Recent updates to Sakai offer an improved teaching and learning experience for faculty and students. These updates include new features, enhancements to existing features, and fixes to several known bugs. Some of the most exciting changes include a new Commons Tool, enhancements made to the Gradebook, and new features in Lessons.
The New Commons Tool
The Commons Tool is a new feature that offers social networking style posts, helping to foster more social interaction within Sakai. Commons functions similarly to Facebook with wall-style posts on a single page and gives users an alternative to other communication tool options in Sakai such as Comments in Lessons or Forums. For step-by-step instructions on how to use this new feature, visit Sakai Commons Tool.
Grading Made Easier with Improved Gradebook
In addition to the new social features, the Sakai update included enhancements to Gradebook that allow a better grading experience. New features in Gradebook include the ability for instructors to view and adjust final grade distribution, scaling of grades when the point value of items is changed, and the option for instructors to view a grade distribution summary for Gradebook items. This summary includes the mean, median, standard deviation, lowest score, highest score, the total number of graded scores, and a bar chart illustrating the data.
Additional features in the Gradebook update include:
- Comment length has increased from 500 to 20,000 characters.
- Section and group filters are available in export options.
- "Omissions" and "preview grades" panels are options during import.
- Tooltips for newly created Gradebook items are now available.
- Role checks and redirects to all Gradebook pages are now in place rather than error messages.
- Visual indicators of dropped scores in the Gradebook are now available when the Drop Highest/Drop Lowest/Keep Highest features are enabled.
New Features in Lessons
Lastly, the Sakai update included new features in the Lessons tool that allow for user-friendly navigation, viewing, and engagement. Of particular note is the ability to consolidate pages and add a collapsible Lessons Subpage navigation menu to help declutter your left side menu. Other enhancements include:
- Users can now add Resources folders to a Lessons page.
- Announcements, a Calendar, and Latest Forum Posts can now be embedded on Lesson pages using widgets.
- Video files (mp3, mp4) embedded on a lesson page will stop automatically downloading. Note: While Firefox and Microsoft Edge work as expected, Chrome has intermittent problems depending on the mp4.
- H5P, an application for creating interactive HTML5 content is now available in Lessons. Instructors can easily create, edit and share richer content in the same manner as a YouTube Video is embedded (using an iframe code).
To learn more about the full list of new features and enhancements to Sakai, see Highlights in Sakai 12.