Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sakai and/or Sharepoint: The Sequel

There is an interesting discussion going on why Sakai and Sharepoint are currently considered the two mainstreams as possible substitutions for traditional VLE's like Blackboard, TeleTOP. Walter Brand wonders in his comment how Sakai and Sharepoint ended up as apparently two interchangeable options on many short lists. Clearly there isn't much overlap between both products in functionality. What could be the reasons? Sakai doesn't cover the needs of good content management and basically lacks the work flow posibilities. Sharepoint on the other hand has no built in tools that focusses on specific educational areas. Maybe a (more profound) reason for showing up as 'equal' opportunities may be that Sharepoint allows to continue working in the way that people are used to. In the current use of VLE's we still see too much PDF en PPT docs being published as resources in a course site. Clearly, Sharepoint provides interesting additionali functionality to this existing process: versioning, workflow support. It's possible to stay close to the existing way of using a VLE, instead of making a next step towards educational innovation. Using Sakai you are confronted with the question how to implement new pedagogical paradigms: demand driven education instead of supply driven. A Web2.0 approach (equal rights to make contributions) instead of the instructor who is virtually the only one who decides what happens in a course.
I'd like to close this post with two statements:
  • Sakai and Sharepoint are not two interchangeable options. The products can complement each other, rather than subsitute the other.
  • Sharepoint seems to relate closer to the current daily practice of publishing powerpoint slides and PDF-readers (as is done in current VLE's) which makes it an attractive alternative for e.g. Blackboard. In my opinion this will hinder true pedagogical innovation.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Another option to consider is Scholar360. It combines all the needed academic features that Blackboard has with social networking features that students love.