Blog from August, 2019

If you've been using Zoom, you know that it works best in the downloaded desktop client. You've read that and heard it from your teachers and classmates, but if you can't download the app, you're kind of stuck. In most locations using the NMCI (Navy Marine Corps Intranet), the Zoom application is something that you won't be allowed to download and use. The other branches have similar restrictions, but it varies by location, so I can't guarantee your situation. You won't be able to use your computer's sound and you won't be able to participate in breakout rooms (if your professor uses them) but those shouldn't be deal-breakers. 


If you have to use the browser version, here are some tips.

  1. Use Firefox if at all possible.
  2. This chart shows that Chrome will support all of the features of Zoom, but we've found that the Share window is grayed out on Chrome on NMCI, so that may not work for you. This come from the site https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/214629443-Zoom-Web-Client                                                                                                                     Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 10.40.12 AM.png
  3. Edge may work in some locations also, so feel free to try that.
  4. If your location lets you use Chrome with no grayed out problem, you may also be able to use your computer sound and not have to dial in.
  5. If you're told you can't use Firefox, ask again. I haven't run into a location yet that won't load it if you ask.
  6. Let your instructor know you're on a browser. If they are planning on using breakout rooms, that will affect their lesson plan. 
  7. If your location allows, you can also connect using a smartphone, and it's a surprisingly good user interface for the small real estate size. 
  8. If you want to test anything out with us, shoot us an email at chehelp@nps.edu!
  9. For more information, you can go to https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/214629443-Zoom-Web-Client

I'm going to be on leave next week, but I now know that at least four of you are reading my blog! WooHoo!!! So I'm feeling pressure to publish something early so that I don't have to wash the garden dirt off my hands on Tuesday to do this.

Anyway, more about Uploading to Resources...



Two weeks ago I talked about WebDAV, and only briefly mentioned Cyberduck. Now, it seems that it's working really well for people who are having trouble uploading from work or from home, so I wanted to let you know that I've got some really rough instructions written up for it, here. I'll try to improve the page when I get back. 

Basically, what you're going to do is install an FTP browser that will let you work with files and folders in Sakai, like WebDAV, but it works better. It is multi-platform, free, and open source.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. You need to be a local admin to install it, or ask the TAC to install it for you.
  2. There is (still) a 1GB file size limitation on what you can upload to Sakai. This is a hard limit that is due to the load balancer that Longsight uses to store our data and it be bypassed.
  3. As with WebDAV, if you've ever changed the folder or filenames in Sakai, what you will see in Cyberduck is the original name of the file or folder. 

As I said, I'll be out next week, on a yard-cation, which, if you didn't know is a yard-specific staycation. See what I did there? But Dan and Kevin will be here should you need anything. Call x2020 or email clehelp@nps.edu.

Do you have Sakai courses that have been around since the dawn the Sakai Age? Are you enrolled in sites that are now pushing a decade old? Since instructors don't have the ability to delete courses, we depend on you to tell us when it's okay to get rid of the old things. Here's the plan:

  1. Look through your courses and determine which are yours and which are not. Don't forget to look in your Archived sites!
    1. Go to your "Home" area
    2. Click on Preferences
    3. Click on Sites in the top menu. Not to be confused with "Sites" block in the upper right corner of the Sakai window.
    4. Any site with a black check mark are archived and you won't be able to see them in the upper Sites block.
  2. Note the names of the ones that you would like to delete. Some of you will need a spreadsheet for this!
  3. Review the contents and download anything of value. 
  4. Send the names of the sites you want to delete in a ticket to clehelp@nps.edu

It's that easy! 

As an instructor, and even sometimes as a student, you'll need to upload multiple files or even whole folders into Resources in Sakai. Sakai has a built-in tool that will allow us to do that fairly easily, called WebDAV. The WebDAV protocol, standing for Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning, is a tool that allows us to remote to a server and, with the right credentials, create, remove, and edit files and folders. WebDAV may also work to upload files when the Sakai website won't. 

To use WebDAV, go to Resources in your course or your "Home" area. The instructions are at the top; "Transfer Files."  Using the tool is fairly straightforward, but they don't do a very good job of explaining exactly what you're doing. You are going to open two file folder windows that you can use to drag and drop files and folders between. You can upload files and folders into your course or Home, and you can download files and folders onto your hard drive or into your OneDrive, if you have that linked. 

In a nutshell:

  1. Go to your course or Home Resources
  2. Go to "Transfer Files" in the top menu bar
  3. Copy the URL under "Step 1." It will look something like "https://cle.nps.edu/dav/ef882cc9-887f-4e4b-81dc-2f03905ed740"
  4. In Step 2, click on your operating system. The default is Windows. <Tsk>
  5. You're going to "Map a network drive." If you've only ever heard of this trick, you're going to get to do it now! 
  6. Create a link to the server...

For Windows - 

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Go to "This PC"
  3. Click on Computer, then Map Network DrivePicture of Windows 8 Mapping Netword Drive Interface
  4. Pick a drive letter that's not being used and paste the URL that you copied in Step 1 in Sakai, and step 3, above. 
  5. Click finish to connect. It will ask you for your username and password, and this is your Sakai and/or NPS username and password.
  6. Open another folder on your desktop to drag and drop freely. 

For Mac - 

  1. Click on the desktop and select Go then Connect to Server...
  2. In the Server Address dialog box, paste the URL you copied
  3. Press the + button to save this path for future use.
  4. Click Connect.
  5. Type in your Sakai and/or NPS username and password and click Connect.
  6. You will now see a window on your screen that represents the resources in your site. You can now drag and drop files into or out of this window and delete files by dragging them to the Trash.

Please note:

1You may find that the files and folders in your course are named differently in WebDAV. What WebDAV sees are the original names. If you ever changed the name of files or folders in Resources, those changes aren't reflected, though the files are correct. The name changes that were processed through Sakai are almost like a veneer that the server doesn't acknowledge.

2. WebDAV doesn't work for everyone in all situations. If you find that it's not working for you, you can also use Cyberduck to transfer files. 

If you notice that Sakai isn't acting properly, there are a number of troubleshooting strategies that you can use. These are strategies that we use in the office to troubleshoot glitchy issues when they come up. If you were to call us, this is what we'd try. 

  1. Are you using Internet Explorer? While IE is a fine browser, it can have negative effects in Sakai, particularly in Tests & Quizzes. Also, as an instructor, if you use IE, you won't be able to see the contents of the Gradebook, Roster, or the new Rubrics tool. Aside from that, in T&Q, some questions and tables don't line up completely right. 
  2. Try a different Browser? A lot of website problems are solved or at least figured out by trying a different browser. Do you normally use Chrome? Chrome is great, but has some faults, so try Firefox. Normally use Safari? Also has some issues, so try Chrome. Do you get the same result? Then it's not the browser, but your computer, your network, your account, or the site. 
  3. Do you have multiple browser tabs open? Sakai is notoriously bad at keeping it's nose out of other browser tabs' business. It's like that little brother that always wants to do what you're doing. In text boxes, forms, and other chooser tools, Sakai will interpret the other tab as input for itself and completely mess you up. Which is bad. - The solution? Make sure you're only using ONE tab while working. Not all the time, only when what you're working on is really important. If you need more than one tab open for something, use another browser.
  4. Are you on a government computer? We've found that government computers have a hard time with some actions in Sakai. Try to use a different computer, if you can, or see if your IT department, or our ITACS here at NPS, will loosen the security on it. 
  5. Are you in a government network? If you are working on the NMCI network, or any military network, there is a really good chance that if you're experiencing slowness, or if you can't get to a resource or tool that you could get to last week, it could be the network. If you have the opportunity to work in another environment, try that and see if you get the same result. 
  6. Do you believe in gremlins?