrastructure to allow Sakai to be used as an Enterprise system with tens of thousands of concurrent users but it does put a larger overhead on code development than (say) a system written in PHP or Python. Having said that, Sakai's excellent support of IMS LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) means it is simple to plug in external educational tools which of course can be written in any language.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Please get in touch with The University of Oxford if you want more information. There are a number of commercial partners offering hosted instances of Sakai and even more large and small companies who are able to do small and large scale development. Some of these companies charge extremely competitive rates.

I would also say it is vital to evaluate the upcoming Sakai 11 release as it is very different indeed to the current Sakai 10 release.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Oxford needs to deliver learning materials to its student and researcher population. This material cannot be constrained by course boundaries as it needs to be accessed by university members from other disciplines. This is simple to do is Sakai and will be even easier in the next major release - Sakai 11.

Sakai is used as a 'learning hub' - a central location from which other resources can be accessed. For example, we have spent time creating tools to allow past exam papers to be located and downloaded, to allow researchers to locate and book on 'skills training' courses and to open up learning materials to any member of the University of Oxford.

The teaching model in use at the University of Oxford is fairly non-standard and it is absolutely vital that any learning management system must complement the teaching rather than getting in the way. To address this, we have made many local modifications to Sakai at Oxford, a good many of which have made it back into the core code-based.

One of the main benefits of Sakai is the very low total cost of ownership. Compared to most of the other enterprise systems at use at the University of Oxford, Sakai is incredibly cheap. That has allowed the University to spend some of the money saved in licensing fees and so on to be spent on employing developers to further customise the code-base to allow it to fit in with the education processes in use at Oxford - this is a far better way of operating than trying to change the way the university operates to fit in with the learning management system.

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Internet
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"Student User of Sakai (Netbadge)"

What do you like best?

I love how intuitive it is to access my grades; I also enjoy how I can view my class schedule in a block style format, so I can visualize long open spaces of time that would be best to fill in with more credits. It's also quite easy to contact my teachers and access any documents I need to complete my assignments that they have posted online.

What do you dislike?

I dislike how when you log out of Netbadge, sometimes it says you haven't, and you have to restart your computer to log in properly and get access back into your account.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Sakai reduces the occurrence of miscommunication between student and professor. Assignments, grades, forums, emails, and announcements are all located in the same vicinity, so there really is no excuse to have any confusion about what work is due for class or how will you did on a certain test. Sakai is a great class management tool that gives students to reach their full potential if they're willing to put the work in.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am not solving business problems, but Netbadge has allowed me to keep up with my class expectations in one easy place. Most of my assignments are posted there, as well as the required readings, all in respected folders that are easy to access. Their system makes it easy for me to access my grades, professor contact information, class schedules, and weekly announcements all within one site.

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Sr. Compensation Analyst
Higher Education
Enterprise
(5001-10,000 employees)
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"Sakai Is pretty good"

What do you like best?

I appreciate the ease of setup. We've had students even populate the space before

What do you dislike?

I'm not sure I have a dislike at this moment. I'm still a fairly new user, but I haven't encountered anything too terrible

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It provides an easily accessible space for our professors and their students

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Information Technology and Services
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"Growing with Sakai"

What do you like best?

Some of the best features in Sakai as a platform involve the sense of community that intentionally attempts to bring together those who use Sakai with those who develop it. Being able to reach out and directly influence how the platform continues to grow is a direct result of the Open Source movement. Being able to speak directly to and with developers, helps to provide a much more clear outcome for what educators want from an LMS.

Open Source does not mean free, and while Sakai is open source, the ROI is significant. Anyone can contribute to the improvement, betterment and effectiveness of the platform. The proximity of faculty, administrators, students, IT, and others to developers makes the platform responsive - it's really rewarding when a suggestion you make to the global community is accepted and adopted as an improvement in the platform. You feel as if you have and can make a difference in making something better for not only your own institution, but for the wider global community.

Without a doubt though, Sakai isn't just about leveraging a technology that's less expensive than the rest. As one of the projects adopted by Apereo, the community is also about connecting the technology with it's intended use - teaching and learning. Sakai is feature rich - including many tools that would cost 'extra' in other platforms - allowing faculty and course designers to develop traditional, fully online and hybrid courses at their institutions.

Of the features in Sakai, the Lessons area is the best. It brings together content and places it in context for students to access. Some faculty have even found it to be a great organizational tool for their traditional courses. Lessons brings together the ability sequence and organize instructional content in a way that 'makes sense'.

What do you dislike?

Every product, platform or service has it's 'areas to improve', and Sakai is no different. If Sakai was perfect, it would likely cost a lot more to implement, use and maintain.

One area I can see Sakai improving is in the syntax/terminology used throughout the user interface. In some cases (as happens with some open source content) it's difficult to insure continuity and uniformity throughout a product - with so many contributors to a platform it's not always easy to make sure everyone agrees just on how a particular feature should look or function.

Another area of improvement would be in how student progress is tracked. Sakai can functionally provide feedback on page views, assessment scores and engagement in a course, but it's tough to quantify all of that into a summary that provides a quick overview of individual student progress - this is especially critical in online courses.

Another area of improvement would be in authentication - providing a second level of authentication the way many banking institutions do. Our current implementation leverages enterprise level username and password encryption technologies, but any more having a second level of authentication is not only common but in some cases expected by federal guidelines or standards for authenticating student identity.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Do an honest comparison for ROI - regardless of what LMS you adopt. Also recognize the need to leverage a platform that helps to accomplish your overall institutional objectives. Just because Sakai is open source - it doesn't mean transitioning to it (or any other platform) will be free or cheap.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

There have been three primary problems we've been able to address with implementing Sakai:

1. Lower cost - Sakai has cost the institution as a whole, less and we've been able to get more from the platform/product than we did with another platform. We spent at least $60,000 annually for our previous LMS - for the minimum set of features - and did not have nearly enough faculty use or even want to use it. We currently spend about 1/3 of that on Sakai's annual budget and have far more faculty using Sakai in all their courses.

2. Better adoption - Sakai has been simple enough to allow just about any faculty or student to acclimate to using it. Sakai has provided us with a level of consistent course structure and flow that has made it easier for our faculty and students to deal with content and less with the technology that houses it.

3. We've been able to scale - Sakai was a critical choice for us because we were getting ready to launch several fully online programs and degrees. We've been able to do that with Sakai. With an institution of only 1200, and only 2 staff to support the online programs and degrees, it's been a testament to how adept and easy to use Sakai is. As we continue to grow and develop even more programs and courses over the coming years, I'm confident we'll strive in step with Sakai's improvements and new features w/o having to worry about sky-rocketing cost or functional ability.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"Sakai was, has been and continues to be a shining light fir my MACR program."

What do you like best?

I like best Sakai's user friendliness and ability to create and launch a new course - from the ground up in under a day. I also like Sakai's flexibility with design, course assignment and exam structure. Lastly, I like the student experience. Students of all ages and demographics adapt to Sakai within minutes, which ultimately contributes to their success.

What do you dislike?

There are a few things I would add to/change about Sakai if I could. First, I would like to see more roles available for the administrator without having to use delegated access. It would be helpful to have an additional classroom roles successful as "administrator" so "instructor" isn't the role with the highest level of authority and the same as the administrator. Instructors (faculty) do not need the same authority or abilities as the administrator.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Try it and let an experienced administrator consult with you so you don't miss anything Sakai cab do for you.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Student adaptation and fluidity are the primary benefits that each contribute to the students' success. When students focus less on the anxiety of understanding an LMS and more on learning, we all succeed.

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Human Resources
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"An easy, organized way to store all the information you need for your institution."

What do you like best?

The organized structure to the design and ability to easily access different subject tabs. It is also nice to be able to have a site that contains every subject for my institution so that I don't get confused and disorganized storing all of my information in different places. I also like the visual appeal of the site, as I feel that it is aesthetically appealing and comprehensive. One of the nicest aspects is also being easily able to communicate with others in my institution.

What do you dislike?

Only certain tabs can appear with subjects at the top of the page at a time. In addition, I feel that the dashboard was being worked on throughout the entire school year so I was unable to access it although sometimes I wished that I could. Also, it would be nice to have a search bar so that I can look up key words and find information more quickly and easily. Also, the "news" option tab does not seem to be functioning, and I get a red alert saying that the service is unavailable. Fixing glitches such as this would help make the site better as well.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Use on a regular basis to stay updated!

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Keeping information stored in one place helps keep me organized and on task. I have realized that having one website that contains all of the information I need for my university classes is the best way to stay up to date on professor announcements and assignments.

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Performing Arts
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"Sakai accessible and easy to use for students and professors!"

What do you like best?

Sakai is very user-friendly and accessible, and allows everything to be accessed from one single source. It made my life as a student very easy to organize, as every material I needed, for multiple classes, was available through this site. I also appreciated the features I did not readily associate with my class, such as feedback and media, were available to me and my professors. As an administrator for a class, I always had an easy time setting up a Sakai site.

What do you dislike?

I wish there was a more seamless transition between active and inactive sites, and a way to organize inactive sites that are still being used from the completely irrelevant ones. I appreciate that the material on each site remains available to the user, but wish that was a little more accessible.

Another issue I ran into was simply communication via Sakai--some would post in forums, message boards, etc., but not everyone would. I don't know how, but it would be nice to find a way to get all users on the same page about interacting through the site.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Go in with an understanding of the primary uses your organization has for Sakai, so that you go in with a basic understanding of how/when to use it. There are many options, and it is easy to get lost in all that you don't need, so familiarize yourself with the tools and usages that are relevant to your particular organization.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Organization; access to information, scheduling, resources; a way to communicate among peers and professors.

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"Consolidated School and Community Resources"

What do you like best?

Everything is in one place, and I can find everything I need for my classes. CTools puts grades, announcements, assignments - everything I need - in one place. It also allows for different types of assignments: forums, discussions, and short-answer assignments are available through the site. It is also nice that it is the only place I turn in essays and papers; rather than using TurnItIn or e-mail, I can send all my essays through CTools, and then receive feedback in the same place.

What do you dislike?

The format of the page could be better. It isn't as intuitive as I'd like.

It also seems impossible to remove myself or turn off notifications for pages/groups that I am in. For example, I am no longer interested in healthcare and yet I continue to receive 5+ emails a day from announcements from their CTools group page.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

It is a very useful tool to students, teachers, and those in the business world. It has made keeping on top of my coursework much easier. Without it, I think it would be very difficult to be aware of my teachers' expectations. With CTools, I get updates and announcements immediately, and I can reference syllabi whenever I need. It is also easy to view past assignments and their feedback (assuming they were turned in through the site); this is very useful in determining what I need to improve upon when completing an assignment.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It's helped me keep track of all my schoolwork.