Sakai site sees major upgrade
The Rutgers online learning tool used by most students and professors recently received a major upgrade.
Sakai was upgraded to version 11 between August 20 and 21, said Frank Reda, director of IT Services with the Office of Information Technology. That particular weekend was chosen to allow for minimal disruption to Rutgers faculty, staff and administration.
"The main thing that faculty and students will notice about the new version of Sakai is the more responsive and attractive user interface," he said in an email. "Other improvements, including a new gradebook and lesson tool enhancements were also added."
Gradebook and Gradebook2 were two different systems used by Sakai in version 10 and below. While both allowed instructors to submit grades for assignments, they featured different options.
Other learning systems, like Pearson's eCollege, are also being phased out in favor of more updated systems, according to The Daily Targum. Canvas, eCollege's replacement, is being rolled out on a trial basis during the fall semester.
Several other University systems were upgraded, Reda said. All of the computer labs now have Windows 10 machines, rather than Windows 7, which most had previously.
These computer labs do not include ones not run by OIT, such as the DSV and EIT in the Engineering Building on Busch Campus.
The RU Academic Building on the College Avenue campus will feature a new general access computing lab, three labs for instructional use, and full printing facilities, he said. The labs are expected to be ready for the beginning of the semester.
Hill Center, the on-campus home for OIT's datacenter, was shut down during the weekend to allow for hardware upgrades as well. The electrical and mechanical systems were strengthened, allowing for a greater power and cooling capacity.
"The upgrades ... were designed to increase (the datacenter's) power and cooling capacity by 50 percent and will enable the University to accommodate more of the increasing demand for on-premises infrastructure dedicated to research computing," he said.
This power will help researchers who require advanced computing power to aid their work.
"The additional capacity is on schedule to be available to the University's research community in the late Fall of 2016, and will provide for more diverse power and cooling options," Reda said.
The school's technology center was completely shut down during the upgrade, with alerts on Sakai and through email listservs telling faculty and staff to stay out of the building in advance.
"The team also took advantage of the opportunity to complete some much needed repairs and improvements. In order to complete these tasks safely, the entire building’s electrical service had to be suspended," Reda said. "This was the first time in over three years that the data center’s services were shut down for upgrades, maintenance and repair."
Nikhilesh De is a School of Engineering junior. He is the news editor of The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @nikhileshde for more.