Why the move away from Sakai?

Adopted in 2011, the Sakai LMS has been a core component of the learning and teaching ecosystem at St. Lawrence University. Although Sakai has served the University well, it is now time to identify a platform to replace Sakai completely by the Fall 2022 semester.

The Sakai platform has always had a small market share; however, it has diminished significantly over the past few years, now retaining only 1% market share in US higher education. As Sakai is largely driven by the community, there are fewer developers, textbook publishers, and third-party tool vendors attending to keeping Sakai integrated with their systems. This trend is going to continue as many more within the Sakai community are doing the same evaluation.

What do we need?

The ultimate goal is a modern, fully accessible LMS which will meet faculty and student expectations along with the demands of in-person, hybrid, and remote learning.

Given that each learning management system does things differently, often achieving the same higher level goal, a checklist of required features/functionality is not particularly helpful. Therefore, the list below is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of all the features and functions required in the next LMS but rather a list of high level criteria against to which prospective systems will be evaluated. These categories reflect the complex realities for students, faculty, and staff and should apply to all modes of delivery.

Support teaching and learning needs by:

  • providing a robust environment for content authoring
  • supporting social presence, interaction, collaboration, and group work
  • providing a wide variety of grading, assessment, and grade management tools
  • possessing an intuitive interface with a contemporary look and feel
  • being mobile optimized, device compatible, and work on all major browsers
  • being ADA compliant and meet accessibility needs
  • integrating well with publishers and other 3rd-party applications
  • allowing for scalability and efficiency in administrative setup

Who makes the decision on the new LMS?

The University governance committee, Educational Technologies Committee (ETC), will make the new LMS decision for St. Lawrence.  The committee will work closely with members of the Faculty Development Committee and Educational Technologies staff to review the RFP material, including the needs analysis, feedback and vendors demos.