The second day of the conference began with the “Teaching with Sakai Innovation Awards.” First place went to Scott Bowman, for his course: Juvenile Justice. Bowman teaches atTexas State University-San Marcos. His course used the Sakai wiki to allow his students to synthesize a variety of topics around juvenile justice. Second place went to Sally Knipe for her course: Transitions in Middle Schooling. Knipe teaches at Charles Sturt University in Australia. Both courses showed how combining good Technology and Pedagogy can reinvigorate education.
The title of the program, “Is Sakai Always This Slow?” was too intriguing to pass up. Matt Mize from the University of Dayton along with several others explained how a year-long investigation led to solving the mystery of why Sakai was slow at their institution (a Sun hardware issue). The best part of this program was the journey they went through to find and solve this issue.
As a member of the lower division advising committee at Wake Forest, I felt compelled to attend “Innovations in Academic Advising: A Sakai CLE for Academic Advisors and Advisees.” Marist College had completed a one-year pilot of a site for academic advisors and student advisees. In an environment where one adviser can have 50 advisees, a tool like Sakai is necessary to balance the needs of the students and the time requirements of one adviser. I can see uses for Sakai in the advising process at WFU as well.
The next two sessions focused on support. “Solving the training and support challenge,” presented by Rob Moore, the Manager of the Foreign Language Resource Center in the Department of Romance Languages at Chapel Hill. With over 4,000 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory courses in French, German, Italian and Spanish, Sakai’s ability to offer consistency in course site design has allowed for common training courses. Instructors teaching various course levels can attend the same training course. In addition, work study employees make the documentation and tutorials demonstrating how to use Sakai. The slides from this presentation are available online at http://www.slideshare.net/tag/sakai10 along with other presentations from the conference.
The other support session I attended was “Wiki-based support for Sakai” by Matt Clare, an Educational Tech. Support Specialist at Brock University, a Canadian university that recently transitioned from WebCT CE 6 to Sakai. They are successfully using Media Wiki to serve as a major support tool for their users. To see the slides from this presentation see http://mattclare.ca/blog/2009/11/23/using-a-wiki-to-document-isaak-brock-universitys-sakai-based-lms/