Sakai, the educational software program used at the University of Rhode Island, is expected to be hosted through the third-party user Longsight by the end of January, according to Director of Media and Technology Services David Porter. 

“If all goes according to plan and we get to purchasing on time, it’s going to happen next month,” Porter said. Sakai has always been hosted in the data center at the university.

“It’s been difficult and very costly to find support 24/7,” he said. “It’s cheaper for the school when you look at what it costs.”

Two retirements are slated to happen of people who help support URI Sakai. A third person that works with computer programming will be moving to a different department. 

Porter said that with the university pushing online learning, support around the clock is imperative.

“We have people that are going to be in other states and time zones using the Sakai system,” he said. However, this is nothing new. Porter said a lot of other schools, like Providence College and Roger Williams University, outsource to the same company, Longsight. 

     Porter said that students and faculty will not notice a difference.

    “It’s going to be the same exact software and configuration,” he said, “if something happens at 1 a.m., they have people that are monitoring and can get [Sakai] back online.” 

The university was careful to be sure there was no disruption during the week of finals.

“Whenever we do anything with the system, we make sure we don’t disrupt finals,” Porter said. “Not just for the students, but for the faculty, it’s very stressful.”

Sakai users will still contact the university’s help desk if they have a problem with the software. However, rather than fixing the problem in-house, the help desk will contact the people at Longsight.

Porter said they are expecting to go live through Longsight at the end of January, but if the university can’t get through state purchasing in time, the host switch could be pushed back to August.

“It looks like it’s going to happen, but if there’s a problem with the purchasing process, it might be delayed,” he said.