Spring 2015 Semester in Review

Exams are officially over and all final grades are due by this Friday, which means the Spring Semester is just about done! The Carolina community will be celebrating the accomplishments of all UNC Graduates this Sunday in Kenan Stadium at the Spring Commencement. Congratulations and best of luck to all the Graduates!

Here is a quick review of the Spring 2015 Semester!

(Click on each chart to enlarge)

Virtual Lab

Virtual Lab is one excellent resource all students should utilize! If you need to use software for class but don’t want to pay for it, use it for free on Virtual Lab! Check out the top 10 applications in Virtual Lab for Spring 2015:

vl_app_sp15See all available Virtual Lab applications.

Virtual Lab Maintenance: Thursday May 7

Please plan for maintenance work on Virtual Lab from 6-8AM tomorrow, May 7. Connections to the website might be intermittent during this time. Thank you!

CCI Printing

Students have the convenience of printing at over 50 campus locations using their allocated funds with CCI Printing. See the breakdown of each non-residence hall campus location for the Spring 2015 Semester!


Here is a review on Sakai usage for the Spring 2015 Semester. We had a total of 3,923 courses taught by 2,276 unique instructors on 3,081 published course sites–up 116 total courses from Spring 2014! There were also 2,251 project sites created this semester by request.

Sakai is great for communicating and assessing student work. Check out how many course sites enabled these collaborative tools this semester:

Groups: 3,146 | 97.34%
Communication: 2,933 | 90.75%
Discussion Boards: 785 | 24.29%
Gradebook: 1,535 | 47.49%
Assignments & Assessments: 1,168 | 36.14%

Here is the full Sakai tool usage for Spring 2015:

sk_tools_sp15Want to learn more about the different tools in Sakai? Sign up for a personal consultation!

Sakai 10 Upgrade Outage: Monday May 11


The Sakai 10 Upgrade is less than a week away, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Please prepare for Sakai to be offline and inaccessible on Monday, May 11. We plan to take the system offline at 5AM and back up by 5PM.

We’ve got one more exciting new feature to announce in Sakai 10 before we officially upgrade. Stay tuned, and get ready for the upgrade on Monday!

End-of-Semester Sakai Reminders

The end of the semester is here! We wanted to give you a few reminders and tips on Sakai before closing out the semester.

Gradebook Checklist

Instructors, make sure to check these 5 steps off the Gradebook Checklist:

  1. Verify all grades have been entered
  2. Check items are included in final grade calculations
  3. Set ungraded items to 0 – Sakai will only calculate items with scores!
  4. Release final grades to students
  5. Export grades for ConnectCarolina

Providing Feedback on Assignments & Tests

Here are some valuable tips on providing feedback and returning grades to students. Save valuable time by bulk-uploading Assignments, and make sure you are not showing students feedback while they are taking your test! See tips here.

Online Testing Reminders for Students

What students need to know about online testing.Students, are you taking an online exam? Here are 5 things you need to know about online testing:

  1. Confirm you have dedicated Internet access
  2. Use Firefox
  3. Avoid opening new browser windows or tabs
  4. Use Sakai’s built-in navigation
  5. You will time-out after 60 minutes of inactivity

Sakai Help Session Friday

Have last-minute Sakai questions before the semester ends? Need help finalizing your grades? Sakai experts will be in the House Undergraduate Library this Friday to assist you with your Sakai needs! Drop in any time between 2pm and 3:30pm. Please register for the event to ensure that a consultant will be available to meet with you. We hope to see you!

Sakai Drop-in Help Session [Register]
Friday, May 1
UL 034

Sakai Outages: April 26-28

We also wanted to apologize to the Carolina community for the Sakai performance issues we experienced Sunday and Monday of this week. We know this is an extremely stressful time for our faculty and students. Sakai has been stable since late Tuesday night, and we are continuing to monitor the system. Please see our ITS Website for communications, a log of service disruptions, and other updates. Also prepare for nightly maintenance work from 3AM until 4AM for the duration of the final examination period. If you experience any issues with the Sakai system, please call 962-HELP. Thank you!

Good luck on finals! You’re almost done!

New in Sakai 10: Extra Credit

You’ve asked for it. And here it is.

Coming in May in Sakai 10 is built-in Extra Credit in the Gradebook! The new Extra Credit function allows instructors to set individual items as extra credit and also gives the option of setting an entire Category as extra credit to the final grade. Here is a sneak peek on how to set this up!

Set Category as Extra Credit

If you want to set an entire Category to be counted as extra credit toward the final grade, you can easily do this in the Gradebook:

1) Click on Gradebook Setup
2) Select Categories only or Categories & Weighting
3) Enter names (and percentages) for your Categories
NOTE: If you are weighing Categories, you must set a separate percentage for the Extra Credit Category that is not calculated into the 100% of the course grade Running Total.

4) Place a check in the Extra Credit column for the Category counted as extra credit
5) Save Changes


Set Individual Items as Extra Credit

You can also set individual Gradebook items as extra credit:

1) Create or edit a Gradebook Item
2) Enter the Title and Item Value (and assign the Category)
3) Check Extra Credit
4) Click Add Item(s)


NOTE: Individual Gradebook Items counted as Extra Credit SHOULD NOT be included in an Extra Credit Category as this will interfere with course grade calculations.

(Extra Credit) will be noted next to each extra credit Item and Category. In the following example, the student has received full credit on all assignments. With the Extra Credit Category worth 1%, the student’s grade is bumped up to a 101%. With the 10 Extra Credit points in the Exam Category worth 50% of the final grade, the student receives an additional 2.5% on their grade, bringing their final course grade to 103.5%.


Happy LDOC!

Next week we’ll take a short break from the New in Sakai 10 Blog Series for end-of-semester happenings. We can’t believe the semester is nearly over!

New in Sakai 10: Instant Custom Site Pages


Image by Ghenady on flickr (CC BY)

If you have created custom links on the left tool menu in a Sakai site, you are familiar with the Web Content tool. The ability to create these custom links allows site administrators to add links on the left site menu to specific items in Resources, an entire folder in Resources, and different websites outside of Sakai.

Continuing with our New in Sakai 10 Blog Series, you will see how quickly and easily you can create these custom links with the new option in Sakai 10!

Create Custom Site Pages with just a few clicks!

Any items you have in your Resources can be made into a Site Page. Did you hear that you can drag and drop files into Resources in Sakai 10?

To create custom Site Pages, all you will need to do is:

1) Click on the Actions menu for the item you want to turn into a Site Page
2) Click on Make Site Page


3) Enter the Title of Page
4) Click on Add Page

Done! You should then see your new Site Page listed at the bottom of your left site menu. You can reposition its location on the site menu through Site Info > Page Order.

NOTE: If you created a Site Page of a website and it appears blank, edit the Site Page (pencil icon in top right corner) > check Open in new window? > click Update Options.

Bye-bye, 404 Errors!

Another useful tool within Sakai now is the Import from Site tool, which allows site administrators to reuse content between their Sakai sites. When importing Web Content links between sites, Sakai currently duplicates the old site ID and puts it into the new site. This is problematic because students in the new site do not have access to the old site and will see the dreaded 404 error:


Site administrators will then have to replace every URL with the new site ID, which can be confusing and time-consuming. Not to worry though, because Sakai 10 fixes this problem! Instead of retaining the old site ID when importing content, Sakai 10 automatically replaces the URL in the new site with the new site ID! Bye-bye, 404 errors!

Don’t forget! We will need to take the Sakai system offline on Monday, May 11, to apply the Sakai 10 upgrade. Thank you for understanding!

New in Sakai 10: The Recycle Bin

recycle_bins_colorWe are continuing our New in Sakai 10 Blog Series with another great addition–the Recycle Bin! Chances are you may have deleted items and folders from your Sakai site Resources only to realize later that you still needed them. With the new Recycle Bin, you can restore all items that were deleted from your Resources!

Restore Deleted Resources

Restoring deleted items is as easy as it gets. Once you have deleted items in your Recycle Bin, the “Restore” feature will appear.

1) From your top-level site folder in Resources, click on the Actions menu
2) Click on Restore

sk10_recycle_bin3) Check the items you want to restore and click on Restore


The deleted items will now be restored in your Resources. It’s that simple!

NOTE: Deleted items may be permanently deleted after 30 days if not restored.

You can also do some housekeeping in your Recycle Bin if you want to go ahead and permanently delete items. Just navigate to your Recycle Bin following the above steps, check the items you want to permanently delete, and click on Remove.

sk10_recycle_removeSakai Maintenance Outage: Sat 4/18 | 7-7:30 AM

Please note that we have a Sakai outage outside of our regular maintenance window tomorrow, Saturday, April 18, from 7AM until 7:30AM to avoid the last week of classes. Thank you for your patience!

New in Sakai 10: Drag and Drop Files

sk10_upgradeLast month we announced our plan to upgrade to Sakai 10 on May 11. You’re probably curious about what updates Sakai 10 will bring, so we are starting the New in Sakai 10 Blog Series to give you some sneak peeks into new Sakai 10 features!

Don’t forget that in order to apply the upgrade, we must take the Sakai system offline on Monday, May 11, so please plan accordingly. Thank you!

Drag and Drop Files into Resources

We’re kicking off the series with one of the biggest new additions–you can drag and drop multiple files into Resources! Currently you must upload files one-by-one, which can be a time-consuming process. In Sakai 10, you can drag your files into Sakai from your computer or open the upload window within Sakai and select multiple files to upload all at once. It’s that easy!

sk10_dragdrop_moveOnce the upload begins, you will see the progress for each file. You may remove any files you no longer wish to upload, which can be useful if you attempted to upload a file larger than 200 MB.


Things to keep in mind:

  • Each uploaded individual file must still be no more than 200 MB, however the total of the files you are uploading may exceed 200 MB.
  • You cannot drop in folders. First create the folders in your Sakai site Resources and then drop in the content within each folder.
  • Each Sakai site has a limited storage capacity of 2 GB. If the files you are dropping in will exceed the site quota, an error message will appear.

Another update on Resources is coming up this week, so stay tuned!

Gina Bradford & Father Michael Antonacci on Classroom Renovations

As our Classroom Manager, Gina Bradford, explains, “Carolina’s current and future student populations have grown with technology, making them eager to use it for educational purposes (ITS News). Classroom Hotline within our Teaching & Learning department has been installing updates in classrooms since 2013 and will continue the renovation project through the summer of 2016 to bring updates that today’s students expect to see at a university.

In the video below, Gina Bradford, Manager of Classroom Hotline, and Father Michael Antonacci, a Teaching Assistant in the Physics Department, describe the upgrades implemented in Phillips Hall Room 335 for the Math and Physics Departments and the positive impacts they have made on the student learning experience.

The renovations include upgrading back end equipment, putting technology on the network, and adding options for instructors to incorporate their mobile devices into their instruction. As we mentioned in our previous post, instructors can now display their Apple devices in classrooms and no longer have to rely on VGA cable connections! This mobility allows for more interaction between the instructor and students.

Not only has the technology been upgraded but furniture and seating has been included with peer-to-peer learning and collaboration in mind. Instead of the traditional one-direction-lecture type of seating, several round tables with power have been installed to encourage discussion and make it easier for students to work together on projects and compare answers. Students no longer focus on just one instructor but are interacting and teaching each other. Four projector screens were also added for easier visibility.

As Father Michael Antonacci notes on less tech savvy rooms, if they can’t see, students “can’t learn, can’t ask questions, can’t interact,” hindering them from engaging in active learning. The renovation in Phillips Hall Room 335 has been tremendous in giving students an advantage in learning and promoting peer instruction!

See the original story on ITS News.

New! Display Apple Devices in Classrooms and More

mirroring360_ipadWhile most of Carolina campus was away on Spring Break a couple of weeks ago, Classroom Hotline was busy at work installing updates on the classroom computers. You can now project Apple devices in the classroom!

Display iDevice with Mirroring360

Instructors teach a variety of subjects, so there’s no telling how many different kinds of applications may help an instructor further enhance their instruction. Depending on your area of expertise, there are apps out there that allow you to visually enhance and zoom into specific sections on graphics, maps, and pieces of art. Others may use apps to teach music,  demonstrate how the brain functions, or draw diagrams and figures. The options are endless!

With the new support of Mirroring360 by Splashtop® in campus classrooms, instructors can now mirror their iPads and iPhones wirelessly to the classroom computer to display content from their iDevices. You no longer have to rely on adding your content to the classroom PC to project to students but can now demonstrate your material through your Apple devices. Mirroring360 also allows you to pass your tablet around the classroom for students to demonstrate what they are learning in the class. What a great way of bringing learning into the open!

mirroring360_logoSee how you can Display Your iDevice Wirelessly using Mirroring360. You will need to open Mirroring360 on the classroom computer and download the Mirroring360 application on your device.

More Updates from Classrooms!

You can find more Classroom Support documents here.

If you need help, just pick up the red telephone in your classroom or call (919) 962-6702!

Sakai 10 Upgrade this Summer!

sk10_upgradeAttention UNC Campus…we have exciting news to share:

We are upgrading to Sakai 10 this Summer!

The Sakai 10 upgrade will bring major improvements to the UNC Sakai system and provide more functionality to the user experience.

Here are just a few of the several enhancements to expect in Sakai 10:

  • Extra Credit in the Gradebook
  • Assignment Group submissions
  • Drag-and-drop functionality in Resources
  • Organized tabbed view in Tests & Quizzes Settings

See all Sakai 10 highlights here. Note that we have already implemented some of these improvements in UNC’s current Sakai environment.

Sakai 10 Upgrade Outage:  May 11

In order to apply this upgrade, we will need to take the system offline for 24 hours. Please make preparations for Sakai to be down on Monday, May 11, which will be after Spring Semester exams end and before Summer Session classes begin. Our tech crew will work hard behind the scenes to bring the system back up and minimize the outage. Thank you for your understanding!

In the following weeks, we will provide you with more details and sneak peeks on the big improvements to come in Sakai 10.

We hope you are as thrilled about this upgrade as we are!

New Look for Sakai Tutorials

Welcome back from Spring Break! We hope you all have had a refreshing break and are ready to tackle the second half of the semester. Believe it or not, but there are only six weeks of classes left this semester!

Sakai Tutorials Redesign

We have one quick announcement. As you might recall, at the beginning of this semester we redesigned the Sakai Homepage to give it a new, refreshing makeover. We are delighted to announce that feedback has been positive and have heard our Sakai users find it easier to locate the information they are looking for.

Along with this redesign, we have now rolled out this new look for Sakai Tutorials! Functionality is still the same, however you can also easily register for consultations, navigate to this blog, and locate help options as you can on the Sakai homepage. Check out the new look here!

sk_tutorial_redesign_SP15If you have any feedback, please do not hesitate to contact us by submitting a help ticket.

And…we have an even more exciting announcement coming up later this week. Stay tuned!