Phoenix, AZ — September 5, 2007 — Unicon, Inc., the open source experts for enterprise portals, applications, and professional services for the online campus in academic institutions, today announced an updated test drive program for the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment. This Unicon-hosted site allows colleges and universities to evaluate Sakai 2.4.x, the latest version of the community source software. The free, 90-day program will provide educational instructors and IT personnel at colleges, universities, and K-12 with a fast, easy way to evaluate Sakai without incurring the cost of software licensing fees, development time and resources, or hardware purchases. Since Unicon first started the test drive program at the beginning of 2006, over seven thousand users have registered at the site. To test drive Sakai for Free, visit: http://www.testdrivesakai.com.

?Industry interest in Sakai has grown substantially over the past year as academic institutions must make serious decisions for their long term plans and options for a learning management system,? said John C. Blakley, CEO of Unicon, Inc. ?Unicon created the Sakai Test Drive to help support the Sakai community by giving educators an easy way to evaluate Sakai before engaging in a pilot program or full implementation.?

Highlights of the Sakai Test Drive
This special test configuration on the latest Sakai Version 2.4.x gives users a full 90-day period to experience a broad range of Sakai?s features and power, including:

  • Using the extensive Sakai toolset
  • Online tutorials to help get started
  • Learning best practices by viewing populated courses and project worksites

    Growth of Open Source Technologies in Higher Education
    As educational institutions face increasing costs of proprietary software licenses and maintenance fees, open source technologies for online campuses and classrooms are rapidly gaining in popularity with higher education. Adding to this trend, recent vendor consolidation in the industry has given institutions even fewer purchase options and they have very serious choices to make for their long-term future. Open source solutions have been successfully implemented at many of the largest universities and colleges around the nation. Besides reducing dependency on software vendors, open source allows institutions to enhance the software specifically for their needs. Now higher education organizations can implement more sophisticated technology solutions utilizing open-source technologies, reducing their spending budget significantly.

    About Sakai
    The Sakai software is a community source effort to develop a platform for innovation in collaboration, teaching and learning, and research support software. The Sakai Project?s primary goal is to deliver the Sakai application framework and associated course management software (CMS) tools and components that are designed to work together. These components are for course development, delivery, management, and, as an augmentation of the original CMS model, they also support classroom and research collaboration. The software is being designed to be competitive with the best CMSs available. For more information visit: www.sakaiproject.org.

    About Unicon
    Unicon, Inc. is the leading independent provider of open-source frameworks, applications and professional services for the online campus. Unicon delivers enterprise portal, collaboration, learning and integration technology for higher education institutions worldwide. The company is a Sakai Commercial Affiliate for the community source Collaboration and Learning Environment and also a commercial affiliate of the uPortal open source Web portal initiative. Unicon strives to base its solutions on open-source technology for increased productivity and reduced costs. Unicon also provides a full complement of professional consulting, training and support services. More information about Unicon, Inc. is available at www.unicon.net.

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