Sakai Upgrade Features

As someone who uses Sakai (student or faculty) you may be wondering about how the upgrade will affect you and what you do in course sites.  By and large this upgrade is not expected to be as monumental as the last upgrade to Sakai (from version 10 to 11 in December 2016).  It does however bring a few new features and a bit more polish to some areas.  You may or may not notice these enhancements or features depending on your familiarity and experience with Sakai:

  • New Commons – social networking style tool allowing posts with url to thumbnail expansion, and unthreaded replies.
    commons posting
  • Improved mobile responsiveness and course navigation
    LAMP_Consortium___JU_AAAB_0010_10_SP16___Week_1
  • Gradebook performance enhancements
  • Enhancements to Lessons (discussions, calendar, resources and name personalization widgets)
  • Assessments extended delivery (Tests and Quizzes): delivery of assessments for select individuals and groups (eg. student time accommodations)
  • Inclusion of “My Official Course Enrollments” area of Home for Students
    Sakai___Home___Membership
  • Improved collapsible course navigation menu
  • Improved Favorite Sites Organization – Auto-Add new Sites to Favorites Bar
    LAMP_Consortium___JU_AAAB_0010_10_SP16___Faculty_Tips
  • Responsive Rich Text Edit window
  • Move View Site As drop down to top banner
  • And other improvements.
Advertisements

Sakai Upgrade Scheduled

NEW INFORMATION – updated 10 May 2018 @3:30pm EST

Sakai will undergo an upgrade on May 14, 2018 May 15 starting at 8:00am. The last upgrade to Sakai was done on December 19, 2016. Students and faculty are encouraged to be logged out of Sakai by 7am the day of the upgrade.

This is a change from the previously announced date.

Sakai will not be accessible during the upgrade.  You should plan on being logged out of Sakai by 7:00am May 15. Email notification (sent to your JohnsonU.edu email address) will be sent once the upgrade is complete – currently planned for 1pm, May 15th.

Here are things that are not changing:

  1. Where you go tologin.
  2. The secondarylogin will continue to work as well.
  3. Usernames and passwords will be unchanged.
  4. Classes/Courses you’re a current member of – until they’re unpublished by the instructor of record – typically a few days or weeks after the course concludes.

FAQ:

Question: When will I still see my courses for the Summer 2018 term?

Answer: Instructors are responsible to make the course available on or by the first official day of class as published by the Registrar’s Office of the university. Summer Session 1 began May 7, and published courses will remain published and available to students officially registered to take them. The same thing applies for Summer 2 courses, which are scheduled to begin on June 25, 2018. This upgrade should not affect Summer 2 courses but those courses will use the new version of Sakai. All “Sakai 11 courses” will still be available following the upgrade.

Question: As an instructor, grades are due May 14 by 5pm – how does the upgrade affect getting my grades turned into the Registrar?

Answer: Faculty are strongly encouraged to turn in final course grades as soon as possible at My.JohnsonU.edu – under the Faculty tab (Grade Entry) by May 14, 11:59pm. You can also create a backup (CSV or PDF) of your whole gradebook by following these directions, prior to the upgrade date and time if you wish. You should likely also insure the calculated grade scale (Gradebook>Settings>Grading Schema) matches what you published in your course syllabus.

Question: Does anyone else use Sakai besides Johnson University?

AnswerYes, several other institutions around the world use Sakai – including other prestigious institutions such as Marist, Duke, Covenant Theological, Bethel University, Jiangsu University,University of Notre DamePepperdine University and others.

Question: Is there a way to know when Sakai (or other Johnson University services) are online or possibly having issues?

Answer: Yes, check out the service status page available here.

May 15th is just after the Summer 1 session begins (May 7). Final grades for the Spring 2018 term (and Spring Session 2) are to be submitted to my.johnsonu.edu and faculty are encouraged to do so prior to the Sakai upgrade date. The upgrade to the next version of Sakai is not expected to affect grades or course gradebook calculations. Several other adopting institutions have upgrades planned, including Duke University. If you wish to download a back up of your finalized grades, but before the upgrade, you can do so following these directions.

If you’d like to check out Sakai 12 prior to the upgrade, contact Dave Eveland for details on how to check it out.

full-fledged help-section is already available for both students and instructors on Sakai 12, and several other major universities have already gone through the upgrade process.

Stay tuned in for more information in the coming weeks and thank you for your patience as we move forward with this upgrade.

This Year’s Sakai Upgrade

This year’s upgrade to Sakai will involve far more subtle changes to the interface and feature set.  While Sakai will still benefit from a global community of developers contributing to and improving the code, you will also benefit from the support of the Department of Online Education and the related support resources and services you’ve come to expect.

While the feature set will remain largely the same look forward to a few enhancements, improvements in security and the addition of a few new features:

Sakai12 Prototype

This upgrade will be from Sakai 11.3 to Sakai 12.1. Some things you’ll see include:

  • Improved color specification and contrast in the overall look and feel
  • Streamlined course navigation
  • Addition of the Commons tool
  • Provision of extended assessment time for specific individuals or groups of individuals
  • Improved mobile integration
  • Question Type: Hotspot selection improved on mobile devices
  • Accessibility improvements
  • Lessons subpage option
  • Added widget availability in Lessons: Announcements, Forums and Calendar
  • Gradebook performance enhancements
  • and more!

More information will be made available in the coming weeks and months.

Screencast with Warpwire

icon-warpwire-circle-blueMany of our faculty and courses use the institution’s online streaming service Warpwire. Together with the combined effort of hundreds of faculty, Warpwire houses over 2000 video, image, audio and related media assets, placing, securing and delivering each and every one of them using Amazon’s global content delivery network (CDN) to help all our students make content connections around the world.

Not many of our faculty know however, that Warpwire is a continually evolving platform, and since it’s adoption in 2015, has continued to up the ante of services and features available without increasing the cost to use it.

Most recently Warpwire released two new features: screen capture and live broadcast.

Screenshot 2017-11-16 10.27.57

Screen capture – enables users to use a Chrome browser plugin to record a portion of a desktop or laptop screen along with audio and then include it in a course.

Live broadcast – provides a way to stream live sessions via web-cam and audio within a specific course.

Each of these features offers unique and interesting opportunities for online, hybrid and even face to face courses.  Some faculty are looking for a way to create short lecture or instructional videos ahead of time. Use of a screen capture platform enables an instructor to pull up a presentation in much the same way many instructors present in face to face courses, but be able to record it. Live broadcast enables instructors to hold live sessions with students, record them and make them available to students afterwards. Live broadcast even includes a means by which faculty can tell how many people are watching the broadcast and can include a live chat during the broadcast. While this may sound a lot like Google Hangouts or even Skype, the benefit here is that it’s all secured and held in an institutionally backed and recommended service.  Some students may be wary of attending Hangout or Skype sessions and may violate FERPA regulations.

How else could you use screen capture? Here are some ideas:

  • Use it to record an overview of the course syllabus (actually screen capture the syllabus and guide students through it, especially the complex parts).
  • Provide an alternative course resource that can be made accessible through a captioning service. (Most PowerPoint presentations don’t follow appropriate formatting and alternative text requirements to make content accessible to all learners – creating a video and pairing it with captions can make the presentation far more accessible than say the canned presentations from course text publishers.)
  • Use an internet-based screen capture available to students – for students to record their own video-based presentations to share with the class. (Again, securing this kind of asset with Warpwire verses having students post their speech assignments publicly to YouTube demonstrates better cohesion to FERPA regulations.
  • Screencasts could be used in a language course for assessment or assessment prep. Create a video with language vocabulary displayed while the instructor pronounces the word. Warpwire will even track which students watched it and when, which can inform your instruction or how well students as a whole did on a unit assessment.
  • Record a session where you and a colleague discuss or share conversationally about a course topic – knowing you’ve covered all the content the way you want and delivering that content to students consistently every time the course is offered.
  • Create specific videos for specific assignments as reminders or as quick “60 second helps – in much the same way advertisements create breaks or logical interruptions to television shows.

How else could you use live broadcast? Here are some ideas:

  • For students taking courses with a lab – such as a science course, schedule and conduct a live broadcast of a complex lab procedure, asking all participants to ask a unique question in the chat about the session’s content or steps (for you to answer during the live broadcast).
  • In a speech course – provide a chance for students to deliver their speeches asynchronously (live) to others in the course, while the watchers (other students) provide during-broadcast feedback about the quality of the speech.
  • Bring in a guest speaker located somewhere – anywhere, who can inform or add additional credibility to what you’re already sharing.

What are some other tips in creating these kinds of video assets?

  • If it’s a screen capture – don’t be afraid of having the video be less than super-polished. Students like to see you in your ‘element’ – you’re not a robot teaching the course you’re a person. Maybe you sneeze, or your cat jumps on the keyboard – those things create a contact point with students.
  • Keep screen capture content to less than 15 minutes.  If you think about it, your tension span at this point in this post is beyond bearable, in fact I’m surprised you’re still reading this. Shorter videos of six to seven minutes are easier to digest and keeping it shorter may help you distill the best of what the “normal” 45 minute lecture may disclose.
  • When used discretely, creating videos providing feedback to students directly (one per student) on an assignment may be better than just giving a student a letter or percentage grade.
  • Use screen capture or live broadcast to provide a wrap up or weekly summary of the week or unit’s content.
  • Use screen captures as a means of introducing discussion forum prompts or questions.

Check out the following tutorials from Warpwire on the use of each of these features for use in your classes:

For more on these and other course tips and tools, contact the folks at the Department of Online Education.

AWS Reports Issue Resolved

According Amazon’s Dashboard (screenshot below), the issue which affected some portions of access to course sites in Sakai has been resolved (5:08 EST).

screenshot-2017-02-28-20-08-47

Faculty and students are encouraged to continue to working in Sakai normally. If you experience any issues logging in, accessing course content, submitting grades or assignments, to contact the HelpDesk. Students experiencing issues related to submitting assignments, discussions, tests or quizzes late should contact their course instructor for direction on how to proceed.

 

What’s Coming in Sakai 11?

In just over two weeks – the Fall 2016 term will end.  At almost the same time, Sakai, the learning management system used by Johnson University (Tennessee, Florida and Online) will undergo an upgrade from Sakai 10.2 to 11.2.

screenshot-2016-12-01-12-45-33
Sakai 11 Interface for Johnson University

This upgrade has been planned for well over 6 months and as with any upgrade hopes to bring better continuity and usefulness to a tool as used by both faculty and students within the context of face to face, hybrid and online courses offered by Johnson University.

So what are the biggest changes you can expect to see?  Apart from reading through the detailed list of changes and new features here’s a simple bullet point list:

  • Gradebook upgrade providing spreadsheet grade entry
  • Clean, modern interface
  • Significantly improved mobile functionality (responsiveness)
  • New and improved features in the Lessons tool
  • Favorite and better organize sites

If you’d like to see an overview provided by New York University – you can see it here. Other videos and tutorial information will be made available in the coming weeks.

Changes in Sakai (from 10 to 11)

Here are just a few of the coming changes you can expect to see in the upgrade of Sakai 10 to Sakai 11:

  • Responsive Design: How it works and looks on different devices
  • Gradebook Improvements
  • Lessons Enhancements
  • Additional Tools (Attendance for example)
  • Font Awesome Support
  • Tool name and actions refinements
  • And more!

Sakai 10 and 11 have a similar visual structure, but there’s definitely something to be said for understanding how to get around and where to find things.  The left-hand navigation per-site or course remains, as does the access to course and project sites across the top.  Beyond this standard web-site design (even Amazon uses a similar structure) there are some definite changes. You can see them below in a screenshot of the same course in Sakai 11 and 10 respectively:

My Workspace gets traded off for Home, but mostly as a change in naming, not function.

image3

Home in a course in Sakai meanwhile also gets updated, but again just in naming not in function, to Overview (see above image).

The whole set of icons used throughout Sakai is updated to use Font Awesome icon set, instead of the famfamfam set.  This is most especially notable in the left-hand navigation that appears in the Home (11) and Overview (11) areas of Sakai.  These icons can also easily be used in any content development by using the Font Awesome button in the rich text editor, in any tool that accesses the rich text edit window (which includes Lessons, Assignments, Tests and Quizzes, Announcements, Messages, etc.):

image4There are as yet other changes including, but not limited to:

  • More Sites to just Sites
  • Overall look and feel to facilitate access on any type of device (referred to as Morpheus)
  • Move of View Site As from top right to left just atop the list of tools for any course site
  • Move of Publish Now manage access option to the center from the left hand navigation area
  • Inclusion of profile image in the top right, which also doubles as the Log Out menu
  • Updates to the ‘sites drawer’ location
  • Inclusion of easy method for marking sites as “favorite” for quicker access in Sites area
  • Update to use of ‘elfinder‘ from old file browser when locating and  uploading new resources to a site
  • Inclusion of Windows 10 directions for upload/download multiple resources to a course site
  • A huge number of visual and functional changes to the Gradebook (thanks to NYU), which are covered in another post.

While there are as yet, still other changes and the possible addition of some really interesting features contributed by University of Dayton, be sure to stay tuned.