Sakai Courseware Management: The Official Guide

Sakai Courseware Management: The Official Guide
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • Covers working with Sakai tools, the administration workspace, and more
  • Includes lots of ideas and best practices for teachers and trainers on using Sakai effectively
  • Create instructional materials and design students' activities
  • A step-by-step approach with practical examples, ample screenshots, and comprehensive content for a wide target audience

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 504 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : June 2009
ISBN : 1847199402
ISBN 13 : 9781847199409
Author(s) : Alan Mark Berg, Michael Korcuska
Topics and Technologies : All Books, Other, e-Learning, Open Source

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: What Is Sakai?
Chapter 2: Feet First: Running the Demo
Chapter 3: Sakai Anatomy
Chapter 4: My First Project Site
Chapter 5: Your First Course Site
Chapter 6: Enterprise Bundle Tools & Quality Assurance
Chapter 7: Worksite Tools
Chapter 8: Contributed Tools
Chapter 9: Putting Sakai to Work
Chapter 10: The Administration Workspace
Chapter 11: Web Services: Connecting to the Enterprise
Chapter 12: Tips from the Trenches
Chapter 13: Common Error Messages
Chapter 14: Show Cases
Chapter 15: Innovating Teaching and Learning with Sakai
Chapter 16: A Crib Sheet for Selling Sakai to Traditional Management
Chapter 17: Participating in the Sakai Community
Chapter 18: Rogues Gallery
Chapter 19: Looking Ahead: Sakai 3
  • Chapter 1: What Is Sakai?
    • Sakai tools
    • The Sakai Foundation
    • Sakai worksite
    • The community
      • Branches
      • Workgroups
      • Developers
    • Roots
    • A brief history
      • Sakai 1.0
      • Present day
    • Advantages for organizations
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3: Sakai Anatomy
    • The Sakai framework
      • The aggregation layer
      • The presentation layer
      • The tools layer
      • The services layer
    • Core technologies
    • How Sakai is deployed at scale
      • Load balancing
      • Frontend servers
      • Database preferences
      • The Java Virtual Machine
    • Enterprise data integration
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4: My First Project Site
    • Tool-specific help
    • Managing project sites
      • Browsing the demonstration
      • Site creation
    • Tools of immediate value
      • Maintaining your site details
    • Summary
  • Chapter 5: Your First Course Site
    • Creating a course site using the Sakai demo
    • Starter tips
      • Descriptions are important
      • Password strength
      • Becoming another user quickly
      • The motivation for sections
      • Creating sections
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Worksite Tools
    • A flashcard activity
    • Commonalities between tools
    • The Resources tool
    • Course tools
      • Context
      • Communication plan
      • Content
      • Assessing individual students
    • Introducing Portfolios
    • Portfolio expert interviewed
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8: Contributed Tools
    • An apology of sorts
    • The range of contributed tools
      • Sponsoring creativity
      • Pros and cons
    • A list of tools
    • Example deployments
      • The University of Michigan
        • Interview with David Haines, Senior Developer at Michigan
      • The University of Cape Town
    • Creating tools
      • Building tools
      • Sakai Electronic Lab Notebook for Research and Groupwork (SENRG)
      • SASH
        • Interview with Steven Githens, the force behind SASH
      • AppBuilder
    • Sousa—Content authoring and delivery for Sakai
      • What is Sousa?
      • An Interview with Mark Norton
    • Edia
      • What is Edia?
      • Skin Manager
      • Sakai Maps
      • Fedora tool
      • Web course tool
    • Open Syllabus
    • Summary
  • Chapter 9: Putting Sakai to Work
    • The tools and structure of a Sakai site
    • Sakai's site structure
      • My Workspace
      • The Home tool contents
        • The basic collaboration tools
        • Site administration
        • The basic teaching and learning tools
    • Types of Sakai sites
      • Problem-based courses
      • Small discussion courses
      • Large introductory courses
      • Project-based courses
      • Collaboration sites
    • Building your Home page
      • Check out the new look
      • Edit your page
      • Replace the site description
      • Customize the Home page
      • Ready to roll
    • Summary
  • Chapter 10: The Administration Workspace
    • What is a Sakai administrator?
    • The Administration tool set
    • Basic concepts
      • Internal ID
      • Java
      • Realms
      • An interview with Anthony Atkins
    • Adding a Portfolio template
      • The Portfolio administration site
      • OpenEd
    • Summary
  • Chapter 11: Web Services: Connecting to the Enterprise
    • Protocols
      • Playing with Telnet
      • Installing TCPMON
      • Requests and returned status codes
      • SOAP
      • JSON
      • REST
    • Existing web services
      • Recapping terminology
      • Default web services
    • Sakai and SOAP
      • My first web service
      • My first client
      • A more realistic client example
    • Entity Broker
      • Finding descriptions of services
      • Authenticating
      • A client-side coding example
      • Interview with Entity Broker author Aaron Zeckoski
    • WSRP
    • Summary
  • Chapter 12: Tips from the Trenches
    • The benefits of knowing that frameworks exist
    • Third-party frameworks
      • Spring
      • Hibernate
      • Apache frameworks
      • Dependencies
    • Expanded tour of Java
      • Introduction
      • JMX monitoring
    • The Apache web server
    • Migration
      • Migrating course content
        • A bit of history
        • Enabling LMS content import
        • A note about IMS Common Cartridge
        • Using "Import from File"
    • Interviews at the deep end
      • Megan May
      • Seth Theriault
      • David Howitz
    • Functional administration
    • Summary
  • Chapter 13: Common Error Messages
    • A policy of containment of errors
      • Reporting
      • Quality Assurance analysis
      • Production systems
    • Configuring logging
    • Common error messages
      • Java version
      • Port issues
      • Out of memory
      • The portal
      • The database
      • Search
      • File permissions
      • Class not found
    • Information sources
    • Summary
  • Chapter 14: Show Cases
    • Acknowledgements
    • CamTools: Using Sakai to support teaching and learning in a research-intensive university
      • About the authors
      • CamTools: Sakai at the University of Cambridge
      • Evidence-informed approaches to virtual learning environment development: the case of Plant Sciences
      • New directions
    • Summary
    • Sakai @ the University of Amsterdam
      • About the author
      • About the University
      • E-learning
      • The SURF Foundation
      • UvA communities, a Sakai collaboration environment
        • Webklassen
        • Conflict Studies
        • IIS Communities
        • The Hague Forum for Judicial Expertise
        • Project sites
        • Testweeklab
      • Digital Portfolio, a different use case
      • Why Sakai?
    • University of Michigan
      • Sakai success story
      • Transforming the education experience
      • Supporting the dissertation process
      • Streamlining academic administration
      • Future directions
    • UFP-UV: UFP in the Sakai project
      • About the authors
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Sakai usage, full adoption
      • The UFP tools
      • Sakai usage at UFP
    • Marist College and Sakai
      • Background
      • The commercial partner implementation model
      • Migrating a campus to Sakai
      • Tangible outcomes
    • rSmart
      • Overview
      • History
      • Easy to adopt
      • Easy to try
    • Crossing the border into research: Students' engagement with a Virtual Research Environment, a case study
      • About the authors
      • Background
      • Tutor engagement
      • Data collection
      • Student engagement
      • Key themes
      • Conclusions and recommendations
      • References
    • SOLO—Taking e-learning offline
      • About the author
      • Background
      • Internet bandwidth and cost
      • North-West University (South Africa)
      • How Solo works
    • The LAMP Consortium—Like a bundle of sticks
      • About the author
      • Introducing the project
      • Award winning
      • Winning factors
      • The LAMP experience
    • Criminology—A distance course in Sakai
      • About the authors
        • The Department of Criminology
        • Description of the distance course
      • Experiences—Lessons learned
        • Clarifying the structure of a course
        • The importance of the group
        • The social space
        • The absence of feedback
        • The need of support
      • Future development
      • Conclusion
    • Summary
  • Chapter 15: Innovating Teaching and Learning with Sakai
    • The Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award
    • Case studies from the winner's circle
      • 1st Place Winner: Biomedical Engineering (University of Michigan, USA)
        • Course description
        • Course development and delivery
        • Teaching innovation
      • 2nd Place Winner: International Law (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
        • Course description
        • Course development and delivery
        • Teaching innovation
    • Conclusions and lessons learned
    • Summary
    • References
  • Chapter 17: Participating in the Sakai Community
    • The Sakai Foundation
      • Consensus building
      • Legal home
      • Partnering up
    • The community
    • DoOcracy
    • Transparent communication
      • Conferences
      • Collab
      • Work Groups
      • Asynchronous communication
      • Open code, Open Standards
      • The QA network
      • The risk of information loss
      • The current wish list
    • An interview with a member of the community
    • Summary
  • Chapter 18: Rogues Gallery
    • If the Sakai community were a person
    • Sakai fellows
      • Dr Ian Boston
      • Clay Fenlason
      • Nuno Fernandes
      • Steven Githens
      • David Howitz
      • Beth Kirschner
      • Dr. Maggie McVay Lynch
      • Stephen Marquard
      • Seth Theriault
      • Zach A Thomas
      • Aaron Zeckoski
    • Foundation members
      • Michael Korcuska
      • Peter Knoop
      • Mary Miles
      • Pete Peterson
      • Anthony Whyte
    • Developers
      • Nicolaas Matthijs
      • Ray Davis
    • Quality assurers
      • Jean-François
      • Megan May
    • The rest
      • Chris Coppola
      • John Leasia
      • John Norman
      • Mark Norton
      • Charles Severance
      • Margaret Wagner
  • Chapter 19: Looking Ahead: Sakai 3
    • Sakai 3 goals
    • Sakai 3 for users
      • Moving beyond sites
      • Breaking the tool silos
      • Social networking
      • Content creation and organization
    • Sakai 3 for technologists
    • Interview with Sakai 3 chief architect
    • Summary

Alan Mark Berg

Alan Mark Berg Bsc. MSc. PGCE, has for the last twelve years been the lead developer at the Central Computer Services at the University of Amsterdam. In his famously scarce spare time, he writes. Alan has a degree, two masters degrees, and a teaching qualification. He has also co-authored two books about Sakai (, a highly successful open source learning management platform used by many millions of students around the world. Alan has also won a Sakai Fellowship. In previous incarnations, Alan was a technical writer, an Internet/Linux course writer, a product line development officer, and a teacher. He likes to get his hands dirty with the building and gluing of systems. He remains agile by ruining various development and acceptance environments.

Michael Korcuska

Michael Korcuska is the Executive Director of the Sakai foundation and has nearly 20 years of experience in technology-enabled education and training. Prior to joining Sakai, Michael served as Chief Operating Officer for ELT, Inc., a leading compliance-training provider. He has also held leadership positions at DigitalThink (now Convergys Learning Solutions) and Cognitive Arts, an award winning custom e-learning developer. Michael got his start in technology-based learning at Stanford University's Courseware Authoring Tools Lab and Apple Computer's Multimedia Lab in the late 1980s. He holds an M.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University (where he studied and worked at the Institute for the Learning Sciences) and B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. He usually lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and two children although his writing for this book was done during a year living in Paris, France.

Submit Errata

Please let us know if you have found any errors not listed on this list by completing our errata submission form. Our editors will check them and add them to this list. Thank you.


- 1 submitted: last submission 10 Sep 2012

Errata type: Typo | Page number: 13 | Errata date: 17 Aug 09

line 4: "...the /web-apps/sakai-axis directory and any..."

should be: "...the /webapps/sakai-axis directory and any..."


Sample chapters

You can view our sample chapters and prefaces of this title on PacktLib or download sample chapters in PDF format.

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What you will learn from this book

  • Set up, maintain and run Sakai in your learning institution
  • Explore the underlying technologies involved and use them to their best effect.
  • Discover what tools exist and how to employ them effectively
  • Design a great online learning experience
  • Use web services to connect to other systems
  • Understand how Sakai can scale to support hundreds of thousands of students
  • Learn best practices to avoid common pitfalls

In Detail

This book is the officially endorsed Sakai guide. From setting up and running Sakai for the first time to creatively using its tools, this book delivers everything you need to know.

Written by Alan Berg, Senior developer at the IC ( and a Sakai fellow and Michael Korcuska, the executive director of the Sakai Foundation, and with significant contributions from the Sakai community, this book is a comprehensive study of how Sakai should be used, managed and maintained.

Sakai represents a Collaboration and Learning environment that provides the means of managing users, courses, instructors, and facilities, as well as a spectrum of tools including assessment, grading, and messaging.

Sakai is loaded with many handy software tools, which help you in online collaboration. You can improve your coursework using features that supplement and enhance teaching and learning. You can use tools that will help you organize your communication and collaborative work.

The book opens with an overview that explains Sakai, its history and how to set up a demonstration version. The underlying structures within Sakai are described and you can then start working on Sakai and create your first course or project site using the concepts explained in this book. You will then structure online courses for teaching and collaboration between groups of students. Soon after mastering the Administration Workspace section you will realize that there is a vast difference between the knowledge that is required for running a demonstration version of Sakai and that needed for maintaining production systems. You will then strengthen your concepts by going through the ten real-world situations given in this book.

The book also discusses courses that have won awards, displays a rogue's gallery of 30 active members of the community, and describes what motivates management at the University of Amsterdam to buy into Sakai. Finally, the executive director of the Sakai Foundation looks towards the future.

A step-by-step, practical guide to using, managing, and maintaining Sakai.

As part of our Open Source Project Royalty scheme, Packt is paying a percentage of every book sold directly to the Sakai Foundation. On top of this, Alan Mark Berg and Michael Korcuska, the authors, are donating all royalties that they receive for this book direct to the Sakai Foundation.


The book takes a step-by-step, practical approach and is filled with examples and illustrations.

Who this book is for

This book is written for a wide audience that includes teachers, system administrators, and first time developers. It will also appeal to the Sakai open source community, potential community members, and education’s decision makers.

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