Sakai, an open source collaboration and learning environment, will replace Blackboard as UNC-Chapel Hill’s learning management system by December 2012.
The move from Blackboard to Sakai will provide greater flexibility and control, an expanded tool set and longer term sustainability.
“Sakai allows us to customize for individual user or program needs,” said Larry Conrad, vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer. “It is a major change but one that better supports Carolina’s learning, research and collaboration needs now and in the future. We will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition for faculty. That is one of our top priorities.”
Information Technology Services (ITS) will lead the transition in collaboration with faculty and campus IT support staff. Support options will include one-on-one faculty consultations, content migration assistance, group demonstrations and workshops, faculty case studies, on-demand online tutorials and targeted informational meetings.
A Sakai pilot began in fall 2008 with 18 courses and grew to 81 courses with 120 sections by fall 2010. A 2009 survey of Sakai pilot participants indicated that when it came to functionality, Sakai tools were on parity with Blackboard’s but Sakai offered additional flexibility for researchers, committee work and other collaborations. Students and faculty indicated that Sakai was easy to use.
Last fall the IT Governance Instructional Technology Coordinating Committee approved the recommendation to move to Sakai and the decision was finalized in October 2010 by the Information Technology Executive Steering Committee (ITESC). Both committees are part of campus IT governance structure.