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Sakai Top Skills and Information

After a recent examination of the most frequently asked Sakai questions, we (RITG) developed a top skills list to help serve the Pomona community. This list pulls together some of the most common questions and requests that ITS has received through our ticketing system in the past year. While Sakai questions often change with the cycle of the academic year, many of the items on this list are common throughout each semester. As a result, we would like to share these top skills with you now and going forward in future terms.

But First…A New, Exciting Faculty Resource

Before we dive in, we have some exciting news about a new place you’ll be able to access the skills in this post and more! We have begun developing a Pomona-specific Sakai information project site, currently a work in progress but available in its present form. This site, called Sakai Info – POM, is a place for you to access Sakai training materials, learn about web-enhanced course development and design, find answers to frequently asked questions, and try out different Sakai tools to gain a sense of the student experience. There are several lesson modules already in Sakai Info – POM, including Sakai Basics, Roles and Permissions, Adding Content, Reduce and Reuse, and Additional Resources. We have plans for more on the way and will continuously add to and improve the site so you have the most up-to-date information.

Sakai Info - POM site screenshot
Screenshot of Sakai Info – POM Overview page

Beginning next semester, you will be able to access the site from the left side menu of any course site when logged in. For now, get the sneak peek: Sakai Info – POM.

Top 10 Sakai Skills

Let the drumroll begin as we dig into our top 10 Sakai skills.

1. Sakai Course Site Access Policy

Many questions come to ITS regarding student access to unpublished course sites as well as questions as to why a newly registered student does not appear on the Sakai site roster. Likewise, each semester ITS receives numerous questions about course site creation and population timelines. The Sakai Course Site Access Policy helps answer these questions and gives an understanding of a course site’s creation to the un-publishing timeline.

2. Adding Sites to your Favorites Menu

Faculty and students sometimes report that newly added courses do not appear when logged into Sakai. While this can be because Sakai has not yet received Registrar data (as explained in the Sakai Course Site Access Policy), oftentimes this is because the user is not viewing all of their available course sites. The help article for Adding Sites to your Favorites Menu explains how to adjust your favorites in order to ensure the most accessed are seen in the favorites bar.

3. How to Copy Materials from a Previous Course Site

Copying material from one course site to another is not only helpful when building a course taught repeatedly but also saves a lot of time. How to Copy Materials from a Previous Course Site explains the steps to copy materials from one course or project site to another.

4. Adding or Removing a Tool from a Sakai Site

Sakai Add Tools screenshot
Sakai Add Tools Screenshot

When building a course site or project site in Sakai, it may be necessary to add or remove tools as needed (such as Lessons, Forums, or Sign-Ups). Anyone with the Instructor or Maintain role in a Sakai course or project site can follow the instructions in Adding or Removing a Tool from a Sakai Site to successfully edit their tool list.

5. Adding Files to Resources

The Sakai Resources tool is the perfect place to store materials, such as documents or images, to make them accessible to others within your Sakai site and easily embed them in Lessons. Please see the article Adding Files to Resources for steps on how to do this.

6. Manually Adding Users to a Sakai Site

Sakai Add Participants screenshot
Add Participants in Sakai Screenshot

From time to time, you may need to add a user to a Sakai site. This can range from adding an administrator to a project site to adding a community auditor. If you have an Instructor or Maintain role in Sakai, you are able to add others to your site by following the steps found in the Manually Adding Users to a Sakai Site article.

7. Adding TAs to a Course Site

If you have a TA for your course, you will need to add them manually to your Sakai site. To do so, please follow the instructions found in Adding TAs to a Course Site.

8. How to Give TAs Gradebook Access

If a TA will be grading or otherwise required to view a student’s work for your course site, you will need to give them permissions in Gradebook. After adding a TA to your course site, please see How to Give TAs Gradebook Access for instructions on creating a grading group and to ensure TAs have the grading access they need.

9. How to Create an Ubersite

An Ubersite is a Sakai site made up of a combination of course sites. For example, if you facilitate multiple sections of a course, you can combine them into one central Sakai site. If you would like to create an Ubersite, please follow the steps found in the article How to Create an Ubersite.

10. Creating and Maintaining Project Sites in Sakai

A Sakai Project site is a Sakai site that is created by a Sakai user. This is different from a Sakai Course site, which is generated automatically for academic courses. Any registered Sakai user can create a project site. Personal project sites are great for testing Sakai tools before using them in your course sites where testing tools might be visible to or otherwise impact students. Additionally, many departments and faculty groups use Sakai project sites to manage data and interactions.

By creating a project site, users become the owner of that site. If you are the owner, this means that you can do anything to the site, such as add tools, add users, control settings, and more. You can even appoint other users to the Maintain role, and they can effectively become an owner or co-owner of that Sakai site. Sakai project sites never expire. They are only deleted if you remove them yourself. For more information, please see Creating and Maintaining Project Sites in Sakai.

*Please note that project sites, unlike course sites, are not maintained by Pomona College ITS. In creating project sites, you are the sole site owner. If other users need access to your site, you will have to grant it. If you need ITS assistance with the site, you will need to add us as well.

Well, that’s it for our top ten list. It’s time to get to work building your Sakai skills! Be sure to periodically check the Sakai Info – POM site for updates as well.