Apereo Newsletter - February 2019
As 2019 gets underway, we have news of project releases, upcoming conferences, and awards and contests, as well as a great Karuta portfolio case study from the LAMP Consortium. Read on to learn more! And please consider sharing your own updates with the community.  We are especially interested in pieces on the implementation and use of Apereo software at your institution and on promoting open source adoptions and practices. Deadline for the March edition will be March 8, with publication on or around March 15. Send your contributions along to!

From the Executive Director

The New Apereo Individual Membership Offering

Become a Friend of Apereo here.

For almost a decade and a half, the Apereo Foundation and its predecessors have been at the forefront of creating and sustaining software in the service of higher education. We've accomplished that by creating innovative and functional open source software collaboratively – made by education, for education. And we've had the help of many, many, talented and committed individuals in that work.

Apereo and its predecessors have always sought to recognize that talent and commitment through a series of programs. These programs – such as the fellows program and teaching innovation awards – have both celebrated commitment and success, and helped take those successes to the next level by providing small amounts of funding to facilitate networking good practice and further development.
As the Apereo family of software and related communities grows larger, we'd like to support and extend those recognition programs with a new membership category – individual membership. This doesn't mean that Apereo is changing its primary focus on supporting higher education institutions and serving the academic mission, but it does mean we're finding new ways to involve, enlarge, and engage our community in doing just that. 

By making a small (deductible) contribution that will be dedicated to our support programs, individual members can help make a difference. In return, we'll help you stay in touch by providing discounted access to Open Apereo, our main annual conference ($50 discount) , and give you a say in how Apereo is run by voting for a reserved individual member board seat.

Apereo's work has touched countless learners and faculty worldwide, helping to both extend access to learning opportunities, and to enrich them. Help us sustain and extend that by becoming an individual member of the Apereo Foundation today. if you have a friend or colleague who might not have seen this message, please pass it on.

 Atlas Awards

The Apereo Teaching and Learning community is seeking submissions for the annual Apereo Teaching and Learning Awards (ATLAS) competition. The award recognizes innovation and excellence in technology-supported teaching, academic collaboration, and student engagement and learning. We invite applications that demonstrate innovative teaching and learning using Sakai, OAE, Karuta, Xerte and/or Opencast. Based on merit, we hope to select up to six winners. Winners will be announced by the end of March 2019 and recognized at the Open Apereo Conference June 2-6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California, US. Registration and travel expenses will be covered for award winners.

For more details about ATLAS, please visit  

For further inquiries, please email ATLAS Chair Sophia Stone ( or Andrew Greene (

Save the date: Open Apereo 2019 

Los Angeles, CA | June 2-6, 2019

Open Apereo 2019 is a practitioners event. Learn how higher education is using open-source software to help deliver the academic mission, control costs, and retain the capacity to innovate. Share your own experience. Join us at Open Apereo 2019 at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza, Los Angeles, California, USA (Sunday, June 2nd to Thursday, June 6th 2019).

Conference Website -

Upcoming Events

Apereo Africa

Join us for the 2019 Apereo Africa Conference at the University of Cape Town in South Africa from April 15-17, 2019.

Please register before March 20 at:

Contact: for any queries.

Briefing for openEQUELLA - Q1 Update

Mark your calendars for the next Unicon openEQUELLA briefing. We will be discussing community news, highlights, and updates on openEQUELLA. We will also share details about development the Unicon openEQUELLA team has been working on through funding made possible by Unicon's Open Source Support subscribers.

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 9am PDT, 10am MDT, 11am CDT, 12pm EDT
Webinar Information:

If you were unable to join us for the 2018 Q4 briefing held in January, please check out the subsequent blogpost here:

Read more

Project News


2019 UPortal Developer Winter Summit Highlights

Developers met in sunny Gilbert, Arizona at the end of January to share knowledge and experience and learn the latest features in uPortal. There were virtual online sessions for attendees in faraway places like France and the U.K. who demonstrated exciting new content they’ve been developing. A workshop on web components was a big hit. Developers can now easily create uPortal content with web components, offloading page rendering to the browser to improve the user experience while significantly reducing server traffic. There were several demonstrations of new portal content and discussions about deploying uPortal to cloud services. The conference wrapped up with a list of development priorities for upcoming releases of uPortal.

-- Lauren Anderson

uPortal 5.4 Release

Along with numerous fixes, this update now fully supports session-less access to uPortal REST API’s using an OpenID Connect token. Developers can more easily create user-specific content without having to incorporate the overhead of Java session management.

  • Other highlights:
  • Support for narrowing groups and/or custom claims info within OIDC tokens using query string parameters
  • Regions can contain child <folder> elements (nested structures), instead of merely a flat collection of <channel> elements
  • A CacheManagementController that allows a portal admin to clear caches by REST API
  • The whatwg fetch polyfill is now included in Respondr skins
  • Uses bundle Web Components polyfills instead of loader (to fix url construction and network issues when run on IE)
  • Support for ranked search results to the uPortal portlet event-based search integration API


2019 Opencast summit

More than 70 people joined the party for the 10th anniversary of the Opencast project. Recordings are online at and we are looking forward to the 2020 summit in Ghent, Belgium.

Survey: North American Opencast Workshop

The Opencast board is preparing a workshop for the North American community. After a longer hiatus, we saw surge in interest from the US and Canada which made us reach out to people interested.

Please fill out the form at to help us make this the workshop the community wants.

2019 Opencast funding scheme

The annual fundraiser organized by the Opencast board has successfully collected the funds necessary to jointly finance activities, infrastructure, or services relevant to Opencast. Thanks to the University of Manchester, ETH Zürich, SWITCH, University of Cape Town, Osnabrück University and the ELAN e. V., new Apereo member TIK from the University of Stuttgart and Universitat Politècnica de València. Funding institutions agreed to continue the contract with our current QA community manager Greg Logan. More details can be found at and

2019 Opencast Board Elections

As per the Opencast governance (, the summit coincided with the two-yearly board election. There were no volunteers to join the board unfortunately, but all current board members were willing to continue their duties and confirmed with overwhelming majorities.

A few updates on the ITC 2019 competition ( that the UniTime team is co-organizing.
At the moment, we have 89 registered teams or individuals from 36 countries. There is still time to compete as the final deadline for the solution submission is November 18, 2019.

1. We have a new sponsor
We are happy to announce a new prize of 500 USD to the best open source solver provided by Apereo Foundation. Such a solver will need to be available in a public repository under an approved OSI license with information on how to compile and run the solver on the competition instances. See more details at

2. We are pleased to announce the winners of the first milestone
1st place (94 points)
Edon Gashi, Kadri SylejmaniUniversity of Prishtina, Kosovo

2nd place (69 points)
Karim Er-rhaimini
Ministère de l'éducation nationale, France

3rd place (32 points)
Marlúcio Alves Pires, Haroldo Gambini Santos, Túlio Ângelo Machado Toffolo
Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Brasil

Congratulations! The award ceremony will be held at the PATAT 2020 conference in Bruges, Belgium in August 2020.
Please note that the participation or placements in the first milestone have no effect on the next milestone or the final placements.
Details (including the total costs of the best solution for each of the early instances) are available at
--- Tomas Muller

Case Study: Karuta at New Brunswick Theological Seminary

New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) is using Karuta as a significant tool for its assessment of students and of itself.  According to Dr. Terry Ann Smith, Associate Dean of Institutional Assessment, NBTS needed a tool that could give students a way to demonstrate their competency and that could provide the institution with a means of evaluating its programs.  Four years ago the Seminary chose Kartua, the open source ePortfolio tool.

Smith notes that every accredited institution has a series of standards from their accreditor that must be met.  NBTS is no different. The institution developed a series of learning outcomes to reflect those standards. “Every NBTS program has learning outcomes associated with it,” said Smith.  “And every course contains content that lines up with those learning outcomes.” By using Karuta, the institution can gather works or ‘artifacts’ from students demonstrating each
of those outcomes.

NBTS assigns two evaluators to each student who review the student’s artifacts in Karuta. “Our folks love being able to evaluate the artifacts (this way). You can examine the document online, and then it is just one-two-three, click, click, click.”  Evaluators can look at an artifact, evaluate it, and give it a score. “It’s wonderful,” Smith said.

Karuta is not being used so much for what Smith calls showcase portfolios.  “NBTS students are older, more stable,” she said. “Most of them already have jobs.”  They’re not as interested in using Karuta to demonstrate competency to prospective employers, even though the software has that capability.

In the years since NBTS went live with Karuta, “we have learned a lot, now that our folks are actually using Karuta. It was like pulling teeth (at first),” said Smith.  “But they’re using it now.” The institution has seen a more than five-fold increase in usage since the first year.

NBTS is now looking at adjusting its programs based on the data it is getting from Karuta. “The idea is to be able to tell which of our outcomes are being met, and which ones are we falling short on,” said Smith.  “We’re generating a lot of conversations with the faculty around this data.”

What’s next for New Brunswick Theological Seminary and Karuta?  Smith says that the institution is considering pursuing additional accreditations other than the ones it currently has. And with those new accreditations will come new standards, more learning outcomes, and additional artifacts to be gathered in Karuta.

Wanted: Your Institution's Story

Consider submitting a vignette for!

If you’ve not looked at recently, go take a look. On the landing page we’re promoting Apereo sponsored software in a series of what we’re calling “vignettes”. These are short stories and messages about what problems adopters are using Apereo software to help solve. Check out the solutions we’ve highlighted so far!

Have a message about Apereo software you’d like to communicate to others? Why not take five minutes to write a vignette and forward to
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