Sakai is an environment in which professors can prepare and deliver courses, communicate, and collaborate with their students. The most common term to describe this tool set is "Learning Management System" (LMS), but Sakai describes itself as a "Collaboration and Learning Environment" (CLE) because of its strong emphasis on communication and collaboration tools. It is a collection of open source tools developed by a large number of universities to provide a supplementary learning environment suitable for on-campus courses and distance learning courses.
According to the Sakai Project’s web site, “Sakai is a free and open source product that is built and maintained by the Sakai community. Sakai's development model is called ‘Community Source’ because many of the developers creating Sakai are drawn from the ‘community’ of organizations that have adopted and are using Sakai.”
What does Sakai mean?
Following a Mellon Foundation grant, the original board members of the newly created group needed a name for the project. Since the first code pool was created in a large part from the University of Michigan’s CHEF framework, a board member, who was also a fan on the Iron Chef television show, came up with the name Sakai, in reference to Hiroyuki Sakai, the most notorious chef on the show.
There is an analogy between cooking and teaching with a LMS. That is, when a professor builds a course, he or she needs cookware (tools), ingredients (content), and a recipe (processes, practices).
About the security of the data posted inside Sakai...
Even though Sakai has modules which have been created at many different institutions, each instance of Sakai is installed at each individual institution. In addition, each module is thoroughly tested by the Sakai community for usability, correctness, and security. Furthermore, Sakai is installed on a secure server here at UD, requiring our users to login using their UDelNetIDs. Nobody from outside UD will have access to your sites, unless you want them to.
Sakai has been selected by the University of Delaware to be the next institutionally supported learning management system. To understand the implementation process and read the latest news, visit the UDLMS Project site.