Taking it to the Next Level

Sakai 11 has long been a work in progress and is scheduled to launch later this summer bringing a wealth of new updates, features and some changes.  While most faculty hate change associated with technology, it’s important to keep in mind that some changes come at the suggestion of faculty and most changes benefit all faculty who use the institution’s LMS.

Sakai 11 on Mobile iPhone

Sakai 11 employs a responsive design.

The first thing you’ll notice is the look of Sakai.  Sakai 11 employs a responsive design that’s meant to provide access to your courses regardless of what kind of device you’re using.  While earlier versions of Sakai were accessible on mobile and tablet devices, doing so required a lot of zooming and scrolling. Sakai 11 changes all of that by adapting to just about any type of device you’re using.

One distinct part of the visual update are subtle changes to tool titles, actions and icons. The set of images representing the various tools in Sakai has been refreshed Sakai-wide to use scalable vector icons.  These icons are used throughout Sakai and can be used right in your own content development by using the new Insert Font Awesome button in the rich text editor.  Some tool titles and actions have also been changed to better reflect their functions.

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The second thing you’ll notice as an instructor is the improvements and changes to the Gradebook.  While the Gradebook is meant to provide automatic calculation of student’s grades, it’s not been as easy to interact with, especially when using the spreadsheet view – where you can see all students and all gradebook items.  Now in Sakai 11, for items created in the Gradebook, you can enter grades right in the spreadsheet view, just click a cell enter the grade, and tap enter to go to the next student.

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There are several other additions to the gradebook which include: private student grade summary view, easier entry of gradebook-wide zeros and category color coding, drag and drop gradebook item sequencing accessibility improvements and much more.

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Another significant improvement is in Sakai’s lessons tool.  Lessons not only gets refinements as part of the responsive design of Sakai 11, it also adds functions for designing content in multiple columns, highlighting or calling attention to content with point and click color choices and other features. What’s more, lessons retains all the great add content functions from Sakai 10 including use of the rich text editor, add assessment, discussion, assignment and question features and granular settings setting thresholds for student lesson advancement.

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There are still other features and improvements you’ll see in Sakai, and because Sakai is open source it draws from the wealth of innovations and collaboration that come from educators just like you.  Check it out:

See more about Sakai here.

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Posted in Faculty, News, Sakai