FAQs for Teaching With Sakai

Sristi Shrestha
2016-12-29 11:10
  • How can I create a new course in sakai? What is the automated course site creation tool?

Faculty creates their own courses using the automated site creation tool in sakai. This tool can be accessed through the "Worksite Setup" button in the left menu bar of your "Home" or "Create New Site" under the "Sites" tab. Benefits of this tool include reduced wait time for course creation and automatic roster associations. For important information about using this process, read the Best Practices Guide about Creating a Course Site.

  • How do I use Turnitin.com through the sakai Assignments tool?

The plagiarism prevention program Turnitin.com is fully integrated into the Assignments tool in sakai. This integration means it is no longer necessary to create a separate course site in Turnitin.com, nor will your students need a unique Turnitin.com login. For information on how to use this tool, please read the Best Practices Guide on Using Turnitin.com through the Assignments Tool.

  • I can't see which students are enrolled in my course.

If you are using the self-service site creation tool to create your sakai course sites, your roster should be automatically added to your site. If you need to do a manual creation request OR if your course is dual listed, you may need to perform a roster association in order to add students into your site.

To add or populate your Course Site with enrolled students, you need to "associate" your course site with the appropriate course roster. Once associated, updates to your course roster (or class list) will be automatically made in sakai once the records in the Student Information System are changed. Thus, once a student "drops" or "adds" your course, you should see that change reflected in sakai automatically (within a few hours of the change taking place).

  • Students say they cannot access my course.

Most likely, your students are unable to see your site because it is "unpublished". By default all course sites in sakai are left unpublished when they are created. Instructors are responsible for publishing them when they wish to have students begin to access the course site. Please remember, that all ONLINE courses should be published the Friday before they are officially scheduled to begin.

To publish your course site, click the "Publish Now" button on the top yellow bar in your course sit.

Another way to publish your course:

  •     Login in to sakai and access your course site.
  •     Click on the Site Info off the left tool bar (it is located towards the bottom of the list of tools)
  •     From the top of the Site Info screen, click the "Manage Access" button
  •     Check off the "Publish Site" box
  •     Click the "Update" button. The "Unpublished Site" alert box in the top yellow bar of you screen should disappear.
  • When I copy and paste from Word, I get weird symbols and "codes".

When copying and pasting text from MS Word documents into sakai you must use the "paste from Word" option to avoid copying underlying "code" that MS Word inserts. If you do not use this option then the text you paste into the Rich Text Editor will initially look fine but when you "post" that text (e.g. post a new Announcement or Forum message) it will appear as garbled symbols or "codes".

The "Paste from Word" option in the Rich Text Editor can be accessed by clicking on the clipboard icon with the "W" on it which is located in the upper row of the Rich Text Editor toolbar (see example tool bar below). A new window will pop open into which you can paste the MS Word text. The click the "OK" button (NOT the "clear up box" button) and the text, minus the underlying "codes", will be pasted in.

For further instructions on using the Rich Text Editor, please see the Best Practices Guide for Using the Rich Text Editor.

  • Students are having trouble accessing or posting to my Forums.

There are some common reasons why students may not be able to post to or are confused over how to post to Forums. If students are unable to see the forum, it might be that there is no topic posted within the forum. Forums without at least one topic will NOT be visible to students.

If students are having difficulty posting to forums, there may be steps you can take to reduce their confusion. Please review the Best Practice for Setting Up Forums to learn how to avoid these problems.

  • I am unable to log in to sakai.

It can take 1-2 business days for your Account to become active in sakai. If you have just recently become a full time or adjunct faculty at your institution please check back in a day or so to see if you can sign in. If you have been employed by your institution for a while and you receive a message indicating that "The account or password entered was not correct", then:

  •     Check to make sure you are using a valid Account.
  •     Check that the spelling of your Account is correct.
  •     Check to make sure that the "Caps Lock" is not on as passwords are case sensitive.
  • My course doesn't appear in my sakai account.

Be sure that you have already tried to create a course using the Automated Site Creation process. This tool can be accessed through the Site Creation button in the navigation list of your HOME. 

If your course is not listed when you try to create your course, you need to call the registrar's office to confirm you are listed as the instructor of that course in the system

  • I am uploading a file but it does not appear in my Resources folders.

This problem may occur if you have exceeded the maximum file size upload set by your system administrator. The maximum file size for one single upload is 500MB.

  • My course does not appear in my quick links on the top red banner area.

Click "Sites" to see a full list of course sites to which you have access. If you would like an active course to appear in your quick links, click the star to the left of this course title and make it one of your "Favorite Sites".

  • Minimum system and web browser requirements for accessing sakai.

Hardware: At least 512MB of RAM

Sakai requires one of the following web browsers:

  •     Chrome (Windows, Mac) - free download
  •     Firefox (Windows, Mac, or Linux) - free download
  •     Safari (Mac) - free download
  •     Internet Explorer, version 8 or higher (Windows)- free, available through Windows update

You may also require additional plugins (Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, etc.), depending on the resources that your instructor uses. Please make sure these are up to date to prevent issues in opening downloaded documents.

Other web browsers and OS combinations such as Opera and Konqueror, etc. may work, but are known to have some incompatibilities.

Older web browsers such as Netscape 4.8 or Internet Explorer 8 or earlier (for Windows or Macintosh) will not work.

  • Can I access sakai on mobile devices?

Sakai is responsive on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. We highly recommend that any items that are time sensitive or grade dependent (such as tests and assignments) be completed or submitted from a full-sized, Ethernet connected device.   

  • What is the "Watch" feature in Forums?

The sakai "Watch" feature allows you to receive email notifications when forum responses are authored in a particular course. You can choose options to receive notifications on all threads, no threads, or just those threads in which you have authored a post. For more information about Forums, please read this Posting in Forums Tip Sheet.


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