Apereo Newsletter - September 2019
Deadline for the October edition will be October 8, with publication on or around October 15. Send your contributions along to!

From the Executive Director

Open Apereo Conference - The 2020 Vision

After community consultation and feedback on Open Apereo 2019, we’re planning big changes for Open Apereo 2020.

A Focus on Affordability
A consistent message from our community is that budgets remain tight in higher education, greatly restricting travel to events. To address this, Open Apereo 2020 will take place on university campus. With reduced overhead, we can lower conference registration. Hosting the event at a university will lower accommodation costs and provide a greater choice of accommodation: a range of hotels will be supplemented by on-campus housing opportunities. 

Digital Pedagogy + Development
The program will change dramatically in 2020. The Apereo Foundation's mission centers on sustaining software to support learning, teaching, and research. We are planning a day focused on real-world use and development of open-source software to support education and a day dedicated to digital pedagogy.

Throughout the event, we'll enhance networking opportunities for more software community meetings, alongside an exciting range of social activities.

We're seeking greater inclusion by developing a program of Diversity Scholarships. We want to help those groups historically not well represented at Open Apereo to participate in the event.

The 2020 location is ...
Open Apereo 2020 will take place at the University of Michigan School of Information in Ann Arbor from June 15-19, 2020.

Be Part of 2020 Vision
Please hold the dates of the event on your calendar. We also welcome community members to participate in the planning and development of the conference. If you are interested, please contact

Open Apereo 2020
University of Michigan School of Information
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
June 15-19, 2020

Ann Arbor is in the US Eastern Timezone (GMT-4), just thirty minutes from the nearest international airport, Detroit (DTW).

Apereo Board Minutes

The minutes of the Apereo Board of Directors can be found here on the Apereo website. They are updated monthly. 

Join Friends of Apereo!


The Apereo Foundation and its projects have been at the forefront of creating and sustaining software in service of education.  Apereo extends membership to individuals through the Friends of Apereo program. This program allows individuals to support our community programs and activities.  

By making a small contribution that will be dedicated to our support programs, Friends of Apereo can help make a difference. In return, we'll help you stay in touch by providing discounted access to Apereo events and by giving Friends a say in how Apereo is run by voting for a reserved Friends of Apereo board seat.

Apereo's work has touched countless learners, teachers and researchers worldwide, helping to both extend access to learning opportunities, and enriching them. Please help us sustain and extend that by becoming a Friend of Apereo today.

Individual memberships are available for $100.   Joining is easy at

Individual membership supports the work of the Foundation as a whole.  If you'd like to direct your gift to a specific Apereo Project, please specify the details using the special instructions section in PayPal.

Thank you for your continued support of the Apereo Foundation!

 Upcoming Events

 Webinar: Modernizing Your Campus Portal

Making sure that your campus portal is up-to-date is critical to meeting the needs of today’s students, faculty, and staff. A modern user experience and responsive design ensures that campus users can access your portal on desktops and mobile devices. Single-sign-on capabilities are necessary to provide convenient access to all of your campus applications and information. Support for accessibility is a requirement for making your campus applications available to all of your users. The ability to customize views, render data from different campus applications in a single view, and provide targeted information for different user groups has a big impact on your portal’s usefulness and ease-of use.

Join us for a webinar that presents a panel on the important considerations when choosing or updating a campus portal. The discussion will feature real stories from Foothill-De Anza College and Oakland University, two campuses whose modern portals allow them to communicate successfully with their campus communities. Tech leads from each campus will discuss key features and benefits of their portal and how it positively impacts their campus users.

This complimentary webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 25, at
11:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. MT / 1:00 p.m. CT/ 2:00 p.m. ET.
Register or get a reminder email at

 Save the Date: Sakai Virtual Conference

Make plans now to attend and/or present at the Sakai Virtual Conference from 10AM to 5PM ET on Wednesday, November 6th!

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

More details coming soon!

 Apereo Webinar: What's New With Sakai 19

New and Upcoming Features in Sakai: Join us for a brief overview of the new features available now in Sakai 19, as well as a preview of additional feature enhancements targeted for the upcoming release, Sakai 20. 

12th November 1100 US Eastern

Use the drop-down menu, choose ‘Room 1’
Enter your name, and the password apereo
Apereo Room - 1 
To join this meeting by phone, dial:
 (352) 327-4267
 (855) 215-5935 (United States toll-free)
Then enter 27354 as the conference pin number.

 Featured Presentation

Open Apereo 2019 Presentation Spotlight: A Model for Successful Faculty Training

At Open Apereo 2019, Clea Mahoney, eLearning Specialist and Training Lead at New York University, presented on an iterative and adult learning-centered approach to faculty technology training, focusing on the Sakai learning management system.

In reflecting on how so many technical trainers and faculty developers in the field struggle with getting instructors and teaching assistants to even consider attending training on the LMS, Clea shared strategies on delivering short, targeted, and impactful training through convenient, one-hour webinars that also serve as an invitation for participants to commit to ongoing learning and development through one-on-one consultations with instructional technology staff and student employees.

In applying adult learning principles to faculty technical training, Clea focused on making the content approachable, relevant, and timely as instructors think about how to organize their Sakai course sites for the upcoming semester. By focusing on the student experience, and how instructors can support student engagement online, training participants leave with a convincing rationale for using technology with intentionality and empathy in order to maximize student learning.

The presentation wrapped up with asking participants to identify opportunities at their own institutions for virtual training, including the student perspective, and thinking beyond technical "how-to" to instead, leading with pedagogical strategies that provide a reason for using the wealth of available features in the Sakai learning management system.

Implementation Spotlight

 OpenCast at U of Manchester

Opencast has been used as the Ubiquitous lecture capture platform for the University of Manchester since 2013. During the teaching year of 2017/18, 60,000 hours of lectures were recorded with 6,000,000 views from students and staff. Opencast being open source software allowed us to deploy in teaching spaces to an unprecedented scale while giving us the flexibility to adapt the platform to meet the requirements of the academic staff and student needs.

There has been a growing appetite to record, archive and distribute more than just the traditional didactic style teaching content. Opencast has been used to capture laboratories, marketing and communications, live arts/music festivals, and research events among others.

Another major use case for Opencast was to facilitate the recording of clinical, consultation skills sessions. Primarily used by the health sciences, clinical skills is a practical based teaching method for training and assessing learners. There are many faculties that offer curriculum based on clinical skills teaching including pharmacy, optometry, medicine and nursing. Generally these faculties have dedicated spaces to teach clinical skills often employing simulation techniques, hospital scenarios and actors to make it immersive and accurate.

The division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social care had existing clinical skills and simulation spaces. They had previously attempted to  implement a proprietary CCTV-like system in the clinical skills spaces that didn't meet the requirements given by academic staff and had no integration into university systems students and staff interact with like the LMS or video portal.

As we could make fundamental changes to Opencast this allowed us to adapt it to recording clinical skills sessions and we embarked on a project to equip each of the clinical skills spaces with camera based capture equipment. This allowed for the self-generation of content at high quality. The system was also designed to be very easy to use and highly integrated into the university video portal with Opencast handling the processing, archive, security and distribution of the video.

The recording of clinical, consultation skills teaching has utility for training, reflective learning and examination/assessment. Training and reflective learning are generally seen as OK for recording; however, examination and assessment recording is considered by some taboo. One of the major concerns raised is around examination defensibility by students. Students in the school of medicine have objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE’s). These examinations may be taken by 500 students. It is considered not possible to record all of these examinations by traditional means.

Using Opencast, recording at scale can become a ‘one button’ approach for academics and administrators. It then becomes trivial to record large cohorts of student individual examinations. The reviewing of recorded OSCE’s at scale still may be difficult; however it is also beneficial as it was found that it could be used to normalise examiner results thus help to remove bias1.

We received preliminary positive feedback:

Students said: The recording system has a “really fast turnaround time”

Academic and Administration staff said: The recording system was “Easy to use” and they “Loved the self service aspect”

  1. Yeates, P. , Cope, N. , Hawarden, A. , Bradshaw, H. , McCray, G. and Homer, M. (2019), Developing a video‐based method to compare and adjust examiner effects in fully nested OSCEs. Med Educ. doi:10.1111/medu.13783

Project News

 Project Updates


Save the date:
2020 Opencast Summit in Ghent, Belgium

Thanks to our well-organized friends at Ghent University, the website is already up and running for the 11th Opencast summit 
February 5-7 at Ghent University, Belgium
See you in Ghent!

Opencast Dev’n’Hack Camp (Belgium)

Are you interested in adding features Opencast? Do you want to build your own capture agent? Still looking for that Wordpress integration? Let us know!

We are considering to organize a two-day Opencast Dev'n'Hack Camp between the Free and Open-source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) and the 2020 Opencast Summit in Ghent, Belgium.
The camp allows developers and technical enthusiasts to discuss ideas and to collaboratively implement cool hacks and new features around the Opencast project. Hardware builds, extensions, new features, integration, bring your idea and try. No idea? Come anyway and help someone else to realize their idea. 

1-2 February 2020 in Brussels, Belgium
Opencast Dev'n'Hack Camp
3-4 February 2020 at Ghent University, Belgium

Opencast Summit
5-7 February 2020 at Ghent University, Belgium
We need some feedback if we want to make this happen. Please indicate if you are interested in attending the event:

Opencast 7.2 and 6.5 released

Opencast has released updates for both Opencast 6 and 7.  These releases contain a number of bug fixes.  Find the release notes at and respectively.

 Sakai 19.2 Release

Congratulations amazing worldwide community! I'm pleased to announce that Sakai 19.2 is released and available for downloading [1]! 

Sakai 19.2 has 125 improvements [2] including 

  • 23 fixes in Tests & Quizzes (Samigo)
  • 22 fixes in Gradebook
  • 17 fixes in Assignments
  • 16 fixes in Lessons
  • 12 fixes in Forums
  • 5 fixes in Rubrics

Other areas improved include:

  • A11y
  • Basic LTI
  • Calendar
  • Chat Room
  • Content Review
  • Dropbox
  • I18n
  • Messages
  • Preferences
  • Quartz Scheduler
  • Resources
  • Roster
  • Section Info
  • Sign Up
  • Site Info
  • Syllabus
  • Wiki
  • Worksite Setup

There were 3 security issues fixed in 19.2 (details will be sent to the Sakai Security Announcements list).

Please also note the upgrade information page [3] for important notes related to performing the upgrade. 2 Quartz jobs need to be run to complete the conversion steps for Sakai 12, including a new one for the Job Scheduler in 12.1.

[1] Download information-

[2] 19.2 Fixes by Tool -

[3] Upgrade information - 
-- Wilma Hodges

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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