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CIO  February 2006

CIO February 2006

Subject:

Re: Higher-Ed LMS Market Penetration (Moodle/Blackboard/Sakai)

From:

Anthony Whyte <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 10 Feb 2006 15:21:01 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (72 lines)

In a note I recently posted on D'Arcy Norman's blog I pointed out that 
Sakai is an integrative framework designed to support collaboration, 
research and learning both within and across institutions of higher 
education. It is envisioned to serve a variety of 
constituencies--instructors and students, researchers, ad hoc work 
groups, project teams etc. While Sakai is often portrayed in the 
marketplace as a learning management system (LMS) or course management 
system (CMS), the Sakai application framework has a broader purpose and 
is designed to support the wide variety of collaboration and learning 
activities that take place within education and research.  Our vision 
renders problematic the otherwise easy comparisons drawn by some in 
their discussions of Sakai vs. other systems.

Problematic too is the language of competition injected recently into 
the discussion.  We at the Sakai Foundation do not look upon other open 
source initiatives as competitors nor do we regard serving the 
education and research communities as a mercantilist exercise where 
opportunities are finite and one’s gain is another’s loss.  Rather our 
aim is to provide open source software alternatives developed 
collaboratively and featuring free acquisition and open licensing 
designed to encourage innovation, extension and a wide range of use.

While Sakai can be run productively on a single machine, the 
community’s focus at present is on enterprise-wide deployments 
throughout the world where project and course sites number in the 
thousands and the user base ranges from 20,000 to 100,000.  In D’Arcy’s 
blog I provided an example of our largest enterprise deployment to 
date, that being the University of South Africa’s MyUnisa system 
launched in January 2006, a rollout ramping up to support 6000+ project 
and course sites and a student and faculty population of 83,000+. 
UNISA’s hardware/OS configuration is worth noting and features:

4 x HP ProLiant DL380 G4 rack mount servers
1 x Fileserver/NFS/MySQL/DHCP/DNS
1 x LinuxVirtualServer Load Balancer
2 x Diskless Nodes
each having 2 GB RAM and 2 x 3200Mhz CPU

The fileserver runs CentOS 3.6 and the node file system is CentOS 3.3.

The nodes run the following software:
Apache 2.0.46
Java 1.4.2_09
Tomcat 5.5.12

UNISA’s Sakai deployment also features the inclusion of a number of 
locally produced tools running under Struts yet fully supported by 
Sakai's extensible and interoperable application framework. In the near 
future we expect to support tools developed in languages other than 
Java such as PHP and PERL.

Large-scale implementations of Sakai's CLE at Indiana University, the 
University of Michigan and Yale University as well as those planned at 
Portland State University, Rice University, Rutgers, Stanford 
University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of 
California, Davis, the University of Cambridge and Virginia Tech are 
data points of real value to those considering replacing home-grown or 
proprietary commercial offerings with an open source alternative. And 
if one adds to this list the Open University's recent selection of 
Moodle as their enterprise CMS, the greater scope afforded to choice in 
the marketplace by the advent of open source initiatives like Sakai and 
Moodle is more fully appreciated.


Cheers,

Anthony Whyte
Sakai Foundation / University of Michigan

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

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