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Sakai Stabilization Q&A with Jeremiah Joyner

AnnualReport-JoynerJeremiah Joyner, ITS Teaching & Learning Systems Manager, discusses the stabilization efforts that have been undertaken for Sakai over the past year. Jeremiah’s Interactive team (ITS-TLI) provides leadership, administration and support for a growing portfolio of learning technologies.

Q: How has use of Sakai evolved since Carolina rolled it out in the Fall 2012 semester?

Since the campus offered Sakai, the number of courses in Sakai has grown to as high as 3,306, in Fall 2015. We estimate that 70 percent of all instructors now use Sakai.

Q: As more courses, materials and people use Sakai, what infrastructure and performance challenges emerge?

We have integrated several learning tools into Sakai over the last year. Warpwire was piloted for streaming video content and Library Guide and Library Reserve tools were added. Teaching & Learning also has deployed 17 code updates to Sakai over the last year, which included 68 bug fixes, new tools and feature requests.

 70 percent of all instructors now use Sakai.

Q: What work has ITS undertaken in the past year to improve performance and stabilize the environment?

Issues with the Sakai database in Spring 2015 led to ITS contracting with Percona to perform a health audit of the Sakai database. ITS undertook Percona’s recommendations and in December 2015 Middleware, the Database group and Teaching & Learning optimized database performance.

Like other major updates, timing and procedures were informed by test runs on the Sakai development and test environments beforehand. Other responses including continued daily Splunk monitoring of Sakai response time and slow database queries, which Teaching & Learning and the Database group reviewed weekly for possible performance tweaks. In addition, ITS Infrastructure & Operations enhanced Control Center monitoring and added server-monitoring tool Zabbix.

Q: What can Sakai users expect going forward?

Users can expect the integration of more tools and apps. This year an upgrade to Sakai 11 is planned, which will provide an improved user interface and student assessment tools.

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