Sakai Case Study - Cerritos College Final


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Case study of how a community college like Cerritos College is using Sakai with great results.

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Sakai Case Study - Cerritos College Final

  1. 1. DOING MORE WITH LESS. A CLIENT SUCCESS STORY. Times are tough, and everyone is feeling pressure to do more with less. Community colleges have always had to be uniquely sensitive to the changing economic climate and how it affects CERRITOS COLLEGE job opportunities for their students. Being capable of respond- ing quickly to change to offer timely instruction that best serves their students’ needs, while remaining cost effective, is essential. PARTNERS WITH rSMART Cerritos College, a public comprehensive community college rSmart is a company dedicated to supporting higher located in southeastern Los Angeles County, has a history of in- education institutions in their use of open source novating to meet institutional needs. In 1993, Cerritos College software to achieve institutional strategies and became one of the first colleges to offer online courses to goals. To do so, rSmart partners with institutions to students. To support ongoing innovation, Cerritos built a solid efficiently implement and effectively support open technology infrastructure, including a homegrown course man- source solutions. agement system. Building its CMS allowed Cerritos a high level of flexibility and customization, and for a time, the CMS served Mr. Bettino admits that initially, he was not in favor them well. As Cerritos started to outgrow its homegrown CMS, of working with a commercial partner, but he learned however, M.L. Bettino, Dean of Academic Affairs at Cerritos the benefits of working with rSmart early in the College, began researching CMS options. Key selection criteria process of implementation. As he explains, “rSmart for the new CMS included stability and scalability, as well as a was invaluable as we began to structure our plans flexible and customizable platform. for implementation. rSmart provided us with a list of tasks that would need to be completed. Then, CERRITOS COLLEGE we reviewed the list, matched skill sets to tasks, and allocated responsibilities between our staff at AND SAKAI Cerritos and the rSmart team. rSmart’s ability to clearly delineate our path gave us a strong sense of Mr. Bettino reviewed both vended and open source solutions and security that we were headed on the right path from attended an open source conference where he learned about the outset. This experience gave me a level of trust Sakai, a course management system that is community built and in our relationship with rSmart that I have rarely supported. Inspired by what he had learned, Mr. Bettino educated experienced with a vendor or commercial partner.” Cerritos College’s board and faculty senate on Sakai, and they supported moving forward. The IT staff, however, had reservations. Working with rSmart, Cerritos College implemented Despite their solid technology support structure and mindset Sakai, known on campus as TalonNet, in 2006. Shortly towards innovation, the IT staff asked how they could be confident thereafter, a significant customization need arose. that they could successfully implement and support Sakai. When the homegrown CMS was built, a mechanism for protecting faculty copyrights was designed into the software so that electronic textbooks developed They found their answer in rSmart. by faculty and the Multimedia Production staff were protected. The new CMS would have to do the same
  2. 2. to continue to receive faculty endorsement. Mr. Bettino explains, “It was essential that we customize Sakai to offer continued copyright protection. Working with rSmart, we were able to build a solution that met faculty and institutional requirements.” rSmart Sakai CLE rSmart continues to support Cerritos College in a number of ways. For example, rSmart is on hand to answer production, technical and functional questions and to address any issues that might arise. Additionally, before every update and major release of the Sakai software, rSmart completes full regression testing to confirm that no major issues will arise when Cerritos College implements the latest version of Sakai. “Our partnership with rSmart,” Mr. Bettino explains, “allowed us to meet deadlines and control costs. The efficiencies of working with rSmart have resulted in significant cost-savings to our campus.” Mr. Bettino sees this as an opportunity for other community colleges: “What we have done here, any community college can do. One important piece of the equation is having someone who has a vision for what Sakai can mean to the college and who has the ability to identify the individuals within the institution who will share that vision. The other important piece is partnering with rSmart for peace of mind. Any community college can do this too.” ENGAGING THE CAMPUS In an effort to highlight the attributes of Sakai and encourage faculty to adopt Sakai, Mr. Bettino and his staff created cartoon characters, TalonMan and Dr. Oldskool. TalonMan, a superhero whose mission is to educate the campus, is played out in comic strips shown in the school paper and around campus on posters. Dr. Oldskool is the villain, ignorant of Sakai and the opportunities it affords to him and his students. WHAT SAKAI MEANS TO FACULTY Faculty members have achieved significant success through Sakai. Kimberley J. Duff, PhD, is an associate professor in the Psychology Department at Cerritos College. With Sakai, Dr. Duff found she could manage all her course content easily in one place. Additionally, Dr. Duff values the efficiency of Sakai. For ex- ample, the new calendar system automatically posts content to several locations, whereas outside of Sakai, information has to be manually posted numerous times to reach its intended recipients. As Dr. Duff explains, “The time savings that Sakai affords me is significant. As my time is freed from course logistics, I am able to allocate more time and effort to teaching the course content.” Angela Hoppe-Nagao is a professor of Speech Communication at Cerritos Col- lege, and she also values the “one stop shopping” of Sakai. Students can ac- cess grades, assignments and announcements, post questions and comments, FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT and “even engage in hot debate,” Ms. Hoppe-Nagao explains. Additionally, Ms. WWW.RSMART.COM Hoppe-Nagao is able to provide her students with substantive feedback on their OR CALL TOLL FREE work via the course site, creating a collaborative dialogue that supports student success. 866.874.4338 Sakai’s ease of use is also of significant value to her. She explains, “I am not a technology savvy individual, but I find Sakai easy to use. When I introduce stu- dents to Sakai, I promise them that they can learn how to navigate my course site in 5 minutes, and that has consistently proved true.”