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Tips and Tricks organized by Tool. Feel free to edit this page to include any additional Tips and Tricks you have found to be beneficial.

  • The numbers following the title is the Sakai CLE version on which this tip was created. Most tips can be utilized in future versions but some options or functionality may have changed.


Modules (discontinued in v. 12) v.10.7

How to Export Modules - 10.7

  1. Enter the Modules tool
  2. Select "Manage"
  3. Click on "Import/Export"
  4. Choose IMS Content Package format (default)
  5. Choose to export "All Modules" or select specific modules
  6. Click on "Export" at the bottom

How to Import Modules into Lessons - 12.1

  1. Go to your course in Sakai and Click “Lessons” on the left side menu
  2. At the top of the page, click on  “More Tools” and select “Import CC/CP” 
  3. Click “Choose file
  4. From the Finder window that pops up find the exported zip file on your computer
  5. Click “Import”
  6. The imported modules will appear in the left side menu
  7. Any text from the “Description/Overview or Objectives,” "Instrucare of Modules will not be imported into Lessons


How can I copy select content from Resources from one site to another? - 2.7

If you don't want to bring ALL Resources from one site to another, you can move or copy select content into a site to which you have write access by:

  1. Go to the Sakai site in which you would like to copy FROM
  2. In the home of the Resources area, at the bottom of the list use the "Show other sites" link to display all of the sites in which you are enrolled
  3. Use the checkbox to the left of the files/folders you would like to copy and select the Copy option at the top of the checkbox column
  4. Paste icons should appear to the right of each folder's title (just to the left of the Add drop down box)
  5. Select the paste icon to the right of the site you want to paste the folders/files into
  6. Navigate to the TO site to confirm all content has been copied and use a similar procedure to move content to the desired location

If you do not see the copied content in the TO site, please wait a minute, if there is a lot of content it may take a few minutes time to complete the copy.

WebDav (Upload/download multiple resources) issues

  • When a user attempts to map a drive (in Windows) to a Sakai site's Resources area, as part of the process, the user copy/pastes the URL from the Upload/Download multiple Resources page.  In many cases an extra space is pasted at the end of the URL which needs to be removed before the connection can be successfully made. If having difficulty establishing a connection, please remove that extra space.
  • The text "ERN/" should NOT proceed the username in the login field.
  • It is normal for a user to have to log in twice the first time this is done. When this is done a second time he/she should only need to login once.
  • If drag-and-drop does not work you may need to copy and paste files/folders. 
  • Files with special characters (&, ", #, ', (, ), ?) (`, ~, !, #, $, %, ^, &, *, (, ), +, +, ,, |, \, /, ?, >, <, ,, :, ;, ', ") in the title may not transfer.  To upload these to your site you can change the name of the file removing the special characters or upload the files using the Web Interface.
  • Valid special characters include: @, ., _, and -.
  • If you are not able to establish a WebDav connection with a Sakai site using Windows Map Network Drive try using a 3rd party WebDav client such as Cyberduck (
  • If your file transfer is slow using Windows and you have a fast Internet connection, try the Microsoft Knowledgebase article at

How do I include a file in the resources tool which cannot be browsed by students?

Create a new folder (call this 'folder A') and use the hide folder radio button to hide it. This option is located in the Availability and Access section just below 'timed release' on the Edit Details page of a folder. Now create another folder inside the hidden folder ('folder B'); now ensure that this folder (B) is not hidden (on Edit Details page) and then access the folder permissions page, place a tick in the hidden column against all the roles that you want to be able to view the contents of the folder (B). Files can now be placed in folder B.

Folder A will now appear greyed out to maintainer & contribute role but can still be clicked on. Other roles will not see if unless explicitly given permission to do so. Folder B is technically visible to all but as non-maintainers cannot enter folder A, they will never see folder B (but they will be able to access its contents if given the appropriate URL).

Courtesy Oxford University FAQs


What tools utilize the group functionality? - 2.5

  • Messages – emails can be sent to just one group of people
  • Resources - Only group members can view and access folders
  • Discussion Forums - only group members know of it's existance
  • Forums – give permissions based on group enrollment
  • Announcements - set to display to particular group members
  • Calendar – events can be displayed to particular group members
  • Assignments
  • Tests & Quizzes
  • Roster - List by group membership
  • Gradebook - Filter results by group

How can I setup Group (Student) Collaboration

There are several tools available that allow students to collaborate, they differ in permissions (can students outside the group see group work?) and in how information is exchanged (files, text, etc.).  All of these options rely on first creating groups within your course.


Collaboration folders can be created anywhere within the Resources area. 

1. if you would like only a specific group to have access to a specific folder:

  • Go to the folder in the Resources area you would like to limit
  • Under the Actions drop down, choose Edit Details
  • Select "Display this folder and its contents to selected groups only." and put checkboxes next to the group that should have access
  • Select the Update Button

2. if you would like a specific group (or all students - ignore step 1 above) to be able to contribute to/edit content in a folder:

  • Go to the folder in the Resources area you would like to limit
  • Under the Actions drop down, choose Edit Folder Permissions
  • Give desired permissions by using the checkboxes in the Students column (own - only documents that student has posted, any - any document in that folder)

Discussion Forums / Forums

Discussion Forums and Forums can be limited to specific groups.  

When creating or editing the Discussion Forum select "Allow Access to Selected Groups" and check the groups who should have access. 

For Forums when creating or change Forum Settings select the group or role and choose a permissions template (Author, Contributor, None, ...) or create custom settings.

  • Changing permissions applies to the role or group currently highlighted
  • Permissions are additive so if a user is in a role and a group they will get the least restrictive (i.e. for group forums increase group permissions and reduce student permission)

Also see What's the difference between Discussion Forums and Forums?


The Sakai Wiki tool is wide open to everyone and does not utilize groups, but is a great collaboration mechanism. 

  • Users can not store/share files within the wiki but can provide links to external files. 
  • The wiki or page(s) within the wiki can not be limited for contribution and viewing for specific students and groups.

Tests & Quizzes

How do I copy a question pool for another instructor to use? - 2.6

Question pools are tied to the user. Within a course site an instructor can "share" a pool with another instructor which allows both users access to that pool. To copy the pool for another instructor for use in another course site you will need to export the pool, send the resultant .xml file to the other user and they can then import that into their pools. To export a pool:

  1. Create a new assessment with a desired title (not quick create)
  2. Add a Question of type "Copy from Question Pool"
  3. Select the question pool from which you would like to add questions
  4. Select the questions you would like to export by checking Copy next to each question
  5. Select the Copy button at the bottom of the page
  6. Refresh the tool or return to the list of Assessments
  7. Export the assessment you just created in QTI format and download the file
  8. If the file opens in a browser window, select Save Page as to save the file to your desired location
  9. Email that file to the other instructor so they can import it as a pool

Assessment type settings? - 2.6

  • Assessment Type Information: information on the assessment template. This can only be edited by editing the template.
  • Assessment Introduction: specify assessment title, author(s), and introductory information.
  • Delivery Dates: set dates for when the assessment will be active. Assessments submitted after the Due Date, if allowed, will be marked as late. After the Retract Date passes, the assessment will no longer be viewable to site participants. If a student has saved some work on an assessment but did not submit it, their work will automatically be submitted once the Retract Date has passed.
  • Assessment Released To: allow anyone in the world to take your assessment anonymously (when provided with the assessment URL), restrict access to only site participants, or restrict access to specific groups within your site (Note: this functionality will work only if you have set up groups in Site Info > Manage Groups).
  • High Security: security features for your assessment. Allow only specified IP Addresses access to your assessment, or create a username and password which participants must provide in order to access the assessment.
  • Timed Assessment: restrict the amount of time a user can spend on an assessment. The assessment will automatically submit when the alloted time expires.
  • Assessment Organization: change the navigation, layout, and numbering convention of your assessment. Note: Linear access will submit when the participant answers the last question or when the time runs out, whichever comes first. Random access will allow the participant to go back and recheck work as much as desired until the time runs out.
  • Submissions: control the number of times an assessment can be submitted as well as the submission of late assessments.
  • Submission Message: enter a message and the URL participants will see upon submitting their assessment. (This is optional.)
  • Feedback: set the type of feedback for assessment questions and the time (if applicable) participants will be able to see the feedback. Disallowing participant access to feedback can be useful if feedback will be used for grading purposes (for example, for TA reference when grading). Note: if Immediate Feedback is selected, participants will be able to see the feedback as they are answering the questions, before they submit their final answers. Immediate Feedback can be useful for practice questions/quizzes, so participants can get hints for the questions as they are going along. Allowing participants to see correct answers immediately in a graded assessment is not recommended, as this allows them to change their answers before submission.* Grading: specify information available for graders and whether or not the assessment appears in Sakai' Gradebook.
  • Graphics: give your assessment a background color or background image. Click to choose a background color from a palette. Enter the URL for your image for a background image.
  • Metadata: enter metadata for your assessment and allow the recording of metadata for questions.

If you are using a template, some of your settings have default values already, and some you may not be able to edit. If you did not specify a template when creating your assessment, all of the settings are available to be changed. Even if you are using a template, it is a good idea to double check your settings and be sure everything is correct.

Modifying Published Assessments - 2.6

When publishing an assessment, a copy is created and listed under "Published Assessments". Once an assessment is published, you can make changes to the published copy only to the following settings:

  • Under "Assessment Introduction": Title, Creator, Author(s), Description/Intro, and Attachments
  • Under "Delivery Dates": Available Date, Due Date, and Retract Date
  • Under "Assessment Organization": Navigation and Numbering
  • Under "Submissions": Number of Submissions Allowed and Late Handling
  • Under "Feedback": Feedback Authoring, Feedback Delivery, and Feedback Components Students Can See
  • Under "Grading": Students' Identities and Gradebook Options

Reviewing Assessment Type Settings - 2.6

To review assessment type settings from Sakai:

  • From your Sakai course, go into the Test and Quizzes tool
  • Choose Assessment Types from the sub-menu
  • Select the Assessment Type you would like to review
  • Select the Open link to display all assessment settings for that type

How can I put one or more extra credit questions in a test? - 2.6

To have an extra credit question(s) in an assessment:

  • When setting up the assessment, sent the points possible for the extra credit question(s) to be 0.
  • After students have taken the assessment you will need to go back into each student's completed assessment and assign a point value to the question based on their response. i.e. a student with the correct answer would receive 3 out of 0 points.  To do this:
    • Grade the assessment
    • Select the student's name
    • Input desired points into the extra credit question(s)
    • Select the Update button to save your changes

A student responded to my essay question but part of the response is missing? - 2.6

This issue has been resolved in version 2.8.4 and should no longer be an issue.

The Essay question response box (limited to 4000 characters) removes any HTML codes that are input by the student taking the assessment.  Text with angled brackets "<" and ">" encompassing text will be removed with no option of recovery.

  • Student response:  P < 28 which is not the same as 36 > Q therefore your assumption is not correct.
  • Instructor sees: P Q therefore your assumption is not correct.

Multiple Choice Question Scoring? - 2.6

Multiple choice questions with multiple answers gives partial credit, and takes credit away for errors made.

e.g. if A and B are the correct answers these would be the outcomes

  • Select A only (or B only):  50%
  • Select A, B, C: 50% (two correct but one wrong)
  • Select A, C, D: 0%
  • Select A, B, C, D: 0%

Printing an Assessment as an Instructor - 2.7

When Editing an assessment where all of the questions are displayed on a single page you can print that assessment by using the Print link toward the top of the page.

Printing a student's assessment submission - 2.7

  1. In your course site, go to the Tests & Quizzes tool
  2. in any published assessment, select the Scores dropdown to view a list of student's names
  3. Right-mouse click on one of the student's names and select "open in new Tab" or similar
  4. A new browser tab should open titled "Authoring Front Door" which displays all assessments without the Sakai top header and left side navigation.
  5. In the new tab, navigate back to the desired student's submission by using the Scores option in the drop-down and left mouse clicking on the student's name
  6. You should now see the student's submission without the Sakai top header or left side navigation.  Printing this page should give you a printout of the full submission.

Putting "code" into a fill in the blank question type - 2.7

Issue - There is a computer science teacher that wants to create a "Fill in the Blank" question in an assessment with "curly brackets" ({ }) in the question or answer but he wants that the text inside curly brackets is not used by the assessment as the solution.

Workaround - You can create the question using the HTML editor + HTML Source...introduce the symbols { } using the equivalent html code,

Example: &#123; Some text inside brackets }

Save without changing back to html mode and you will get your result. If you edit the question you will lose the trick and need to edit the question again.

How does the "Mark for Review" feature work in assessments - 2.7

If the Mark for Review feature is enabled in an assessment students taking the assessment can mark specific questions for review and then will see which questions they have marked for view by viewing the Table of Contents.  The marked questions will not be displayed before submitting the assessment.  Students must select an answer before checking the Mark for Review box.  More information on this feature.

How do I export a single assessment from one course to another? - 2.8

You can duplicate ALL assessments by using the Import from Site feature in the Site Editor area of the course you want to import into.  But to export and import just one assessment:

  • Go into the Tests & Quizzes area in the course you want to copy the assessment from
  • Use the drop down next to the Pending assessment you want to copy, this will not work for Published assessments.
  • Select the Export option
  • Typically choose QTI format and select the Export button.  use the Content Packaging if you have images and/or files which need to go along with the assessment. 
  • Another window will open and choose the Download button
  • Once the small window refreshes, you should see the assessment xml code in the window
  • In your browser's toolbar, choose File > Save File As (or Save Page as)
  • Save the page as exportAssessment.xml (you have the option to select a different name at this point) to somewhere on your local computer
  • Go into the Tests & Quizzes area of the site you want to copy the assessment into
  • In the top area, choose the Import option
  • Use the Browse button to find the exportAssessment.xml and ensure the "Export from this (or other Sakai) system" is selected
  • Select the Import button
  • Once the page is refreshed, the assessment should appear on the list of Pending assessments.

How do I allow a student to re-take an assessment - 2.9?

To allow a student to re-take an assessment:

  • Go into your Course site's Tests & Quizzes area
  • Go into the Published Copies Tab
  • To the left of the assessment you would like the student to re-take, use the drop-down and select Scores
  • In the secondary navigation select the Submission Status
  • Select the Allow Retake? link next to the student you would like to allow to retake the assessment

This process clears any prevously submitted information, the student starts from scratch.

This link is only available if the student has used up all of their submissions, i.e. it will not appear for an assessment with unlimited submissions


Editing Assignments after Due Date has passed - 2.6

Once an assignment due date has passed an instructor can not successfully edit the Due Date or Accept Until Date. If this is attempted it will seem as if the date has been changed but students will not be able to submit or re-submit the assignment. To accept additional submissions Instructors can Duplicate the assignment, change the associated dates and Post.

Assignment Availability Logic - 2.8

  • Available Date - The date/time students can begin accessing the assignment.
  • Due Date - The date/time the students see the assignment as due.
  • Available Until (date) - The date/time after which the students can not access the assignment.  Assignments submitted between the Due Date and Available Until (date) will have display "Late" text on the submission.

If the Allow Resubmission option is checked, the date specified should be after the Available until date.  

Rich Text Editor

How Can I Display Math Equations in My Course - 2.6

Method 1 - For simple math symbols

There are many special characters available with the Rich Text Editor including Superscript and Subscript.  Additionally any HTML Entities can be utilized by inputting ASCII code into the Source view of the Rich Text Editor.

Method 2 - For inserting Latex (simpler setup, does not work in Test & Quizzes)

If the desired equation can not be created with html, Version 2.6.2 of Sakai includes a component called jsMath in the Wkik which takes TeX (math codes) and displays it as equations.  CED3 has developed javascript which can easily be included in any area using the Rich Text Editor so TeX is displayed as formulas.  To enable a Rich Text Editor area to convert TeX to formulas:

  • Within the Rich Text Editor select the Source button to display the HTML code behind the source
  • Copy and paste the following code before all code:
<script type="text/javascript"  id="templateScript"src=""></script>
  • Select the Source button again to display the resultant content
  • Copy and paste from MathType or input your TeX equations surrounded by $$ (i.e. $$ y^2  = (mx + b)^2 $$)
  • Equations will not be displayed until you save your changes and view your content through a non-editing display
  • Feel free to modify your TeX at any time

Additional information about the CED3 script can be found on the CED3 Project Site

Warning - There are times when inserting a TeX equation has removed all content after that point in the document/page when saving, it's advisable to have an alternate copy of content before trying to insert equations. 

Warning - Method 2 does not work in the Tests & Quizes area

Method 3 - For complex Math (more complex setup, works everywhere, relies on external server)

  • Create the LaTex using Mathtype or by hand. Tutorial on creating Latex
  • Using the Sakai editor, click the Insert/Edit Image icon.
  • Paste the following into the URL textbox:
  • Copy and Paste your LaTex at the end of the URL. If your latex has dollar signs around it, remove the dollar signs.
  • Example

Warning - Method 3 does not work for Numeric Response or Fill in the Blank question type

In Assessments (Tests & Quizzes)

To use complex math equations in a site's Assessments, see the pdf for instructions.

Using Mathtype to generate TeX

Mathtype can generate TeX from equations using copy/paste by setting the Preferences > Translators to paste as "TeX -- Plain TeX"


Why is there extra codes in my text? - 2.8

When pasting text from MS Word, a Web Browser or another editor, it's highly recommended to use the Paste as Text or Paste as Word icon in the Rich Text Editor toolbar to transfer the text only and not any html codes.

New Paragraph vs. line break - 2.8

When editing content in the rich text editor:

  • Enter key = new paragraph (html:</p> <p>)
  • Shift-Enter = new line (html:<br>)

I have found this trick to work in various other html editing tools, including the this wiki.

Chat Room

How can I disable chats from being published on the home page - 2.6

Each chat room has Options that control how much chat message history is displayed and whether students can change that amount. 
If set to Recent Chat History is set to "Show no message history" and the "Allow chat participants to change the chat display settings for their own chat window" is unchecked, chat items will not appear.  If a person leaves the chat room, all previous chat items will not be visible.
All chat item are being retained and the instructor can re-enable visibility at any time.

Forums/Discussion Forums

What's the difference between Discussion Forums and Forums? - 2.6

Discussion Forums have better Gradebook integration but has fewer permission settings.  Discussion Forums can be created so only specified group(s) can access.
Forums has more permissions options based on groups and roles.  Permissions are additive so a user will gain permissions from their group and role.

Why are HTML codes showing up when posting to the Discussion Forums? - 2.7

We have improved the Discussion Forums to display all common html codes so the instructions below have been depreciated.  Older posts may need to be edited and re-saved to reflect the changes.

Although the Discussion Forums topics and postings use the Rich Text Editor, only specific html codes will be utilized in the formatting while others will be displayed as input.  Unfortunately when previewing a post, these limitations do not apply, it must be posted to notice the issue. 

Formatting which should be successful

Formatting which will probably result in exposed .html code

  • Bold (<b>)
  • Underline (<u>)
  • Italics (<i>)
  • Lists (bulleted and numbered) (<ul>, <ol>, <li>)
  • Hard returns (<br>)
  • Paragraphs (<p>)
  • Links (<a href="">)
  • Most ascii characters (¾
  • Modified text color (<font>, <span>, <div>)
  • Modified text background colors (<span>, <div>)
  • Modified text size and styles (<span>, <div>)
  • Tables (<tr>, <td>)
  • Headings (<h1>, <h2>...)
  • Superscript/Subscript (<sup>, <sub>)
  • Aligning text (<center>, <span>)
  • Indented text (<blockquote>)


Students can edit their own posts at any time by using the Edit button toward the top right corner of the topic/post and Instructors can edit or delete any student's topic/posts by using the edit button or the X button.

Also, if you are copy/pasting from MS Word, please see the Rich Text Area suggestion.


What's the difference between a course site and a project site? - 2.6

Course sites are quarter specific.  The site can be accessed outside of the quarter but they retain the quarter designation.

Project sites are ongoing (not designated by a specific quarter) but do not have following tools available:

  • Assignments
  • Gradebook
  • Syllabus

Checking your course site for links which students can not access - 2.7

CED3 has developed a link checker which will check links within your course site and let you know if they are relative or absolute link.  Absolute links in a course site will continue to point to the original course site when the course is copied.
The link checker can be run by:

We have created an online information page about Absolute vs. Relative Links for your use.

How do I Hide older courses to which I no longer want access? - 2.6

You can hide old courses by:

  1. Go to My Workspace > Preferences
  2. Highlight desired course(s) you would like to hide
  3. Select the right arrow to move them to the My Hidden Sites box

Hidden sites will not appear to you in Quicklinks nor under My Active Sites. The only way to access them again is to move them from My Hidden Sites back to My Active Sites.

How do I add a left navigation menu item which displays a file in my Resources area?

  1. Get the URL for the file you would like to display
    1. Go to your site's Resources area
    2. To the right of the file you would like to display, choose Actions > Edit Details
    3. Toward the bottom of the page Copy the Web Address (URL) for that file to your computer's clipboard
    4. Select the Update button if you have made changes, the Cancel button if you have not
  2. Go to Site Editor > Edit Tools
  3. Place a check in the box next to the Web Content Tool toward the bottom of the page
  4. Select the Continue button
  5. In the Title field input your desired title for the new left navigation item
  6. In the Source field remove the existing http:// and paste your copied text
  7. Select the Continue button
  8. On the next page select the Finish button

Your newly created item should now be available, second from the bottom of your left navigation just above Help.

You can re-arrange your left navigation items by going to Site Editor > Page Order.


Additional Resources for Wiki formatting

Two documents are available for from another school which detail how to apply advanced formatting to your wiki pages.  All of this formatting is done through the Wiki Markup area of your pages.

Detailed Wiki formatting (html) and a more instructional guide (.pdf) to using the Sakai Wiki


How to display a Sakai Poll in the same course's HTML page - 2.7

  • Create a poll in that site's Polls tool
  • Get the Poll number by hovering over the Poll URL and look at the bottom of your browser to view the link's URL. The poll number will be following the "id="
  • Put this at the top of the web page in the Source area:
<script type="text/javascript" id="templateScript"src=""></script>

Additional information about the .js file referenced is available at

  • Also in the Source area, put the paragraph below where you want the poll to go replacing the XXX in this example with your poll number:
<div style="width: 29%; margin-right: 0px" class="calloutBox floatR">
<h2 style="padding-bottom: 4px; background-color: rgb(57,129,191); padding-left: 4px; padding-right: 4px; color: rgb(255,255,255); padding-top: 4px">Poll</h2>
<div id="pollXXX" class="poll">poll loading</div>

Feel free to modify the styles listed above to match your web page.

Media (Audio and Video)

Embedding Videos in a Web Content Area

Videos available on the Internet can be embedded into any web content area by using their provided Embed codes.  When editing a web content area, go to the Source of the content and paste the supplied embed code where you would like the video to appear.

If the video is in your or another course site, if the video is in another Course, Project or My Workspace site, make sure the students have access to that video by making it public or enrolling the students into that other site (not available for My Workspace) and follow the directions on the CED3 Video Embed Script page.

Additional Tools

Developed at NPS

CED3 has developed some additional tools which can be added by instructors adding a Web Content item from Site Editor > Edit Tools and specifying a title and the appropriate URL as specified on the CED3 Apps page.


Profile Picture

Every DL student should submit an electronic version of a passport-style color photograph taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance. That means that the photograph should be taken in full-face view directly facing the camera without a hat or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline. Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless required for medical reasons. Photographs should be taken in normal street attire, or in uniform.

Your photo can not be larger than 2MB as a .jpg, .png or .gif file type and should be submitted within the first week of class.

You may take such a photo yourself or, for around $10 you can have a passport photo taken at Costco, CVS, Walgreens, Kinkos, UPS, or the Post Office. These businesses will provide you with a printed photo. You would then need to scan and upload that photo to Sakai.

If you have a webcam and Flash installed on your computer, you can go here: and take your photo.

To upload your photo

  1. Go to
  2. Login with your NPS username and password
  3. Click on “Profile” on the left navigation
  4. Click on “Edit my profile”
  5. Scroll down to the Picture area and browse for your photo
  6. Click on “Upload New Picture”
  7. Click Save
    Please note: Your photo will remain with your Sakai profile as long as you’re enrolled at NPS.
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