Many of you are members of several Sakai sites and therefore, a little housekeeping is in order. You can set your Preferences in your My Workspace area. See the images below and try it yourself!
- If you have more than 4 sites, your newest sites are probably listed in the “More” drop-down menu. (Click to enlarge images.)
- You can move sites to the top tabs and remove sites from your view (although they will be available in the “More” menu).
If you have more questions, submit a help request and we’ll do our best to answer them quickly.
Trying new things requires effort, determination, and time. We appreciate all you have done to try Sakai — whether you are a regular user or someone who peeked in to see the environment.
Each of you has made a unique contribution to the UNC Sakai Pilot: Thank you.
You are in excellent company. Nearly 850 colleagues as of July 1, 2010 were enrolled in Sakai as an Instructor, Teaching Assistant (for course sites) or Organizer (for project sites).
Thank you for your time and efforts! We welcome your continued feedback.
If you have been using Sakai for a while—or even if you are brand new—there are several goodies in this version to discover. We’ll highlight a few below to get you started and will continue to spotlight new features over the coming weeks.
NEW! Message Center Notifications
When you log into Sakai, you land in “MyWorkspace.” You will now see “Message Center Notifications.” At a glance, you can view and access all of your new, unread messages–in all of your sites. Just click on the envelope to jump directly to the new, unread info! (Click all images to enlarge.)
NEW! Profile2 Tool
This is fun! Go to your MyWorkspace tab and click on Profile. If you hover over the right-side of a topic, you’ll see an edit button display. This causes a form to appear that you can fill out. There is Twitter integration if you choose and other Privacy settings for you to control how others in Sakai will see your profile. Happy explorations!
Want to use blogging in your classes but not sure how to begin? It’s easy to use the Blogs tool in Sakai. The default settings are set to make the blogs publicly available (each person’s blog has its own RSS feed). However, if you want to use blogs as private journals or just make accessible to class members, you can modify the permissions so only those people who should see the content and comment are able to do so! A few classes have used blogging successfully and we hope to have video interviews posted soon.
Reminder: With any upgrade, we expect some oddities to emerge. Please report any strange behavior quickly so we can resolve issues for you, your students, colleagues and friends. Thank you in advance for your help!
We have creative faculty who like developing web pages for courses. Sometimes course pages are publicly accessible while others are password-protected. For years, faculty have used the Course Web Space Tool to do this. Unfortunately, the tool is being retired but we are pleased to offer Sakai as an alternative.
- See an example of a BIOLOGY 101 course web site that is publicly available to you but hosted on a Sakai site. (At the bottom of this post, you can see the actual URL — it’s long!)
Here’s a 1-minute “big picture” overview of what’s involved.
The videos below, demonstrate how you can use Sakai as a way to serve up your own course web pages.
There are a few considerations:
- You have your web site files stored in a single folder
- You don’t mind having students log into Sakai -or- have a long URL (see below)
- You are fearless with a can-do attitude (We salute you!)
See our playlist of short videos each about 1 minute in length. Wow! Six minutes of free professional development!
As promised, here is the URL containing our sample BIOL 101 course site:
- https://sakaipilot.unc.edu/access/content/group/52b150c8-6e07-4112-9b8b-645b4867df92/public/BIOL 101/index.html
If you are faculty who used to use the Course Web Space Tool, we’re here to help you make the transition! Simply call 962-HELP or open a Help Request for “Sakai Support.”
- Taking it to the next level (learn to hide menu items, create a TinyURL, view as a student, and create a class listserv!)
- Making changes (decide where the “canonical source” of your web site files will reside and then drag and drop as appropriate; edit your HTML pages as you normally would!)
If you are new to Sakai, one of the first things you will hear is how active and engaged the community is. This is true and you can become a contributing member whether you are a faculty, student, artist, designer, programmer, etc. There are so many ways to give!
We like this video because it does two things: (1) highlights the energy and dedication of developers who “innovate” Sakai in useful and interesting directions, and (2) shows an essential segment of the community that we haven’t recognized on our blog yet. Shame on us!
We correct that wrong here and invite our talented UNC developers to check things out and get involved, too! (Click the image to enlarge.)
Summer is full of sun, fun, and webinars! As you prepare for the new semester, grab a snack and log in to participate in a hands-on session (5 Big Ideas) or to find out what new surprises await you in our upgraded UNC Sakai 2.7 environment.
This is a flexible, easy way to connect with colleagues and learn more about the creative ways Sakai is being used on our campus.
Sakai: 5 Big Ideas
Wed., 8/11 @ 9:30 am [or] Thurs., 8/12 @ 3 pm
[Register for one]
Attend this hands-on overview session to learn how Sakai is different from other software you may have used. Find out who is using it on our campus and how!
Sakai: What’s New in version 2.7?
Wed., 8/9 @ 1:30 pm [or] Thurs., 8/12 @ 9:30 am
[Register for one]
Attend this 30-minute webinar to hear about and see the improvements and new features available. Feel free to bring your questions and suggestions, too!
Stay tuned: In September, we’ll show you how to use Voicethread and Sakai to create highly engaging, interactive online learning experiences!
It’s been nearly a year (!) since we wrapped up the Sakai Pilot Evaluation (see published results). This informal reunion meeting (open to anyone interested) is a chance to reconnect, provide updates on the pilot status, share information from the recent Sakai Conference, and seek your collective wisdom and feedback.
Sakai Action Group & Friends Reunion: Friday, July 23
10 - 11 am
Davis Library Room 214
We have an action-packed 1 hour meeting planned with an optional half-hour afterward for further discussion, how-to info, or anything else you’d like to discuss.
We hope to see you there!
No 4th of July weekend is complete without picnics, water parks, family fun, and some quality time spent with your computer! When you have a moment, try this very simple, quick trick to streamline your menu.
We comprehend and learn better when information is “chunked.” (See Brain Rule #4: Can You Read This)
The video below shows how you can create a simpler, organized menu. We call this trick the Fake Divider Tool.
But wait, there’s more! You will also learn how to change your course site view from Instructor to Student - and - you’ll use Page Order to reorganize the menu and hide items as appropriate.
All of this 4th of July fun in only 2 minutes! Enjoy your holiday weekend!
[The following is a guest blog entry by Rob Moore, Manager of the Foreign Language Resource Center in the Department of Romance Languages. Since this posting Rob has moved to the UNC School of Government as an Instructional Technology Developer in Teaching and Learning Support. Thanks, Rob!]
I attended the 11th Annual Sakai conference in Denver, Colorado, and had a fantastic time! For the last two years, I have been singing the praises of Sakai to all of the instructors that I support in the language departments at UNC. Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to share our great experiences with, well, the world! It was great to get to meet other Sakai users sharing and trading ideas. The great advantage of Sakai is that it is open-source, which allows institutions to share ideas and code in a way that is not possible with Blackboard. I am excited to see some of the new enhancements that we may be able to implement in the fall including a new “Tests and Quizzes” interface, a new syllabus setup, and other aesthetic changes. In addition to networking and attending informative sessions and demonstrations, I also made two presentations.
My first presentation titled, “How Sakai solves the training and support challenge” looked at the training and support considerations for the ROML Sakai Pilot. There are over 4,000 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory courses in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Unfortunately, the tech support available to support the learning management systems for these languages is limited. By transitioning these introductory language courses into Sakai, training and support has been more manageable while still allowing for instructors to have control over content and materials in the class.
My second presentation titled, “How Sakai solved the multi-section problem for Romance Languages” looked at the ROML Sakai Pilot from a faculty perspective. The Department of Romance Languages has several large section courses, which can have as many as 45 sections taught by multiple instructors with one course coordinator. Besides the coordinator’s own course load, he/she provides syllabi, assignments, and tests for the sections. Using Sakai’s section aware tools, these courses were moved from Blackboard to Sakai, which significantly improved communication and coordination between coordinators and instructors as well as benefiting students. The video and PowerPoint (in PDF format) can be seen at http://flrcvideos.unc.edu/video.php?link=884/.
All in all, it was a great experience, and I hope that more instructors will make the transition from Blackboard to Sakai.
There are a lot of things to discover in Sakai — even if you’ve been using it for years! If you’re feeling adventurous this summer, you might want to try one of the 5 Tips & Tricks in our forthcoming July series. We have selected 5 simple-to-use tools and techniques that you probably don’t know about — but really should.
Our criteria for selection: SPEED. You can use or create very quickly with an immediate benefit to you and/or your site members.
Look for the first post on July 1!