Organizing Favorites in Sakai

With the recent upgrade to Sakai 12.1, faculty and students are starting to notice some of the nuance and changes from Sakai 11.


One of the new features in Sakai is in the Organize Favorites tab under the Sites area.  Here you can now elect to have your newly added sites automatically added as favorites.  Essentially this acts as a way to keep tabs on courses you’re in without having to look under the Sites menu.


This is a user preference – which means turning it on or off only affects you – the person changing it – not your students (if you’re a faculty member) and not faculty (if you’re a student).  With the setting turned on, you can still manage your favorite sites by selecting to turn the star next to a site yellow (favorited) or white (un-favorited). This setting can be very handy though, because when a new semester or session begins, as instructors (faculty) make course sites available, they’ll automatically show up as favorited sites in the top banner on your login.


There is a limit to the number of favorites you can have though – 15 in fact. If there are more than 15 sites favorited (either by you selecting that many or by way of having the “automatically add new sites to favorites” checked), you’ll get a notice on the Organize Favorites tab.  You can then review your favorited sites, unselecting specific ones or by using the star at the top of any term to unselect or select a whole term’s worth of sites.

select multiple favorites

Keep in mind that if you don’t see a site, it’s because it:

  1. hasn’t started yet, and therefore hasn’t been published by the instructor
  2. has concluded and the instructor has un-published the site
  3. as an instructor – you may not have been assigned to teach it yet
  4. you have the “automatically add new sites to favorites” turned off
  5. you have the “automatically add new sites to favorites” turned on, but you have too many sites favorited
  6. OR you may have it hidden in your Preferences>Sites area

Here’s a quick video over the concept and of course you can always check out the Users Guide on Sites organization here.


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 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.


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 – 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 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.

Sakai Status – 10 May 2017 UPDATE

An earlier reported issue of the Sites button and related Favorites list has been resolved as of 1:25pm EST.


Remember – there are several ways to get to your course sites:

  • Use of the Sites button (waffle icon) in the top right
  • Use of the Favorites (starred) sites in the Sites Favorites tab
  • Use Overview>Membership to see all course sites
  • Use Overview>My Worksite Setup to navigate to course sites

If you continue to experience issues, be sure to log out and/or restart your device and then contact the HelpDesk if you continue to experience problems.

Sakai Status – 10 May 2017

Some faculty and students have reported an issue with Sakai’s Sites button and Favorites list.  The issue has been identified and is being worked on presently.  Faculty and students can still access their courses by using Overview>Membership after logging in:


A status with new information will be posted as soon as it’s available.

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).


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.


Course Sites Access – Update

As of 4:20pm EST, the impact of Amazon Web Services (AWS S3) continues to impact online, face to face and blended courses sites in Sakai ( |

You can find out more about the AWS S3 issue here.

After further research, the issue not only affected image content in courses – it also affected student’s ability to upload or access files in courses – including but not limited to, access to course syllabi, files in course Resources, upload of assignments as attachments, entry of forum and blog posts and and submission of assignments. Other areas may have also been affected as well.

What does Amazon have to do with Sakai anyways?

While it’s expected that the issue will be resolved soon, instructors are asked to use discretion when accepting assignments and other grade-impacting tasks which rely on electronic submission via Sakai. While not preferable, some instructors may decide to correspond with students via standard email about changes/adjustments to assignment submission processes due to the AWS issue, including extending the due or accept until date(s). Instructor’s ability to access student submissions, files and related gradable digital content is also an issue in some cases.

Students are encouraged to create and author content using an offline editor (such as in Word or Pages) and save their work so they have a back up and can potentially submit their work later or using a different means.

Instructors and students can continue to check the JohnsonU_Online Twitter feed for continued updates on this issue. Additional status update information is available directly from Amazon here.