Sakai CLE

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Sakai CLE
Developer(s) Sakai community
Sakai Foundation
Initial release July 15, 2004 (2004-07-15)[1][2]
Stable release

22.0  (April 13, 2022; 36 days ago (2022-04-13))

Preview release none [±]
Written in Java
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Content management software
Course management system
License(s) Educational Community License v2

The Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment or Sakai CLE is a free open-source education-based course management and collaboration software platform designed to enhance collaborative teaching, learning, and research. The software serves four primary purposes: learning management, research collaboration, project collaboration, and electronic portfolio management.[3]

Development work is currently supported by community members (resources provided by academic institutions and commercial affiliates as well as individual volunteers) and the Sakai Foundation.

A commercial "enterprise" version of Sakai CLE was released by the company rSmart on May 31, 2006.[4]

Product history

On September 22, 2003, an impromptu dinner meeting between associates from the University of Michigan, Indiana University, and MIT led to the formation of the Sakai Project, with the primary motivation of creating a scalable, open-source "next generation set of software tools to support education and research."[5] Together with Stanford University, the four schools announced their new collaboration at EDUCAUSE in November 2003, with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation contributing $2.4 million to the new project a month later.[5][6]

The early versions of the software were based on existing course management tools created by the founding institutions, with the largest piece coming from the University of Michigan's "CHEF" course management system.[5] This included:

  • Indiana University's "Oncourse"
  • MIT's "Stellar"
  • Stanford University's "CourseWork"
  • University of Michigan's "CTools," formerly "CourseTools," based on the "CHEF" framework
  • uPortal and the Open Knowledge Initiative were also represented

Sakai 1.0 was demoed at the first Sakai Conference in June 2004 to a group of 165 attendees[5], with a full public release emerging the next month.[1][2] The software was rolled out for production in August 2004 at the University of Michigan[5], with expectations of wider user with the hopeful release of version 2.0 by fall of 2005.[2] In January 2005, ahead of schedule, Indiana University moved all of its legacy systems to a pilot Sakai 1.5 implementation dubbed as "Oncourse CL."[5][7]

Once the first version of Sakai became publicly available, other institutions were invited to join through the "Sakai Partners Program". The partner institutions contributed to the program financially and by submitting code to the project. As the project phase neared completion in 2005, the Sakai Project set up a foundation to oversee the continued work on Sakai. In 2006 the Sakai Foundation named Dr. Charles Severance, who previously had served as Chief Architect, as its first executive director. On July 24, 2007, Dr. Severance stepped down as Executive Director, and Michael Korcuska was selected by the Sakai Foundation to fill the role.[5]

Following the departure of Michael Korcuska in February 2010, Lois Brooks became interim executive director, with Ian Dolphin, a former Sakai Project Board member, announced as the official executive director in June 2010.[8]

In 2008 planning began on a next-generation version of Sakai CLE dubbed "Sakai 3." It soon was officially named Sakai Open Academic Environment or Sakai OAE, with a pre-release version 0.1 introduced on November 18, 2010.[9] A stable version 1.0 was released on September 8, 2011, with an emphasis on functionality that allows for better academic networking and collaboration.[10]

On June 27, 2014, the developers released Sakai 10.0; however, it's not clear why they chose to change numeration, skipping from 2.9.3 to 10.0.[11]


Sakai CLE includes many of the features common to course management systems, including document distribution, a grade book, discussion, live chat, assignment uploads, and online testing. In addition to the course management features, it is intended as a collaborative tool for research and group projects. To support this function, the software allows users to change the settings of all the tools based on roles, changing what the system permits different users to do with each tool. It also includes a wiki, mailing list distribution and archiving, and an RSS reader. The core tools can be augmented with tools designed for a particular application of Sakai.

Hardware/software requirements

As of version 2.8 of CLE, Oracle's Sun Java SE 6 (Java 1.6) is recommended. The software runs most comfortably on an Apache 2.2 / Tomcat 5.5 application server utilizing a database of Oracle 10g/11g or MySQL 5.0/5.1, though other implementation may be used. For full details, see the release notes.

Videos, screenshots, and other media

You can see a few videos about Sakai CLE on Jean Hoins' TeacherTube channel.

Entities using Sakai CLE

Examples of entities using Sakai CLE include:

Albany Medical College, California Northstate College of Pharmacy, Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, Columbia University Earth Institute, Daresbury Laboratory, National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics, National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, Oregon Health & Science University, University of California–Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

A full directory of Sakai CLE users can be found at the Sakai website.

Further reading

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Young, Jeffrey R. (15 July 2004). "Universities Offer Homegrown Course Software". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on 1 December 2005. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Young, Jeffrey R. (23 July 2004). "Universities Offer Homegrown Course Software". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on 2 June 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  3. "Sakai CLE". Sakai Foundation. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  4. "rSmart Launches rSmart Sakai CLE; rSmart Follows Trail Blazed by Red Hat". Business Wire. 31 May 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Wheeler, Bradley C. (July 2007). "OSS Watch - Sakai: a case study in sustainability". IUScholarWorks. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  6. Foster, Andrea L. (30 January 2004). "4 Universities Join to Create Open-Source Software for Professors to Manage Courses". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  7. "The Oncourse Story - Code and Community". Indiana University. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  8. Feldstein, Michael (14 June 2010). "Ian Dolphin Appointed Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation". e-Literate. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  9. Knoop, Peter A. (20 August 2010). "Sakai 3". Sakai Foundation. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  10. Whyte, Anthony (21 October 2011). "oae-1.0.0 release". Sakai Foundation. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  11. "Sakai 10 Release Notes". Sakai Foundation. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 02 September 2014.