New Features in Sakai

If you haven’t used Sakai in a while, there are some new features (as of December 2016) you might not be aware of:

Site-wide Features:

Sakai has implemented site-wide interface improvements, with a more consistent look and feel and a “responsive” design. The responsive design means Sakai optimizes for whatever screen (PC, tablet, smartphone) you are viewing it on. This makes it much easier for students and instructors to do Sakai tasks on mobile devices.

The Sakai “Favorites” list or “Site Drawer”, is easy to manage. You can take sites, or an entire term’s worth of sites, on or off your list in one click. You can also easily rearrange your favorites, and get directly to any specific tool in any site.

Sakai has more notification options for Tests & Quizzes. It allows students to opt to receive an email anytime they submit an assessment in the Tests & Quizzes tool. No more wondering if a quiz submission actually went through. Instructors can also choose to get email notifications themselves when students submit an assessment.

Features in Existing Tools:

The Lessons tool has a number of advanced features, the biggest being a “checklist” content-type and the ability to divide content horizontally into columns, and vertically into sections, with built-in borders and background color options. This gives you a whole lot of options for arranging your course content.

Accidental deletions of resources are not a problem. Anything you remove goes into the “trash” and can be restored easily.

The Tests & Quizzes tool has an email notification option for both instructors and students on submission of assessments (see the “Notifications” tab for a video describing that). Instructors can use the “User Activity Report” to see all the assessment submissions by any student in one place. There’s also a “hotspot” question-type, where instructors can create image questions with clickable regions.

Added Tools:

There’s a better version of the Gradebook tool available, soon (Summer 2017) to fully replace the old one, now called “Gradebook Classic”. The new version has a spreadsheet layout for easier grading in the tool itself, and keeps all the functionality of the old tool.

Warpwire is a secure video-hosting tool available in any Sakai site. You can upload videos in just about any format, and add them easily to any part of your course through the rich text editor. Videos by default can only be seen by students in your site, but can also be shared or copied to other Sakai sites. You can also choose to allow students to upload their own videos.

The Attendance tool makes it easier to track attendance in your classes. You create your attendance items and can mark students present or absent, and even connect student attendance directly to the Gradebook. Students can also see their own attendance record.