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Racing towards academic social networks

Ian Boston (Chief Technology Officer, Centre for Applied Research in Education Technologies (CARET), Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 14 August 2009




The purpose of this paper is to explore the driving forces moving Sakai to join the new era of social applications by adopting a content‐focused methodology.


The exploration is performed by looking at the way in which the role of content has developed through various phases of the internet, and how educational computing has leveraged those developments. The paper then goes on to relate these developments to the way in which initiatives like OpenSocial are changing the nature of application development and hosting, discussing the impact of the new world of cloud‐aware and cloud‐based applications on the development of Sakai.


Shifting to a modern web development paradigm that includes heavy use of client‐side programming methodologies such as AJAX, a content‐centric architecture, and an implementation of social networking capabilities will increase student satisfaction, while reducing development time and cost for systems like Sakai.


The paper will be of particular interest to those readers considering the tensions between institutionally provisioned applications and global free‐to‐use web services.



Boston, I. (2009), "Racing towards academic social networks", On the Horizon, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 218-225.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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