Start of Semester Sakai Tips

So you’re getting ready (right?) for the new semester! Here’s a few tips to make sure you’re prepping well and making best use of Sakai for your course(s):

You’re teaching a face to face course:

  • Get your site setup. If you’re teaching a course you’ve taught before, don’t reinvent the wheel – use the Site Import function in Site Info to pull content in from the last time you taught the course. More info here.
  • Sakai has an easy to use Attendance tool – and it helps keep students informed about their absences or tardies. It’s as easy as selecting the tool and marking everyone present except one or two students; it’ll even enter the date and time for you.
  • Post or upload your syllabus. You don’t have to be love trees, but you could save some paper. This way your syllabus is always available to students and it’s not as likely for students to loose. Students can always print out the syllabus if they’d like a hard copy.
  • Set up the Gradebook. Even if you imported from another course site, check under Gradebook>Gradebook Settings>Schema that the gradescale you cited in your syllabus is the one being used to calculate student’s overall course grades.

You’re teaching an online course:

  • Along with just about everything above (except the attendance bit), be sure to set open, close and accept until dates. Assignments and Tests and Quizzes all require these – so get a calendar for the upcoming academic session and get to setting these up. Keep in mind your due times as well; times are set in 5 minute increments – so 11:59pm isn’t an option. 11:55pm is an option as is 12:00am the next day.
  • Prep an outgoing Message or Announcement – welcoming students to the course – show them you’re present and excited to start the course.fix-this-video-is-not-available-in-your-country-error-on-youtube
  • Check the various links in your course – especially those that go to things like YouTube, Vimeo or the like; it’s possible the videos have been removed by the owner or otherwise don’t exist any more.
  • Hide or reveal tools as needed in your course. You can set dates for individual top-level unit pages to open and you can hide or disclose tools.
  • Modify but do not remove or hide the Start Here section of your course as appropriate.

While this is not an exhaustive list it’s a place to get started. More tips and suggestions are available from your resident Sakai experts, feel free ask. Focus on making this the best session/semester yet for your students!