How it came about
Wits formally introduced eLearning June 2002, when the University adopted the proprietary WebCT learning management system (LMS). After a comprehensive study, undertaken in 2008, to consider the feasibility of both open source and proprietary alternatives to WebCT, the Senior Executive Team (SET) approved an open source approach to an LMS solution. Following this approval, the University also took the decision not to renew the WebCT license after 2011 and began to explore its options regarding a campus-wide implementation of an open source Learning Management System (LMS).
The decision on Sakai and approval process
In September 2010, Prof Yunus Ballim, DVC (Academic), assumed the role of Executive Sponsor of a project to guide and direct the evaluation of possible LMS solutions. Prof Ballim constituted a project Working Group comprising representatives from all faculties, the Library, CNS and the eLearning Support and Innovation Unit (eLSI). The Working Group appointed the company Psybergate as the external consultants to assist in the evaluation
In early 2011, the Working Group concluded the evaluation and recommended that Wits adopt the Sakai collaborative learning environment (CLE) as its eLearning platform. The recommendation was based on: the functional advantage of Sakai over other LMS solutions; the suitability of the Sakai technology in respect of established criteria; the initial and ongoing costs; the viability of the Sakai track record, user base and pedagogy and technical support community; and the sustainability of the platform for the Wits teaching, learning and research goals.