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.


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

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

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:

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:

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.

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. 

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

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:

Reviewing Assessment Type Settings - 2.6

To review assessment type settings from Sakai:

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:

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

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:

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

To allow a student to re-take an 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

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:

<script type="text/javascript"  id="templateScript"src=""></script>

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)

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:

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:

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

<script type="text/javascript" id="templateScript"src=""></script>

Additional information about the .js file referenced is available at

<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.