Blog

We get this question almost every day for a few weeks before and after the start of a new quarter: "I'm scheduled to take a course but I can't find it in Sakai. How do I find it?" Here is what you do, whether you're a professor or a student...

  1. Look in the Sites block - If you know you've been added to a course, but it's not in your top favorites menu, it could be hiding in your "All Sites" bin. Click on the Sites block, find the course, and click on the star to add it to your favorites. If you don't find it there, go to step 2...

2. Your course may be unpublished - If you're a student in a course, or a participant in a project site, it may be that the instructor or the organizer hasn't published the course yet. This happens frequently in the days preceding the actual start of class. If your professor has let you know that the course is available and you still can't see it, let us know. 

3. Do you have two Sakai accounts? Many people - students, instructors, and guests - are added to sites with their private email address by well-meaning people when that's not the best idea. Did you get an email to your personal email with a notice that you've been added to a course? This happens very frequently. 

4. Contact us here - If none of the above apply, please contact us here at x2020 or clehelp@nps.edu, or visit the office in Ingersoll 267 and we can help you out!



Professors, did you know that you have MAGICAL POWERS? You have complete control over what tools and links appear in your left menu, AND in what order! 

To affect this amazing control over your world, start in Site Info. Make sure that you're enrolled as Instructor in courses or Organizer in project sites you want to look at. 


Manage Tools

Manage tools let you add any tools that you need for your course. 

To add Tools:

Go to Manage Tools, then check the tools you want to  use. 

Click Continue, then Finish. Your new menu item will be on the bottom of the menu.

Tool Descriptions





Tool Order

Tool order lets you reorder your menu, delete tools you don't need, hide tools from students, and rename your tools.

To Delete Tools

Click the control gear, then choose "Delete this Tool"

To Rename Tools

Click on the control gear, click on "Edit Tool Title."

 

Click the green check mark, then click on Save to save. 

To Reorder Tools

Find the three horizontal lines to the left of the tool row that you want to move, and drag-and-drop it into the desired order. 

If you are instructor using Zoom and Sakai, you have a number of choices for how to give your students access to the lecture recordings.

  1. Store in the Zoom Cloud - As of right now, we have enough room for you to automatically save your Zoom meetings to the Zoom cloud, and if you create your session from within Sakai, your students will be able to access them from the Zoom tool in the menu. To save your recordings this way, choose to save "Automatically to the cloud" in your session settings. At the end of the quarter, your lectures will need to be deleted, or downloaded then deleted. You can do that, or we can do it for you!
  2. Store in Sakai - If your recordings are less than 1GB, you can upload them and store them in Resources in Sakai. This works best for infrequent storage since you'll run out of room quickly.
  3. Store them in nps.box.com or OneDrive - Both of these are good solutions. As NPS network account holders, you are entitled to a huge amount of space in both of these locations, so space or deletion will never be an issue. The only trick is that you'll need to get a sharing link to give to your students so that they can access them there. Many teachers who use this method get the sharing link and send it in an announcement to the students. 

If you want to know more about all of this, please contact us at 831-656-2020!

Whether you're a new student or faculty or you've been here for a while, Welcome! Here are some reminders about Sakai and how to get help, should you need it. 

  • The Sakai helpdesk is available from 0700-1700 weekdays.
  • We are located in Ingersoll Hall on the 2nd deck, room 267. Please feel free to stop by and say hello!
  • You can also call us at 831-656-2020 for help or recommendations.
  • We are a team of tech-minded, student-focused instructional designers, and have been working with Sakai for over 10 years now.
  • You can email us at clehelp@nps.edu with any problems or issues. This email will make a ticket which we will generally take care of the same day. 
  • If you want to email us personally, we are 
  • Check out our Wiki pages for more information than you could ever possibly want or need!

If you're new to Sakai, Zoom, or Collaborate, or new to distance learning, please talk to the CLE team. We can get you up to speed so that you can be an effective and efficient instructor or student. We can work with you over the phone, in a web conference tool, or in person!

Fifteen Minute Session Samples

Fifteen minute Session samples - the basics of web conferencing, or one Sakai tool, or the basics of the student experience in Sakai.

Choose From:

  1. Sakai start-up
    1. Navigation and menus
    2. Tool basics
    3. How to get help
  2. Sakai Tools
    1. An in-depth look at how to use one of the following:
      1. assignments
      2. Tests and Quizzes
      3. Forums
      4. Resources
  3. Zoom Start-Up
    1. Schedule and/or Joining a session
    2. Sharing
    3. Mic and Camera settings
  4. Collaborate Start-up
    1. Interface navigation
    2. sharing
    3. Mic and Camera settings
Thirty Minute Session Examples

Thirty Minute Sessions - Expert level web conferencing, or get you up to speed on the basics of instruction in Sakai

Choose From

  1. Zoom and Collaborate Start-up
  2. Zoom or Collaborate In-Depth
  3. Sakai Start up and Tools
Hour-long Sessions

Hour long Sessions - the basics of distance instruction in Sakai, plus effective use of web conferencing tools in the online classroom.

Choose From

  1. In-depth web conferencing use in synchronous and asynchronous instruction, integrated into your Sakai course
  2. In-depth use of Sakai for instruction
Two-Hour Long Sessions

Two hour long Sessions - 

  1. knowledge and practice in Sakai and web conferencing!
    1. In Depth look at web conferencing software
      1. Zoom
      2. Collaborate
    2. In Depth look at Sakai for instruction
      1. Navigation
      2. Profile
      3. Preferences
      4. Student View
      5. All Tools
      6. Troubleshooting

Please give us a call at 831-656-2020 to make an appointment!

I'm in a fun position where I get to talk to both students and faculty regularly, and I'm starting to hear what students are saying about Zoom. Most really like it and are happy, but I have heard one thing that the students strongly suggest: Turn off the sound that Zoom plays when someone joins the session! I think most instructors don't realize that the students in their lectures can hear the chime too, or maybe they don't realize it can be really disruptive.

If you have this turned on, you can turn it off to limit the disruption it can cause in your lecture. Here are your steps:

  1. Go to zoom. us and log in with your NPS Zoom account
  2. Go to Settings, and stay in the Meeting tab     

      3. Scroll down to "Play sound when participants join or leave" and make sure that "Heard by host only" is selected.

      4. Your selection will save automatically.

DON'T UPGRADE TO CATALINA UNTIL YOU READ THIS!

We just got confirmation from Blackboard that upgrading to Catalina will likely prevent your camera from working in Collaborate. We still don't know how many Catalina users this affects. This means that if you're affected, your camera that shows your image to your participants or your classmates and professor won't work, but you can still participate in your lecture. For more information, please contact us here at the Sakai helpdesk, 831-656-2020 or go here for more information from Blackboard. 

Instructors, did you know you can monitor and evaluate your course activity with the Statistics tool? From the time that the tool is installed, you can find out who has visited and what they've done. Please Note: You will only see the results of your course from the time that the tool is added to your course **

Overview: Will show you how many site participants were in the site and on what date, along with what tool, resource, or lesson pages were visited, and by exactly whom. 

Reports: This area has seven predefined and editable reports outlining various user activity in the course.

Preferences: Lets you adjust your tool activity selection and chart parameters for printing and viewing. 

One of my frequently asked questions related to the statistics tool, is "how can I see if one of my students has been in the site yet, and what have they done?" This can be done with a specialized report that you can create. If you're interested, here are your instructions:

  1. In the Statistics tool, go to "Reports."
  2. Under "My Reports" click on "Add."
  3. (Optional) Give the report a title if you intend on saving
  4. Leave "Activity" at the default "Visits." If you want to see what tools a participant is accessing, choose "Events."
  5. Choose your time period; All, Last 7 days, Last 30 days, Last 365 days, or custom, which allows you to choose a day (Specific hours aren't available).
  6. Under "Users" choose All, or Custom, which allows you to choose a particular individual.
  7. "How" will show you the results by the User, Tool, or Date you specify.
  8. Choose your prefered chart format and click on "Generate Report."


**If you would like to see detailed list of user events in a course from before the tool has been added to your course, please contact us at 831-656-2020. We have access to much more detailed data that we can give you. 


My dear friend and colleague, Ana Eckhart, (Faculty Associate for Instructional Design & Technology for GSDM) created a really good four-minute introduction to the Lessons tool in Sakai. If you've been putting off looking into Lessons and are curious, please watch!

If you want to know more about how use and incorporate the Lessons tool in your Sakai course, please let me know! As always you can contact me at acfertig@nps.edu or 831-656-2176.

April 



Anyone can help me test, but this is particularly important for DL students. If you have about 10 minutes to spare at work, we are testing a new(ish) Blackboard web conference tool called "Collaborate Ultra."

If you want to help, you have two choices: Please follow this link and just see if you can get in, AND/OR contact the CLE helpdesk to also test your audio and complete viewing capability. We are at 831-656-2020 or clehelp@nps.edu

When you're done, please fill out our really short survey by clicking here!

Here is more information about Ultra, if you want: Collaborate Ultra

If one browser doesn't work for you, please try another if you can! Please note that Internet Explorer 11 is not supported by Collaborate Ultra.


This training, led by Wilma Hodges, Ed.D. Director of Training & eLearning Initiatives at Longsight, Inc, will cover tips and tricks in Rubrics, Assignments, Tests & Quizzes, Gradebook, and Lessons.

When: OCT 17, 11:30-1:00 pm PST

Where: online via Zoom - https://zoom.us/j/883622272

Who: ALL INSTRUCTORS ARE WELCOME     

If you are new to Sakai or one of my power users, please attend! I personally guarantee that you’ll learn something valuable!

Please go here for the recording of the training.

Agenda:

Time

Topic

11:30-11:40

Introductions, goals, and expectations

11:40-11:55

Quick Refresher on Basic Tools

●      Announcements, Messages, Calendar, Forums

11:55-12:10

Rubrics

●      Creating/editing/sharing rubrics

●      Attaching to items

●      Grading with rubrics

12:10-12:20

Assignments

●      Group/section selection

●      Email reminder

●      Group assignments

●      Peer review assignments

12:20-12:30

Tests & Quizzes

●      Landing page redesign

●      Group/section selection

●      Creating exceptions

●      Question pools

12:30-12:40

Gradebook

●      New empty state and tooltips

●      Navigating gradebook, show/hide/reorder items

●      Grade statistics

●      Create and add another

●      Exclude items by student

12:40-12:50

Lessons

●      Section and column layout options

●      Adding, editing, and reordering items

●      Page/lesson design considerations

●      Conditional release

●      Checklist options

●      Lessons as course landing page

12:50-1:00

Q&A

If you've talked to me about the trials and tribulations of trying to connect to a web conferencing program from a Military network, you've probably heard me say that it's a moving target. By that I mean that what works to connect is constantly changing. Unfortunately, Zoom is no different in that respect. What worked when we first piloted the program has changed a couple of times, so here is the update, as of 10/2020.

  1. If you can get permission to download the client version of Zoom, that is the best idea. What I mean by that is that if you can download, install, AND run the program from your operating system, you will be able to benefit from the full functionality of the program. You'll be able to use your computer's on-board sound system for speaking and listening, you'll be able to see resize the sharing area, participate in breakout rooms, and see the video of your classmates, should they reveal their cameras. 
  2. Chrome is the next best idea, but ONLY if you can see what your professor is sharing on his screen. The Chrome browser has the most "client-like" interface of the all of the Zoom browser version, but most of the students I've talked to who can't download the client version of Zoom, also are prevented from seeing what is being shared. If you want to test this, please call us. It takes literally three minutes. 
  3. Next are Firefox and Edge.  A few months ago, Edge didn't work with Zoom on Military networks, but Firefox did. That is quickly being reversed. I'm finding more and more students who call have already tried Firefox and it's blocked in some way, but Edge works. The problem with Edge is that you can only share your screen if you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, but not home. So if you find that Edge works at work, it most likely won't work at home. However, if you're using Zoom at home, you can run the client version, so there!
  4. Call us to test! If you want to check if your chosen browser will work to let you view your professor's shared document, please call us at 831-656-2020.

If this is your first quarter as a student or faculty we wish you all the best! Some good things to remember as you make your way around the Sakai portal:

  1. If you can’t find your course, check in the “Sites” block in the upper right corner. You can adjust your favorites there as well.
  2. Faculty: Don’t forget to update the Overview and publish your course for student view!
  3. Check the Overview in your Home area for important CLE updates and messages.
  4. Check for FAQs and tutorials in wiki.nps.edu and even more resources in https://my.nps.edu/group/mynps/
  5. We aren't updated on individual adds and drops, so let us know if you need to be added to a course, or if you have new students that aren't on your roster.
  6. Don't forget the myriad of resources at your disposal for both students and faculty. We are here to help you succeed! 

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; https://nps.account.box.com, or https://onedrive.live.com

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 clehelp@nps.edu.

IMPORTANT REMINDER ABOUT TAKING TESTS IN SAKAI

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: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-clear-cache-2617980