A Quick Overview of an Online Course in Sakai

Getting a handle on what an online course might ‘look’ like is kinda tough, given that it’s not confined by four walls and a class-time twice a week. Figuring out how an online course work can take some guidance and this short video is just the thing to give you what you need to get a good start.

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How do I publish a course in Sakai?

Publishing a Course:

Publishing a course has gotten easier with the new version of Sakai (2.9.1) – a button up near the location that used to simply indicate a course’s publish state has now been replaced with a ‘Publish Now’ button, adding function to form.  To publish a site, simply click on the Publish Now button.  To return the course to unpublished, go to Site Info>Manage Access> and change the radio button to “Leave as Draft”.  Courses can still be published by going to Site Info>Manage Access if preferred.  You can also use the same area (Manage Access) to publish the course.

Publish Now Button
Publish Now Button

Faculty should publish their courses shortly before the course begins, typically the day instruction begins or at the official start of the term. Just as they are responsible for publishing their courses, faculty are also responsible for unpublishing courses. Be sure to unpublish your course(s) at the end of the term as well.  Doing so removes the course site from student’s view – keeping student’s view of Sakai less cluttered.

What does publishing a course mean?

Publishing a course means granting access to the course for students and TA’s. Sakai provides some nice granularity by allowing you to add participants (students, TA’s and even co-instructors) to the course w/o publishing the course.  Unpublished courses are accessible to anyone listed in the course Site Info area that have instructor status.  Students and TA’s do not have access to courses unless they’re listed in the participant list in Site Info and the site is published.

Viewing Grades for Faculty and Students

Summary

This article explains how students and instructors may view and interpret grades in the Gradebook in Sakai.

Students

When you enter Gradebook, depending on what information your instructor has made available, you will see one or both of the following:

  • Course Grade: The course grade is a cumulative grade based on items you have completed. Any items you have not completed are not included in the course grade calculation unless your instructor has explicitly assigned zeroes to those items. A grade percentage appears in parentheses and shows the actual percentage derived from completed items.
  • Gradebook Items: The list of gradebook items shows each item name, its due date (if applicable), your grade, and any comments associated with the grade.

Instructors
Setting score display options

Instructors can choose to make available individual gradebook items, as well as cumulative course grades.

Viewing grades

When you enter Gradebook, you will see an average course grade for the class and a list of individual gradebook items. You can view cumulative scores using one of the following options.

When viewing grades in tables, you can sort on many of the columns; click the column heading by which you want to sort the table. Subsequently clicking the same column heading will switch the sorting order between ascending and descending. (The Gradebook currently does not use first names for sorting. If you have several students with the same last name, Gradebook will not sort those students properly based on their first names.)

Near the top, click Course Grades. You will see a list of your students. For most gradebooks, the points earned, the letter grade, and a percentage are displayed for each student. (The display may vary based on your gradebook setup.) The letter grade and percentage are based on the items that have been completed. To include items that have not been completed in the course grade calculation, you must enter a zero (0) for each item.

To view the course grade by section or group, use the View drop-down list to select the section or group. You can also use the text box to search for individual students.

By default, 50 students are visible. To display more or fewer students, in the drop-down list above the table on the right, change Show 50 to your desired option.

Near the top, click All Grades. You will see a list of your students, and a course grade and a point value for each item in the Gradebook. The course grade is only shown as a percentage in this view and is based on the items that have been completed. To include items that have not been completed in the course grade calculation, you must enter a zero (0) for each item.

To view the roster by section, group, or category, use the View drop-down list. You can also use the text box to search for individual students.

By default, 50 students are visible. To display more or fewer students, in the drop-down list above the table on the right, change Show 50 to your desired option.

Sharing Grades with Students

Summary

The Gradebook allows you to control whether or not students can see individual Gradebook items, as well as cumulative course grades. This article shows you how to make grades available to students.

Displaying Individual Gradebook Items to Students

Step 1: From the menubar, click Gradebook.

Step 2: At the top, click Gradebook Setup.

Step 3: Under Gradebook Items Display, check the box next to Display released Gradebook Items to students, and then click Save  Changes.

Step 4: Gradebook items will be visible to students when you release them. To release an individual Gradebook item, when creating or editing the item, check Release this item to Students. (If you check this box before entering grades, grades will be visible to students when you enter them and click Save Changes.)

Step 5: If you leave the Include this item in course grade calculations box unchecked while creating or editing the item, students will see their grades for that item in parentheses to indicate that it is excluded from the course grade.

Displaying Course Grades to Students

By default course grades are not displayed to students. Do the following to display course grades to students:

Step 1: From the menubar, click Gradebook.

Step 2: At the top, click Course Grade Options.

Step 3: Under Grade Display, check the box next to Display course grade to students now, and then click Save.

The course grade will be visible to students. To specify that a Gradebook item should be counted toward the course grade, you need to check Include this item in course grade calculations when creating the item.