Nov 29, 2018

Five End-of-Semester Gradebook Steps (for New and Classic Sakai Gradebooks)

When it's end-of-semester grading time, where do you start?

After you've graded your student's last discussion postings, assignments, projects, papers, and/or tests, check out these five important Sakai grading tips..(if you need help with other grading tasks, see Resources below)

New Gradebook Tips

two people writing on papers between two laptops
Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash
  1. What are your course letter grade/point values? At the top of the new Gradebook, click the Settings tab, then the Grading Schema link.
    • You can change your Grade Type (click on the drop-down) and/or 
    • You can change your Grade Point minimum's (our default grade is a "Letter Grades", based on a 10 point scale). 
    • After updates, click Save Changes.

  2. Are all the gradebook items part of your student course grade? In the new Gradebook (on the Grades tab), to the right of the Course Grade column, view each Gradebook item's "title box". If it contains a crossed out calculator in the lower left corner of the "title box", the grade is NOT included in the Gradebook.
    • If you need to make a change, click in the lower right corner of the Gradebook item "title box" on the drop down arrow, then click Edit Item Details
    Below a gradebook item title, an arrow points to a crossed out calculator; in the right corner, an arrow points to the edit drop-down arrow
    • After making updates (such as checking beside "Release Item to students?" and "Include item in course grade calculations?", click Save Changes.

  3. What if you missed grading an item (such as assignments or tests not submitted by students)?
    The Gradebook *does not include* ungraded gradebook items in the final course grade. Students could get a higher course grade: 
    • Be careful: Only do this after finishing ALL of your grading!
    • In the Gradebook, in the Course Grade "title box", click on the drop down arrow in the right corner, click on Set Zero Score for Empty cells. 
    • In Gradebook, under Course Grade column, click in right corner and select zero score for empty cells
    • Your students grades will be recalculated.
  4. What if you need to override a student's course grade (their letter grade)? 
    • In the Gradebook, beside a student's name, click on the Course Grade drop down arrow.
    • Click Course Grade Override
    • Beside student name, click under Course Grade, on drop-down arrow, select Course Grade Override
    • Enter the student's new letter grade in the Grade Override box
    • Click Save Course Grade Override. FYI:If your student's grade was 89.77, and you updated the B to an A letter grade, the number grade will now display as 90.
  5. How do you release course grades to students? 
  6. At the top of the Gradebook, click Settings, then Grade Release Rules.
    • Click the check box beside Display final course grade to students
    • Click beside Letter Grade and/or Percentage (unless using Points). 
    • Click check box beside Display Final course grade, also can check beside letter grade and percentage
    • Click Save Changes

Need more new Gradebook details (and how to work with Points)? 

Nov 26, 2018

Sakai Virtual Conference 2018 Highlights/Recordings

Sakai Virtual Conference 2018 logo-apereo logo/sakaiger on a desk table with fists bumping

If you missed the fifth annual online Sakai Virtual Conference,  (it focuses on teaching with Sakai, learning, sharing, best practices, and community building), never fear! 

The Sakai Virtual Conference playlist of  the 2018 conference sessions are available now, on the Sakai YouTube channel.  

What were the sessions about?

There are many excellent presentations to listen to, but if you want to know what some of the popular "themes" were, here's some of the popular topics:
  • Innovative/Effective Practices: Accessibility status, Online Engagement, Community Update  
  • Empowering Pedagogy : ePortfolios, Gaming, Community of Inquiry, Libraries, Faculty relationships  
  • Technical: ElasticSearch, Student course progress, OAuth2.0, LTI 1.3
  • Tools: Site builder project, Sakai Rubrics, What's new in Sakai 19, Copying courses  
  • Birds of a Feather/Lightning talks: Mapping the Road Ahead for Sakai, Forums Modernization, the New Gradebook, Lessons 2.0, Usability, EvalSys

What did participants say they liked best about the conference?

Four men and women holding "talking head" images above their heads

  • "This was my first Sakai Conference and it was really informative and enjoyable"
  • "I got to see a lot of future Sakai features and tools that may make my life easier and improve usability for students and faculty"
  • "To me it did not truly feel like a 'virtual conference'. After a few minutes into the conference, it almost felt like a "real" conference. There were many participants, great subjects, valuable presenters and almost more room for questions as the sessions were properly moderated rather than at a "real" conference."

Who was there? 

sakaiger kitty, with a pirate hat and pirate parrot perched on the side of his hat
  • Over 277 instructional designers, faculty, administrators, developers and technical support folks attended the conference.
  • Attendees and presenters were from 59 institutions and 9 countries from around the world.

Where will the money raised go?

farm-with red and smaller gray barns, crops, windmill, trees, and blue sky/white clouds above

Hope to "see" you next year (the conference is usually held the first week in November).
  • FYI: If you registered early, you also received a mug, t-shirt or poster and a lunch gift card!
two Sakai conference 2018 mugs held up by hands


Sakai Virtual Conference web site
Sakai Project web site

Nov 14, 2018

NC3ADL's Online Together Conference Highlights/Resources

A number of Durham Tech faculty members joined us on November 8, 2018 for a "viewing" of the NC3ADL's Online Together "We Are 58 Strong" Conference at Durham Tech, in the Tech Center, in the Instructional Technologies lab. It was a very interactive online conference with lots of prizes!

On a picture of the state of northcarolina, "Online Together", We Are 58 Strong, plus NC3ADL Nov 8 2018

  • Before the conference we could post a short video using Flipgrid, about what we were excited about in distance learning
  • On the day of the conference we could post images of us "at the online conference" on Padlet. The foreign language department was out in full force at the event, as shown below.
  • Two Durham Tech faculty members won prizes!

Foreign language instructors in the Instructional Tech lab
Foreign Language faculty (Left-Right): Shannon Hahn, Lance Lee, Svetlana Yokum and Lisa Blair

What were the session topics?

Each of the speakers were dynamic, offered examples from their personal online teaching experience, and left time for lots of participant questions and answers.

Session 1 Keynote: Being There For Our Online Students by Dr. Torria Davis

In face-to-face classes we demonstrate support and “being there” through physical gestures and eye contact. How do we demonstrate “being there” for students in our online classrooms? This workshop highlighted several practical ways to demonstrate “being there” for our online students.

Session 2: Networking our Networked Students: Providing Online Learners with a Sense of Place, Community, and Pride by Dr. Abbie Brown

Good online instruction should provide opportunities to broaden one’s personal and professional network similar to those offered on a traditional campus. Dr. Brown’s presentation focuses on teaching strategies and activities that increase online students’ sense of community and social engagement.

Session 3: Tools for Being There For Our Online Students by Dr. Torria Davis

This workshop was a follow up to the keynote with specific technologies for demonstrating “being there” in your online classrooms. At the end of the workshop, you’ll be able to apply specific technologies immediately today, tomorrow, and/or next semester, such as Screencast-O-Matic, YouTube, Edpuzzle, Playposit, VoiceThread, and Live Binders.

Session 4: Are You Available? Social Presence in Online Courses by Allegra Davis Hanna

Attendees will have the opportunity to see live online classes that use various engaging strategies to increase instructor presence, such as webinars, podcasts, videos and images. Technical information, like what equipment and software you’d need to launch similar initiatives will also be provided.

Lots of Durham Tech faculty watching online sessions in the Instructional Tech lab
Online Together (Left-Right): Front: Svetlana Yokum, Lisa Blair, Marisa Sullivan
Back: Janel Thompson, Caroline Sloane, Amy Netzel

Where can you get the session recordings and handouts? 

You can go to the NC3ADL web site, to find links to the speakers' backgrounds, and to find links to the four session recordings and (soon) four session handouts. 

FYI: I highly recommend the handout for the fourth session "Are you Available? Social Presence in Online Classes" by Allegra Davis Hanna. Allegra provides dozens of simple-to-implement ideas you can use to increase your presence in  your online course. And the ideas are effective! 


Tools for Teaching (more info about Screecast-O-Matic, Edpuzzle, YouTube, Voice Thread)

Oct 30, 2018

How to send your Sakai Test scores to the Gradebook

If you want to send Sakai Tests and Quizzes scores automatically to the Gradebook, there's one setting you must select, usually before you publish it or make it available to students. But if you forget, you can still send test scores to the Gradebook, even if students have already taken the test.

After creating your test, before publishing it, go to Tests and Quizzes
  • Click on the Working Copies tab 
  • To the left of the test, click Select Action, click Settings
  • Scroll to and click on the Grading and Feedback drop-down
  • Click the check box near the top "Send assessment score to Gradebook immediately, regardless of options below" 
In Sakai Test and Quizzes, in Settings, Grading and Feedback, select Gradebook checkbox

  • If ready to make your test available to students, click on "Save Settings and Publish", otherwise select "Save".

What if you've already published your test, and/or students have already taken the test, but the scores aren't displayed in the Gradebook? Go to Tests and Quizzes
  • Since the test is published, click on the Published Copies tab
  • To the left of the test, click Select Action, click Settings
  • Scroll to and click on the Grading and Feedback drop-down
  • Click the check box near the top "Send assessment score to Gradebook immediately, regardless of options below" 
  • Click Save. Your test scores will display in the Gradebook. 

Note: If you use Gradebook categories, you'll need to edit the generated Gradebook item; select a category (and make sure your item is visible to students and included in the course grade); and save your changes.

For next semester: If you forgot to send scores to the Gradebook and already published your test, if you want to make sure the settings are updated when you copy your course next semester, remember to update your Working Copies test settings, too.

Instructor Resources

Aug 20, 2018

Sakai 11.x Lessons Issue: Don't worry or how to save tons of time

With the latest upgrade to Sakai 11.x, some annoying issues were fixed, and a  Lessons"feature" was introduced. If you want to look at all of the Sakai 11 issues/tips, go to our Sakai 11 Tips web page (opens in a new window).

What's changed? 

Hiding Lessons subpages works like it did previously:

Lessons subpages are often hidden from students by instructors, and released or made "visible" to students at a specific date and time. For example, the first week of class, you can display the Week 1 subpage to your students, but can hide the Week 2 subpage, Week 3 subpage, etc until a specific date and time in the future.

Once you hide subpages from your students, instructors see a "Not released until" message in red, to the right of the subpage titles/links, such as shown below. (Not sure how to release subpages by date/time? Here's how.) 
  • Week 1
  • Week 2 [Not released until August 20, 2018 at 7:00 AM]
  • Week 3 [Not released until August 27, 2018 at 7:00 AM]
 On August 13, students only see the link to the Week 1 subpage, students do NOT see links to the hidden Week 2 or Week 3 subpages, until their release date and time, August 20 and August 27, 2018.

But what do INSTRUCTORS see in Lessons AFTER the subpage release date?

After subpages are released to students, students and instructors see the newly released subpages; the subpages are available to both instructors and students.  With the latest Sakai 11 update, ONLY INSTRUCTORS still see the "Not released until" message in red, beside released subpages. This is different from what instructors saw previously!

In the example shown below, the instructor logged onto the course site in SEPTEMBER. In Lessons, they had added August release dates/times for two subpages, Week 2 and Week 3 subpages:

  • Week 1
  • Week 2 [Not released until August 20, 2018 at 7:00 AM]
  • Week 3 [Not released until August 27, 2018 at 7:00 AM]
Even though the August release dates are in the past, the instructor still sees the "Not released until" messages beside the subpages. This is different from what instructors saw previously.

What do STUDENTS see in Lessons AFTER the subpage release date?

When your students log on to your class in September, they will see the subpages released in August, the Week 2 and Week 3 subpages, after the release date/time you specified.
  • As in the past, Lessons subpages ARE DISPLAYED CORRECTLY to STUDENTS on the dates/times you specified.

What can you do? You don't have to worry and you don't have to do anything!

On the Overview/Home page, click on "View Site As" on the course menu, then "Student", then click on the "Lessons" button on the course menu,  to check which subpages your student can see (and not see). You don't have to do anything else, unless you want to.
  • Optionally, if the display of  the subpages' "Not released until" message (after the release date) bothers you, you can use these step-by-step instructions. to edit and remove the subpage settings, so you no longer have to see the "after the release date" messages.