If you’re a faculty member, have been a faculty member, or know a faculty member, you know that one of faculty’s least favorite teaching duties is grading. Not only do they have to evaluate their students’ work, they also have to submit the grades to the institution, and communicate those grades to students. While Sakai can’t completely eliminate the necessity of grading, it has made the process of managing grading a lot simpler and more robust.
When Sakai recently updated the LMS’s Gradebook capabilities, how did designers know what faculty most needed?
The answer is simple. Sakai is an open source solution created and improved by the community using it. So, when front line IT support heard faculty grading woes, they knew they could develop and implement a better solution. It began a few years ago, when NYU completely redesigned the Gradebook tool based on extensive interviews and usability testing with their faculty. Thereafter, several other universities - all members of the Sakai community - pooled their resources and developed additional feature improvements that their faculty members had requested. Schools like the University of Notre Dame, Western University, Illinois State University, and Providence college, all contributed their ideas, needs, and development resources.
And just like that, Sakai nimbly responded to faculty needs with a great solution. This is just one of the reasons why the Sakai LMS enables better learning outcomes than other LMSs, according to independent survey research .
As Laura Gekeler, LMS Administrator for University of Notre Dame says about Sakai,
“Most faculty and students just want stable and predictable. Our technology innovators want a quick response time for features and fixes. As an institution, we want control of our own destiny. Where else are we going to get all that?”
Sakai could - and did - improve the grading process, making the necessary evil of grading a little more bearable.
 See recent presentation Sakai, IT, and Libraries: Results from the MISO Survey