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

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 -


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.





Introductions, goals, and expectations


Quick Refresher on Basic Tools

●      Announcements, Messages, Calendar, Forums



●      Creating/editing/sharing rubrics

●      Attaching to items

●      Grading with rubrics



●      Group/section selection

●      Email reminder

●      Group assignments

●      Peer review assignments


Tests & Quizzes

●      Landing page redesign

●      Group/section selection

●      Creating exceptions

●      Question pools



●      New empty state and tooltips

●      Navigating gradebook, show/hide/reorder items

●      Grade statistics

●      Create and add another

●      Exclude items by student



●      Section and column layout options

●      Adding, editing, and reordering items

●      Page/lesson design considerations

●      Conditional release

●      Checklist options

●      Lessons as course landing page



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 and even more resources in
  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;, 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!

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                                                                                                                     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!
  9. For more information, you can go to

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

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

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 ""
  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?

We've had a few reports since last week from instructors who are having trouble uploading files into the Resources of their courses. Usually this is happening at home, but in a couple of cases, this has been on campus, and it seems to have nothing to do with the size or type of file.

If you are having trouble, please let us know! It's not the best solution, but we can upload your files for you if you send them to us, or if you give us a link to the files in OneDrive or Box. We are sending information to Longsight as we get it, so we need the following, if possible:

  1. The time(s) of the upload failure
  2. The course where you were trying to upload
  3. Were you on or off campus?

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 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 and even more resources in
  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! 

This is a short and quiet week, so I'm just going to wish you a happy holiday and remind you that if you need a course created for SU19, please send us an email to, or use the form located here: