SI791 Independent Study: Open Source Software Development

This will be a seminar-style group activity focused of exploring open source software development within the Sakai (i.e. CTools) project. We will have a combination of presentations, readings, discussions and software development activity throughout the semester. The software development activity will focus on building new capabilities for the Sakai as part of the Sakai 2.9 release which is likely to be in production at UM as CTools in Fall 2012. Attendance at a weekly group meeting will be required.

Weekly meeting/lecture: Fridays from 2PM-5PM, 2185 North Quad

Desired skills for people who want to be in the group include: Usability, User Experience, SQL, Java Servlets, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Graphic Design. The team needs all of the mentioned skills but no one individual needs to have all of the skills listed, but you should be able to function at a professional skill level in at least one or more of the listed skill areas. We will design and implement one or more entirely new features in Sakai and so we will need all of the skills listed across the group. Students will be required to sign a contribution and licensing agreement so that their work can be included in Sakai.

The number of students accepted into the course will be limited so students should apply to Charles Severance ( with a short statement as to why they are interested in being part of the group and what skills and abilities they bring to the group.

You can follow the course activity in our Edmodo site - the public site is here (RSS feed available):

If you want to become a member of the Edmodo site for this course, make an Edmoto account and contact Dr. Chuck. If you join the site, you can follow us using the Edmoto iPhone Application. You can also join our CTools site to get on our course mailing list.

Getting Started

If you want to get started, go to the following page and follow the instructions under the "Install: Source" tab.

Check out the trunk of Sakai (i.e. not the 2.7 tag) using the following command:

svn co sakai

Application For the Course

Here is a list of questions for your application. Feel free to expand on any of these or add any other detail you may see as relevant.

  1. What is the URL of your home page.
  2. What is the purpose of your home page? How often do you update it?
  3. Do you have a Blog or RSS feed? If so, what is the URL? How often do you post to your blog?
  4. Self-rank your language experience with the first language being the language in which you have the most skill - only include languages that you could write a 1000 line program in right now.
  5. Describe any database experience you have. What database systems have you used? Have you done any work that required high scalability (i.e. many simultaneous users)?
  6. Do you have any experience with web design, information architecture, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, etc? If so, please include a few samples of your work and describe the role you have in the effort (i.e. were you part of a team or is the work all your own?)
  7. Have you been able to download Sakai source code and get it running successfully?
  8. Describe any experience you have with using or working with an open source project? (This is not required - I am just curious).
  9. Describe any kind of activity, skill or experience that you have that applies to the independent study.