Blog from September, 2019

About a year ago we got a few licenses to conduct a pilot/proof of concept for the Zoom web conference program, and I'd say it was a success! Those who have been using it are pleased, in general, and we have gone ahead and upgraded our licenses to a total of 500. You may be wondering "why Zoom?" and he main reason is that DL students who have to attend their lecture at work, can still access the lecture via Zoom's web interface. Collaborate has no such thing. 

There have been some struggles, however. One of the biggest surprises was how big each of the recorded files are. Included in our contract is 750 GB of cloud storage, which seems like a lot, but that beautifully clear sound and video quality comes at a price, and a three-hour lecture can easily end up being a GB or more in size. It's for this reason that we have let you know to save your recordings to one of our other cloud storage systems;, or

Something else that we did not anticipate was that students who attend their lecture via the web client have to deal with some limitations. Different browsers have different capabilities with Zoom, but overall Firefox seems to be the best for students on military networks. Even with Firefox, students will need to dial in for listening and speaking, and students on a web browser can't participate in breakout rooms. If you don't use breakout rooms, this is not an issue, but if you do, your work-around is that those who are on a browser will be their own breakout room group. 

If you're interested in more information, please give us a call at 831-656-2020, or go to the Zoom wiki . Also, I've been asked to create a chart comparing the different features of both, so here's that. 

The bottom line (literally) is that if you've been waiting to request an account, now is the time! Send an email to


If you've been around NPS long, you've probably heard this more than once. AND if you read the "Message of the Day" on your "Home" page in Sakai, you've seen this before!

I just recently had a slew of problems with a class where several students had problems with their tests in Sakai. One student clicked on "Submit" and the test deleted his answers, and he turned in a partially completed test, when in reality he completed every question. In another case, The student finished the test, clicked on submit, and it made her log back in, only to find that her answers were gone. In yet another, the student went to submit the test and the Submit button was grayed out, then made him log back in and only half of his answers were there. 

Here is what you do to be able to avoid shedding tears from lost questions:

  • If at all possible, use Chrome or Firefox. We advise against Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari for Sakai, as the user interface gives inconsistent results.
  • IMPORTANT! Only have ONE browser tab, the Sakai test, open in one browser at a time. If you need to have another internet window open for reference, use another, different entire browser. In other words, if you're taking the test in Chrome, have your reference page open in Firefox or Internet Explorer. DO NOT have the test open in more than one window AT ALL. EVER!
  • Save often. Save after every question. Sakai automatically logs you out after 60 minutes of inactivity, and it doesn't count test entries as activity, so again, save your work often!
  • If you're having issues with entering numbers in numeric questions ("you have non numerical values in numerical fields"), save your work. Then either try another browser, or clear your browser's' cache, directions are here:

As the quarter winds down, it's time to start thinking about our next term already, and for those of you who are teaching the fall 2020 quarter, it's time for course requests. Here's the lowdown on the ENTIRE course request process (I mean really what are blogs for?). If you've already submitted your request, keep reading! You may learn something!

Send us your course request

  1. You don't need to wait until you get that email from me to request a course. It's just a bit more challenging if it's two quarters ahead. 
  2. Course requests can either be sent directly to 
  3. Or you can use our request form here. 
  4. PLEASE DON'T send a request by replying to a previous course request email or ticket, or by emailing Dan, Kevin, or me. We may not ever get it!
  5. Please do send a separate request for each course. Different segments of the same course don't need a separate request. If we have to split up your request, that will cause a delay. 

Here are the essentials of what we need. Information missing from this list will cause delays, and you don't want that!

  1. Tell us if you need a new, blank copy of the Master Course, or a duplication of a previous course 
  2. We need the COMPLETE NAME of the course you want duplicated (Please copy and paste this for us, please don't guess). For example, "GE3051: Cost Management - WEST (SU19_LA)." You would be surprised at how many requests we get that state a professor needs "the last iteration that I taught." Since you're already on a computer, why not take another two minutes, go to and copy/paste the full name for us. It's not that easy for us to look up your last course and figure out which one was taught by you last.
  3. Do you need us to add your students, or will you do that?
    1. Many professors don't know that you can add your own students if you have their NPS usernames or NPS email addresses. Go to Site Info>Add Participants in order to add.
    2. Adding students is a manual process; we do that by hand from a list that we get from Python. If a student is added later to your course by the registrar's office, we are not told about it and they will not be automatically added. Please send us a request or you can do it.

Some notes:

  • You can request a course to be created as early as you want to, but if it's before the start of the immediately-prior quarter, we won't have access to the name of your course or any students in it. For instance, if you ask for a WI20 course now, we can create it, but we don't really know what it's going to be called or what students are going to be in it. If you're up for guessing, that's fine with us. 
  • We can rename your course if you want, but we MUST include the Python course code, ie, "GE3051" and the end data code, ie "(SU19_51_LA)." Just let us know what you want the middle to be called. 
  • Once your course is created, edit and publish it. Please remember to change the "boilerplate" that comes on the Overview page of a new blank course!