Sakai at UD is our workhorse LMS in need of some grooming
September 18, 2015

Sakai at UD is our workhorse LMS in need of some grooming

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Sakai

Sakai is one of two LMS platforms implemented at the University of Delaware. It is used extensively in tandem with the Canvas LMS to provide students and instructors with a web-based portal for assignment submissions, gradebook-keeping, lecture recordings, assessments, and more. It is also leveraged by staff and various research groups as a group-editable collaborative site. Within our department, we use its assessment and gradebook functions to educate students on copyright infringement and intellectual property concepts. It addresses the business problem of needing a highly customizable web-based workspace and digital resource repository for the various groups represented in an academic environment.
  • Customized, timed assessments with automatic collection and calculation of results
  • Organization and delivery of resources to a defined set of participants
  • Rapid creation of course sites via importing from and/or duplicating other sites
  • At UD, Sakai is only officially supported in Mozilla Firefox, even though a multitude of users are accustomed to IE, Chrome, or Safari as their primary browser. This is a limiting feature that must be honored, as one key feature--timed assessments--are prone to failure or bugginess in these three unsupported browsers.
  • The desktop/full-screen version of Sakai (e.g., the non-mobile site) relies on HTML frames, an archaic means of page layout, to display the main content. Some course site designers employ this by porting in a web page or other content into this frame through insecure means that Firefox will block by default, leaving the end-user with the top navigation, left sidebar of buttons, and a blank main content area. An end-user must dismiss Firefox's security warning and have it "stop blocking" what it deems "insecure content." Could this be improved?
  • There seems to be a bit of a learning curve with the Sakai interface, but it recently enjoyed a refresh of its design aesthetics at UD. Students and faculty generally have a positive experience with Sakai.
  • Sakai has allowed guests to UD or individuals taking continuing ed courses to access course materials without needing to go through an extensive process of creating a UD-specific account.
  • Canvas
We selected Sakai for our purposes (copyright/IP education) because students were familiar with the interface and the assessments worked just as desired. Though Canvas could serve as an ideal alternative and is used robustly here at UD, we have chosen Sakai for its familiarity to our group--Canvas is a relatively new arrival. Google Sites would not provide us with the functionality required, though I imagine some home-grown system with Google Forms could serve our needs in a pinch.
It seems well suited for rapid creation of new course sites for each new semester, so this may appeal to faculty who are timid about tech. The site is not responsive, though it does automatically load the mobile site on a mobile device, though assessments and couple key features are not available on mobile. It would be wise to ask how important this is in the decision making process.