The Sakai community is in a special moment. We are celebrating our continued development of a full-featured, world-class, enterprise collaborative learning environment with the release of Sakai 2.6. At the same time, we are extending our early work on a next-generation Sakai 3 platform that will take us to new levels of sophistication in teaching, learning, collaboration, research, and technology.
Simultaneously, outside the community, big events have had profound effects on us. New paradigms of open education and new political winds provide different opportunities and challenges. Continued litigation and consolidation in the proprietary learning technology ecosystem and drastic budget cuts combine to force us to rethink basic assumptions and well-laid plans.
Many inside and outside Sakai are thinking about how best to meet their needs and plan for the future in this special time. How should we support education online? What learning environment should we adopt? How should we allocate resources between maintenance and innovation? How will we manage transitions from one system to another?
I came away from recent Sakai Boston conference thinking that there are two basic facts now more true than ever:
First, our current circumstances prove that technology decisions are best made following long-term strategic vision, not short-term expedience or purely functional and technical criteria.
And second, the best place to work out the answers to our hard questions is as a part of the Sakai community, that is, within Sakai's practice that follows a community, open source model.
I come to these conclusions based on the following points that I think any institution considering how to balance their resources and ambitions in this special time should carefully consider.