The latest released version of Sakai, version 2.9.3, improves on the existing features that allows for the connection of Sakai courses to external tools. The forthcoming version of Sakai, Sakai 10, takes this provision even further.
The biggest improvement is institutionalizing the configuration process to allow approved external tools to appear as peers to Sakai’s own tools when instructors choose what they would like to add to their course site, especially in Sakai 10.
The Sakai tool and the specification that supports the connection is the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification.
Presently, in the Brock University context, instructors need to know that the Brock University service, web-based tool or Publisher they are interested in integrating into their course: exists, supports LTI specification and that Isaak/Sakai can be connected through LTI. The instructor then must contact administrators to have the connection added to his/her course. The connection is only made once the proposed integration has met Brock University’s technical and privacy standards. This new model of pre-approved tools and their listing alongside other Sakai tools now only requires the instructors interest – prompted from any source, including students previous experience.
This ability to add tools alongside Sakai’s current listing of possible tools also provides an opportunity for university services to tightly integrate with courses in addition to making instructors aware that they exist.
The following posting discusses (in too much depth at times) the current status, the Sakai tool and LTI specification, examples of tools that could be integrated and a framework for the selection of tools to be added to this “App Store for Instructors”.