Apereo Newsletter 25 September 2014

1. Educause Conference - The Open Communities Reception hosted by Apereo Foundation and Open Source Initiative (OSI) 
2. Key Document Available in French, Spanish
3. Apereo October-December 2014 Webinar Program
4. Sakai Virtual Conference 2014 - Bridging Education with Technology

Focus on Incubation
5. Xerte Becomes an Apereo Incubating Project
6. Incubation Spotlight: UniTime
Project News 
7. Apereo OAE Heron (9.0) is now available!
8. uPortal 4.1.1 Released
9. uMobile Community Involvement
10. Bedework 3.10 Released
11. Sakai 10 Available Now!



1. Educause Conference - The Open Communities Reception hosted by Apereo Foundation and Open Source Initiative (OSI) 

Attending Educause? Don't miss the Open Communities Reception hosted by Apereo Foundation and Open Source Initiative (OSI).

Tuesday September 30th, 2014
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Eastern Time
Florida Ballroom A, Convention Level, Hyatt Regency Hotel
The Apereo Foundation and OSI are proud to present the Open Communities Reception, along with many partners from open initiatives in higher education. This reception is for anyone interested in initiatives across the spectrum of open: content, standards, access, software, data, analytics, learning, and more. Join our conversation and learn about the open communities coming together around the globe to improve learning. 
Thank you to our event partners: 
Asahi Net International 
Big Blue Button 
IMS Global
Open Source and Standards in Education (Red Hat) 
Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR)   
University of Southern Queensland


2. Key Document Available in French, Spanish

The second version of "The Value of a Common Foundation", a key document expressing the values of Apereo and the value of participating in open source in higher education is now available in French and Spanish from -


3. Apereo October-December 2014 Webinar Program

Webinars will use Big Blue Button. Choose Apereo Room 1, enter your name and the password apereo at -


29th October, 12 noon US Eastern - uPortal
uPortal is the leading open source enterprise portal framework built by and for the Higher Education community that scales to support hundreds of thousands of users.  uPortal is a mature platform, benefiting from a decade and a half of development, adoption, collaboration, community, and evolution.  Hundreds of schools worldwide have used uPortal to deliver content and services tailored to their users' own identities – by role(s), user attributes, group affiliations, etc.  The latest uPortal release is version 4.1.  uPortal 4.1 is a significant and exciting update because it includes Respondr – the new Responsive Design theme for uPortal based on Bootstrap 3.  Respondr represents a complete re-boot of the portal front-end.  It is clean, modern, usable, and responsive. Come see uPortal 4.1 and Respondr in action.  We will offer a high-level discussion of uPortal, the things it does best, and its role in campus computing.  We will take an in-depth look at version 4.1 and Respondr, including its Regions system for organizing the portal page, enhanced search capabilities, the Portlet Marketplace (think "App Store"), strategies for getting content into the portal quickly, and more.  We will also take a look at some of the work that's going on now, letting you know what to expect in uPortal 4.2 and beyond.

12th November, 12 noon US Eastern - Student Success Plan
The Student Success Plan (SSP) is designed to improve retention, academic performance, persistence, graduation rates, and time to degree. The open source SSP case management and academic advising software supports a holistic coaching and counseling model. Through counseling, web-based support systems, and proactive intervention techniques such as Early Alerts, targeted students are identified, supported, and monitored. SSP can be used with any targeted population of students, such as at-risk students or athletes.

3rd December, 12 noon US Eastern - Karuta
Karuta is a new open source ePortfolio that has been LTI-enabled for integration with Sakai. Karuta was created in the spirit of the Open Source Portfolio (OSP). Karuta 1.0, which is currently available for piloting, offers dramatic flexibility for designing learning portfolios with rubrics for the assessment of learning outcomes. Subsequent releases will add functionality for assessment, accreditation, and showcasing, along with a migration path from OSP to Karuta. This webinar will outline the incubation process Karuta is undergoing with the Apereo Foundation and provide a detailed demonstration of current Karuta portfolio functionality.

10th December, 12 noon US Eastern - UniTime
UniTime is a comprehensive educational scheduling system that supports developing course and exam timetables, managing changes to these timetables, sharing rooms with other events, and scheduling students to individual classes. The aim of the webinar is to introduce the core concepts of computer-aided educational timetabling and the benefits of employing an intelligent automated system like UniTime to the Apereo community. We would like to show how UniTime can help colleges and universities to better meet student educational requirements and decrease the time needed to complete a degree.


4. Sakai Virtual Conference 2014 - Bridging Education with Technology

Sakai Virtual Conference 2014
Bridging Education with Technology
November 7, 2014 - Online
http://virtconf.apereo.org/   #SakaiVC14

Register now to attend the first-ever Sakai Virtual Conference on Friday, November 7th!

The conference will be held entirely online, and will have an emphasis on pedagogy and best practices. Join us for a faculty-friendly day of learning, sharing and community building with your fellow Sakai users, all without the need to travel!

The complete conference program will be published by the first week of October. Please visit the conference website for more information.

Focus on Incubation

5. Xerte Becomes an Apereo Incubating Project

What is Xerte?
Xerte Online Toolkits is an award-winning suite of tools for educators who want to create rich, interactive online content to support teaching and learning. The tools have a strong focus on providing ease-of-use for non-technical authors and place an emphasis on accessibility for the production of highly inclusive materials that can be used successfully by as many people as possible. The Xerte Project has been led by The University of Nottingham, and the team has worked closely with JISC TechDIS in the UK (http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/) and the JISC Regional Support Centres to ensure high levels of accessibility support for authors and users of interactive content. 

Xerte Online Toolkits is in use in institutions all over the world and has enthusiastic communities of users and developers. Elearning materials can be authored quickly and easily using browser-based tools - with no programming required - and content can be delivered to any device using open standards. Developers can easily customize the output and the tools are extensible to meet specific pedagogical requirements. The tools have won several awards and consistently receive outstanding feedback from users. 

Ian Dolphin, Apereo Foundation Executive Director said "This is great news for the Xerte Community and Apereo.  Xerte’s strengths – particularly around interactivity and accessibility – complement other Apereo offerings. The Foundation looks forward to bringing Xerte to a broader constituency" 

Julian Tenney, The Xerte Project’s Lead Developer said “This is exciting news; it’s the next logical step for the project to take. In particular, I’m looking forward to the new opportunities this will create, and it will be great to be part of the wider Apereo community.”


6. Incubation Spotlight: UniTime

Educational timetabling is a complex problem faced every academic term by every educational institution. The main task sounds simple - find times and rooms for the classes for a given semester. What makes it more difficult are all the constraints involved in this process: students’ plans of study, faculty preferences, desired room equipment, room availability, etc. A good timetable balances the various objectives, meeting the requirements and optimizing on the preferences.

UniTime is a comprehensive educational scheduling system that supports developing course and exam timetables, managing changes to these timetables, sharing rooms with other events, and scheduling students to individual classes. It is a distributed system that allows multiple university and departmental schedule managers to coordinate efforts to build and modify a schedule that meets their diverse organizational needs while allowing for minimization of student course conflicts. It can be used alone to create and maintain a school's schedule of classes and/or exams, or interfaced with an existing student information system.

UniTime began as a research project and collaborative effort among interested individuals at several universities in North America and Europe in 2001. The resultant application was made publicly available under an open source license in 2007. Since 2012 the feature set of UniTime has been nearly complete, delivering a solution for most university timetabling needs. The research and development continue with the main support from Purdue University.

During the last few years we have seen a steady increase in interest in UniTime from universities and other educational institutions in many regions of the world. Many of them implemented UniTime, with or without our help. It is our hope that joining the Apereo foundation will improve our ability to make UniTime easily accessible and to provide all interested institutions with the support they desire.

UniTime is a web based application, the users can access it via any of the major browsers from their office or home. It is written in Java. It is web-based, usually deployed on Apache Tomcat. It uses a relational database (either MySQL or Oracle) through Hibernate. Older pages make use of JSP & Apache Struts, newer pages use Google Web Toolkit. All major browsers are supported, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 9+. The Spring framework is used for authentication, authorization and integration. 

The new release of UniTime (version 3.5) is planned for this fall. It features improved clustering capabilities, and a lot of changes in the online student scheduling. It also includes a new version of the constraint solver including a new search algorithm and the ability to make use of multiple cores. For the full list of changes, see the latest UniTime 3.5 release notes.

For more details about UniTime, please visit our website www.unitime.org. There is also an online demo available at http://demo.unitime.org. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at support[at]unitime[dot]org.

Catch UniTime in the Apereo Webinar series (listed above).

Project News

7. Apereo OAE Heron (9.0) is now available!

The Apereo Open Academic Environment (OAE) project team is extremely proud to announce the next major release of the Apereo Open Academic Environment; OAE Heron or OAE 9.

OAE Heron is a landmark release that introduces the long awaited folders functionality, allowing for sets of content items to be collected, organised, shared and curated. OAE Heron also provides full support for Shibboleth access management federations and brings improvements to activities, (email) notifications and the REST API documentation. Next to that, OAE Heron also ships with a wide range of overall usability improvements.


* Folders
Using the personal and group libraries, Apereo OAE has always allowed collaboration to grow organically, reflecting how most of our collaborations work in real life. Individual content items could be shared with people and groups, making those items available in their respective libraries. This has always tested extremely well in usability testing, and not requiring the organisation of items upfront has been considered to reduce the obstacles to collaboration.

However, sustained usage and usability testing have also highlighted a number of challenges with this approach. First of all, it was difficult to group items that logically belong together (e.g. a set of field trip pictures) and share and interact with them as a single unit. Next to that, heavy use of the system was showing that libraries could become quite hard to manage and were clearly lacking some form of organisation.

Therefore, OAE introduces the long-awaited folders functionality, a feature we've been working on for an extended period of time and has gone through many rounds of usability testing. OAE Folders allow for a set of content items to be grouped into a folder. This folder can be shared with other people and groups and has its own permissions and metadata. A folder also has its own thumbnail picture based on the items inside of the folder and folders will generate helpful activities, notifications and emails.

OAE folders also stay true to the OAE philosophy, and therefore content items are never bound to a folder. This means that the items in a folder can still be used as an independent content and can be shared, discussed, etc. individually. This also means that a content item can belong to multiple folders at the same time, opening the door for re-mixing content items and content curation, allowing new interesting folders to be created from existing folders and content items.

Whilst maintaining the ability to grow collaboration organically, OAE Folders allow for a better and more logical organisation of content items and open the door to many interesting content re-use scenarios.

* Shibboleth federations
Many countries around the world now expose their own Shibboleth access management federation. This provides an organised and managed way in which an application can be offered to many institutions at the same time, directly integrating with the institutional Single Sign On systems.

OAE Heron makes it possible for an OAE installation to become a recognised Service Provider for one or more of these federations. This dramatically simplifies the tenant creation process for an institution that's a member of one of these access management federations, making it possible to set up an OAE tenant with full Shibboleth SSO integration in a matter of minutes.

* Email improvements
OAE Heron introduces significant email notification improvements for those users that have their email preference set to Immediate. OAE was already capable of aggregating a series of actions that happened in quick succession into a single email. OAE Heron makes this possible over a longer period of time, and will hold off sending an email until a series of events that would otherwise generate multiple email notifications has finished. This dramatically cuts down the number of emails that are sent out by OAE and provides a more intelligent email update to users.

The display of email notifications on mobile devices has also been improved significantly, making the content of the email much easier to read.

* Activity improvements
OAE Heron offers more descriptive activity summaries, especially in the area of content creation. These will for example provide a much better overview of the context in which an activity happened.

Next to that, OAE Heron will also ensure that the indicator for the number of unread notifications a user has is always completely accurate.

* REST API documentation
OAE Heron continues to build on the REST API documentation that was introduced in OAE Griffin. It makes all possible responses for each of the REST endpoints available through the documentation UI and further improves the quality of the available documentation.

* Try it out
OAE Heron can be tried out on the project's QA server at http://oae.oae-qa0.oaeproject.org. It is worth noting that this server is actively used for testing and will be wiped and redeployed every night.

The source code has been tagged with version number 9.0.0 and can be downloaded from the following repositories:

Back-end: https://github.com/oaeproject/Hilary/tree/9.0.0
Front-end: https://github.com/oaeproject/3akai-ux/tree/9.0.0

Documentation on how to install the system can be found at https://github.com/oaeproject/Hilary/blob/9.0.0/README.md.

Instruction on how to upgrade an OAE installation from version 8 to version 9 can be found at https://github.com/oaeproject/Hilary/wiki/OAE-Upgrade-Guide.

The repository containing all deployment scripts can be found at https://github.com/oaeproject/puppet-hilary.

* Get in touch
The project website can be found at http://www.oaeproject.org. The project blog will be updated with the latest project news from time to time, and can be found at http://www.oaeproject.org/blog.

The mailing list used for Apereo OAE is oae[at]apereo.org[dot] You can subscribe to the mailing list at https://groups.google.com/a/apereo.org/d/forum/oae.

Bugs and other issues can be reported in our issue tracker at https://github.com/oaeproject/3akai-ux/issues.

8.  uPortal 4.1.1 Released

uPortal 4.1.1 is a patch release of uPortal 4.1 including a couple important fixes for vulnerabilties in uPortal's CAS login integration as well.
Learn more on the uPortal 4.1.1 release page.


9. uMobile Community Involvement

What is uMobile? A question that has been asked since the beginning of time. The question has finally been answered and the answer is simple. The mobilization of uPortal! uMobile and uPortal's visions have been aligned and are starting to converge. As uPortal grows, so can uMobile!

Recently Oakland University has released two new flavors of uMobile to the community:
* A native iOS implementation that provides apps for the iPhone and iPad - Currently supports uPortal 4.X and CAS 3.4.X
* A native Android implementation that provides an app to all Android based devices (currently in beta)

This now gives adopters 4 different choices for implementing uMobile in their institution.

Are you interested in keeping up with the latest uMobile developments and guiding its future? Join the uMobile community discussion list. We are simplifying our lists saying goodbye to the uMobile-User & uMobile-Dev lists and saying hello to our uMobile unified community list – umobile[at]apereo[dot]org

If you are subscribed to any of the previous uMobile lists, there is no action required on your part.  You will automatically be added to the new uMobile list. You might want to add this to your address book to avoid and complications receiving emails in the future.

If you are interested in learning more or want to chat about uMobile, you can join our new mailing list at https://www.apereo.org/umobile/mailing-lists

David Derderian
uMobile Community Lead


10. Bedework 3.10 Released

We are pleased to announce the production release of Bedework 3.10:


11. Sakai 10 Available Now! 

“Sakai 10 is the most innovative Sakai release to date, with dozens of contributing institutions and organizations to thank for that,” said Chuck Severance, Chair of the Sakai Project Management Committee and faculty member at University of Michigan. “Sakai 10 is a major milestone release that boasts a wide variety of new features and capabilities.”

Highlights from this new Sakai release include:
* Sign up for events with Yale’s Signup tool – new to Sakai 10 core
* Delegate administrative rights to those who need them with the Delegated Access tool— new to Sakai 10 core
* Incorporate advanced services into Sakai 10, the first LMS to support the latest Learning Tools Interoperability standard (LTI 2.0)
* New in Assignments:  peer grading and group assignments
* With the addition of two new question types and improvements to the audio recording question type, Tests & Quizzes supports over a dozen question types including better support for math, medicine, and languages
* Sequence content in any format more easily with improvements to the Lessons tool
* Drag-and-drop files into your courses through your web browser
* Allow students to create content owned by both groups as well as individuals
* Use cutting edge features in the new Syllabus tool – edit in place, calendar integration, bulk changes
* Manage extra credit in the Sakai 10 Gradebook
* Higher level of integration for the Student Success Plan, open source software to help students overcome obstacles and meet their academic goals
* Performance and reliability gains using well-known and open industry standards

See the complete list in the Sakai 10 wiki pages at:

Download Sakai 10 at:

Try Sakai: