Q1 2017 Sakai Open Source Support Briefing

Published on: April 19, 2017
Diego del Blanco, Software Developer

The quarterly Sakai Open Source Support Briefing is an opportunity to share the contributions performed on behalf of the OSS program, highlight Unicon's perspective on contributions, and share happenings in the community along with opportunities to engage further with Unicon.

On Wednesday April 12, 2017, the Unicon Open Source Support (OSS) team held the Sakai Open Source Support Briefing summarizing OSS activities for Q1 of 2017.

1. Rubrics Project

Unicon has been collaborating with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) on the Rubrics community project. This project was fostered by the FARM initiative and was worked with the additional assistance of Longsight and NYU respectively. 

Rubrics will allow the evaluator to grade activities using predefined criteria and scales that define the way an activity should be evaluated. In essence, it will makes it easier for the evaluator to grade, avoiding different criteria when different evaluators are grading the same activity.

We have also created the Rubrics Service that will provide additional capabilities and tools creating efficiencies and a better user experience. In addition, Rubrics has also been integrated with Assignments as the first tool using native rubrics in Sakai. 

Moving forward, Longsight will work to integrate into Gradebook and other tools with grading capabilities, such as the Forum tool.

We expect this work to be included in Sakai 12 release summer 2017.

Figure 1-1: rubrics management

Figure 1-2: Rubrics association


Figure 1-3: Grading with a rubric

2. Tagging and Searching in Samigo Project

Unicon has been working with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) to generate a new service to manage tag collections in Sakai. 

This service will allow other tools to tag elements in Sakai. The tags can be used as extra information to define an element, or can be used as a search parameter. To demonstrate this, the project has integrated this service with Samigo, allowing a user to easily tag questions. 

To take advantage of the question tags, we have generated a question search option (modifying the elastic search capabilities in Sakai to allow the creation of new indexes) that indexes the Samigo questions and allows the searching by tags. We have also added the capability to search questions by the text of the question, options, etc. 

With this search option the instructors will be able to catalogue their questions, search and easily reuse related ones, when creating e a new test.

We are working to have this work integrated in Sakai 12 summer 2017.

Figure 2-1: Question with Tags


Figure 2-2: Tag selector


Figure 2-3: New Samigo Question Search Screen


3. Advanced Analytics in Samigo

Unicon has been working with Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) to generate new statistic reports in Samigo that will analyze results with more parameters in the reports similar to what Scantron is offering.  

These reports will allow instructors to better understand test results by going beyond grades and allowing instructors to gain insights into student outcomes by; Gaining insight on what students are not understanding and finding questions that students are possibly confused by. The reports will include a resumed view of the errors of each student and the non-answered questions.

We will present this work to the community and gauge interest as to whether this feature will be integrated into the Sakai Community code in a future version.  

Figure 3-1: Full test statistics


Figure 3-2: User statistics


Figure 3-3: Question statistics


Figure 3-4: Question Statistics


Figure 3-5: Erroneous and no-answered questions.


4. Other actions

4.1 PR to modify the order of the save/cancel buttons in the user creation page

Until now, when editing a user in Sakai, the Save Details button was in the right side and the Cancel Changes button was on the left. In almost every other place on the platform, the order is reversed. That was generating a lot of undesired "cancel" actions by mistake. We have now changed the order for continuity and ease of use.


Figure 4-1: Change the order of the buttons in the Create Account screen

4.2 Activity in the list

There was a lot of dialogue amongst community members with Unicon assisting with issues, questions, participation in discussions and follow up actions created for new features and improves to Sakai.  

4.3 Preparing presentations in Open Apereo

Unicon is going to participate in 4 presentations related to Sakai in the Open Apereo conference in June 2017 in Philadelphia to include:

  • The Sakai Rubrics Project - A Community Update
  • Tagging, searching, reusing and analyzing questions in Samigo
  • Sakai From the Beginning (2017 ed.)
  • Enhancing your Apereo project through Crowdsourcing

5. Participation in the community

5.1 Sakai Virtual Conference Funds Committee

This committee studies how to spend the money collected in the Sakai Virtual conference. This year we are deciding on whether to dedicate funds to making the "data picker" component the same in all the tools, and correct Morpheus bugs.

5.2 Sakai Marketing Group

This is a very important group to the Sakai Community because Sakai has never marketed it's applicaton. Working in this group will allow Sakai to be more known in the educational community. That will imply more institutions interested in Sakai, more users, more contributions, more improvements and a better Sakai for all.

5.3 Apereo Conference Committee

Helping to organize the Open Apereo conference in Philadelphia next June.


5.4 Apereo Farm (Sakai actions) Committee

Apereo Farm is a group that helps the ideas to improve Sakai (or any other Apereo solution) in real projects, facilitating the ways to find resources and collaboration. We are actively participating into this group to promote new ideas into Sakai. Any person or institution is welcome to add their ideas into this initiative and work to make them happen.

6. Interesting Sakai news

6.1 Attendance Tool

This is a contribution tool from the University of Dayton to control attendance that integrates with Gradebook:


6.2 Sakai 11.3 Release

Sakai 11.3 was released on February 2017. We updated one of our customers to this version and everything is working perfectly as it was expected.
All the information about the release can be found here.

Diego del Blanco photo

Diego del Blanco

Software Developer

Diego del Blanco Orobitg's involvement in the Sakai community started in 2005 at the University Polit├ęcnica de Valencia. Since then he has been working in the Sakai community from different companies and responsibilities. He woks at Unicon as the Sakai Tech Lead. Diego has a Master's Degree in Telecommunication Engineering, along with a MBA and Master in eLearning Technologies. He is the Apereo Foundation's Latam representative, was selected Apereo Fellow in 2014, and won the 2015 TWSIA award.