As alluded to by Kim Thanos in a comment on this series original posting, if Notre Dame were to choose Sakai over Blackboard Learn or any other LMS, the skill sets I bring to my workplace would have to change.
Currently my day looks like this: 30% ad hoc requests from the crosslist-related access to how can I do this or that variety; 20% application maintenance, that is, certifying one of our 3 environments after an infrastructure change (patches, updates, networking, virtual farm resource allocations, firewall/load balancer); 20% communication and FAQ writing; 30% reading/answering listserves and email.
I’m an IT generalist at the moment. At one time I had a higher skillset in networking/operating systems. Then I became more adept at application troubleshooting in Weblogic and a log crawler. Then I became a browser troubleshooter and an HTML manipulator. And an educational technology consultant, I can’t forget that.
The good news is that I see the skill sets needed to bring Sakai to campus (from where we are now) to be so diverse, that I would hopefully get to choose which part I wanted, train rigously (did I mention I’m a lifetime learner? Good thing too!) and then make a recommendation for how big the transition team should be, their skill sets, and just how many bodies are we talking about. After the transition, I expect we would be able to scale back some.
First pass at skill set list for Transition Team (partially based on ND tech standards and on our school size and on our adoption rate so far):
- Experienced application engineer, good with Linux. Apache, Tomcat, and java experience preferred. Disaster recovery. High availability. Virtual non-production environments at least. Lots of testing iterations once 3 environments are established. 1 FTE. Forever.
- Java developer. 25% FTE. I think the developer consults with the app engineer on different build / install decision points.
- Platform agnostic developer. 1.5 FTE. Or not. This person is going to have a list of Notre Dame interfaces to test/rewrite/convert. These will include Banner Self-Service Forms to create ad hoc crosslists, and to copy content from last semester’s class (or any class really) to this semester’s class section or sections; a Orientation to Notre Dame’s honor code which feeds back to Banner whether students have completed it and sets a role accordingingly; Graded Voice Tools (Wimba); Secure Electronic Exams (Respondus LockDown Assessment; iTunesU interface; Library eReserves interface; real-time event synchronization between Sakai and Banner (maybe get a SunGard consultant on this?).
- Learning Management Thought Leader. 1 FTE. This skill set is something like planner, architect of new service roll out, liasion to Academic committees. This role is increasingly crucial everywhere regardless of ones LMS. ND currently has no cradle-to-grave service policies, no content repositories or ePortfolios alumns can take with them, no federated ID management (working on it!), no repeatable method for inter-institutional collaborations… Also ND currently has no decentralized end user support structure except in a couple of EXCEPTIONAL colleges, while central IT has only an Academic Technologies R&D group and a Center for Teaching and Learning which must lead the charge in all the ways a School of Education would if our institution had one. I do alot of this kind of work already so I would have to decide whether this is my full time destiny or whether I would like to become #1 full time instead. Also, I have NO IDEA how to ‘rank up’ in these skills while continuing to ‘hold down the fort.’ Ideas?
- End User Documentation/Support materials. 1 FTE on the transition team but potentially could be scaled back. I understand this could be a serious giveback to the Sakai community because they don’t do this well at the moment.
- DBA. Typically we implement in Oracle and we pull from a pool of DBAs. We might be able to get 1/2 FTE for a short burst and then drop down to a 1/4 time DBA.