Spring 2017 Rosters now in Sakai

pixabay_864956Want to get a head start on the Spring Semester? You’re in luck because Spring 2017 rosters are now in Sakai! Instructors can create their Spring course sites in Sakai now to get a head start!

You must be listed as one of the following for your course rosters to create your Sakai course sites:

  • Primary Instructor
  • Secondary Instructor
  • Proxy Instructor
  • Dean’s Designate

Please have your departmental course scheduler list you as the instructor for each course roster you are teaching in ConnectCarolina. You will need to wait up to 24 hours for this to be updated in Sakai. Teaching Assistants in ConnectCarolina cannot create course sites in Sakai.

Create Course Site

Get started in My Workspace > Worksite Setup to create your course site! See the following tutorial for step-by-step instructions:

Reuse Course Material

If you are teaching the same course and want to reuse old course material, you can easily do so as you are creating your course site or any time after the site has been created. You have three options:

  1. Re-use Material from Other Sites You Own
  2. Import from Site
  3. Copy specific items into Resources from other sites

See Duplicate your content between Sakai sites for full details.

Contact the ITS Service Desk at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP if you have any questions.

BIG NEWS: Sakai 11 Upgrade Dec 20

sakai 11 upgrade announcementAttention everyone, we have very big news! Something exciting is happening at the end of this year. We are thrilled to announce that in just a few months, you will find major improvements and enhancements in Sakai because…

We’re upgrading to
Sakai 11

The upgrade will take place on Tuesday, December 20. Please plan for Sakai to be unavailable all day as we must take the system offline to apply the upgrade. The outage will occur after all final Fall 2016 grades are due in ConnectCarolina, and we will make every effort to minimize the outage. Thank you for your understanding!

Sakai 11 Features

Sakai 11 comes with many wonderful improvements. We wanted to give a sneak peek on expected features in Sakai 11, but please note we are actively testing and debugging the system through December and will implement  the functional features.


  • Responsive — this means mobile friendly and a new look!
  • No. More. iframes. You can use your browser back and forth buttons!
  • Improved Favorites menu to organize Sakai sites
  • Breadcrumb navigational menu in most tools
  • Additional options to set up email notifications


  • New spreadsheet-style grade entry and view!
  • Quickly enter grades, comments, view log, update settings
  • Set score to anything in empty entries, by group/section
  • New grading analytics
  • Consolidated menus for setup and settings
  • Drag and drop functionality to move items
  • View by grouped sections, categories, specific Gradebook Items
  • Student review mode
  • Option to enter comments through imported spreadsheet
  • Floating headers — great for large classes


  • Enhanced layout
  • Consolidated menus
  • Ability to divide up sections with breaks, columns, different colors, and widths

Tests & Quizzes

  • New “hot spot” question type for students to ID points on image
  • Settings streamlined with less menus
  • See all scores for one student on one page

We will highlight some of these new features in the coming weeks leading up to the December 20 upgrade. Sakai 11 will bring many improvements instructors and students have requested, and we’re so excited that this upgrade is happening. Stay tuned for more details!

New! Streaming Media Campus Solution

We have very exciting news!

If you have been looking for a way to share videos or have students upload recordings to share with your class, search no more. We now have a campus-wide media streaming solution! Introducing…


So what exactly is Warpwire? Think of a YouTube-like service in your Sakai site. Instead of uploading a file that each user has to download and then watch on their computer, the video will be embedded directly on the Sakai page. You and your students just click play and the video will play instantly. It’s that simple!

Why Use Warpwire?

There are many advantages to using Warpwire!

  • Upload video, audio, and image files and securely stream in Sakai
  • Record and upload media files straight to Warpwire from any mobile device or computer
  • View detailed analytics (% viewed and viewed segments)
  • Create private library collections and share with individuals or groups
  • Have students upload videos to share with classmates or privately with instructor

Getting Started

image of warpwire plugin

If you are interested in using Warpwire, just submit a request through help.unc.edu to have Warpwire added as a tool on your Sakai site. Once we add it, you will then see Warpwire as a tool in your left Tools menu on your Sakai site and as a plug-in in all the tools with the rich-text editor. Just look for the blue W!

Warpwire Help


Here are help options to assist you with using Warpwire:

Don’t forget we also offer personal consultations or you can contact us through the ITS Service Desk at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP.

Happy streaming!

Streamline Course Content with Lessons: Workshop 9/14

image of bird in flight

CC image by Martin Heigan on flickr

As an instructor, you are likely breaking up your course content into different modules and units. The Sakai Lessons tool is a great way to organize, streamline, and deliver all your materials to your students in one place.

Think of Lessons as a combination of the older Modules tool and Resources but with more options and flexibility!

We have a workshop lined up for you next week to discuss and demo the Lessons tool. We hope you’ll join us!

Creating Lessons in Sakai: [Register]
Wed Sept 14
12pm – 1pm
UL 124

Consider registering for the workshop if you:

  • Teach online or develop online courses that are structured into modules or units
  • Develop online training with defined sequences of material that might require certain items to be completed or limit access until prerequisites are met
  • Want to integrate Sakai’s suite of tools into one streamlined place for students

There are many benefits to using the Lessons tool. Whether you want to simply put all your course lessons into one place or integrate Sakai Tests & Quizzes, Assignments, and Forums, or require students go through a sequence of content, the Lessons tool is definitely worth checking out! If you are unable to make it to the workshop, we invite you to review our help documentation:

Don’t forget you can also sign up for a personal consultation. We’d be happy to help you get started!

Classroom Equipment 101: Video Tutorial

Happy First Week of Classes! We hope the Fall semester is off to a great start for you and that everything has been running smoothly.

To help instructors get familiar with the equipment in classrooms, our Classroom Hotline group put together the following instructional video tutorial for classrooms with one projector. We invite you to check it out!

In this video tutorial, we provide an overview of these tools:

  • Touch panel — controls all classroom equipment
  • Sending devices to projector
  • Connecting your laptop
  • Connecting USB flash drive
  • Controlling projector, audio, lights, projector screen, window shades
  • DVD Player
  • Document Camera
  • How to connect to Classroom Hotline for help — look for the red phone
  • How to shut down classroom when you’re done

Hopefully this video tutorial will help you feel more comfortable with using the classroom equipment. We can always provide classroom demonstrations and assist with any questions you may have. Please contact us through the following options:

  • Email at hotline@unc.edu
  • Call at 919-962-6702
  • Pick up the red phone in your classroom
  • Schedule classroom demo

Stay tuned for more video tutorials!

Sakai Help Sessions: Aug 23 & 24

UNC campus in the fall

Welcome back to a new semester!

Instructors, do you need any help getting started with Sakai for your Fall courses and you’re just not sure where to start? We recommend registering for our upcoming workshops in the House Undergraduate Library next week!

Intro to Teaching in Sakai [Register]
Tuesday, August 23
10am – 11am
UL 124

Thinking of teaching in Sakai for the first time or need a refresher? Join us at the Intro to Teaching in Sakai crash course! This workshop is intended to help you with:

  • Becoming familiar with Sakai
  • Creating your course site
  • Managing your course site
  • Uploading and organizing course material in Resources
  • Communicating with your students via Announcements and Messages
  • Getting an overview of the Gradebook
  • Addressing any other questions you may have

NOTE: Your departmental course scheduler must list you in ConnectCarolina as one of the following in order to create your course site:

  • Primary Instructor
  • Secondary Instructor
  • Proxy Instructor
  • Dean’s Designate

Drop in for Sakai Help [Register]
Wednesday, August 24
2pm – 3:30pm
UL 124

Have any last-minute Sakai questions for the start of term? Need help setting up your course site? Drop in any time at your convenience between 2pm and 3:30pm to get quick help from the Sakai experts!

If you want to go ahead and create your course site on your own, see details here.

Good luck with the start of classes!

Communicate More Visually with Less

ss_punchWe are less than a month away from the start of Fall Semester! Instructors, you are probably gearing up for new students, new classes, and a new semester. Now is a great time to review some of your lecture material as you do your prep work. We know many of you are using PowerPoint slides for your lectures so we wanted to bring back our presentation design series:

Communicating Visually: A PowerPoint Design Series

In this series we covered basic principles of good PowerPoint design to not just make your slides more visually appealing, but to ultimately help your students better grasp the content of your lecture and therefore improve their learning experience. We highly invite not just instructors but students and staff members to take a look at these principles and design tips to enhance your presentations!

Principle #1: Communicate More with Less

ppt_presenterIf you only change one habit in PowerPoint, make it this:

Put less stuff on each slide

Everyone has seen a slide with a list of bullet points, but students cannot be expected to attentively listen to the lecturer while frantically reading and copying a slide full of text. You may still need all the slide details, so here are two tips:

  1. Hide the slide
  2. Hide your notes

Both tips allow only you to see your slides and notes as you present instead of your entire audience. Click here to find out details on hiding this content.

Principle #2a: Communicate Visually with Imagery

Images are instrumental in connecting to the audience emotionally by enhancing a speaker’s key points and conveying more than words can describe. Images draw viewers into your story, can mark a transition point in a presentation, and serve as a mnemonic device.

For example, which slide grabs your attention?

ansp_butterfly_text          compfight_butterfly_egg

Click here for more on imagery!

Principle #2b: Communicate Visually with Infographics

Infographics visually illustrate a complex idea or system and can dramatically improve your lecture by simplifying processes you are describing, visually showing relationships between ideas, and creating another mnemonic device for your audience.

For example, you can turn this slide:

visual.ly_chickens   into this   visual.ly_chickens_infographic_crop

See more on infographics.

Principle #2c: Communicate Visually with Illustrations

Illustrations and icons can be just as useful in visually communicating your ideas to your audience. Always consider the audience prior to choosing imagery, as using an appropriate style for the clip art you choose creates support for your credibility.

For example, for a higher-ed audience, opt for clean, sophisticated clip art with a professional quality–

beaker_tableClick here to learn more about using illustrations in your presentations!

Principle #2d: Communicate Visually by Disguising Bullet Lists

Sometimes you can’t help but use a list of text. Instead of using a bullet list, disguise it through these simple text layouts, offered by Connie Malamed of “The eLearning Coach“–

  1. Organizing text into boxes
  2. Placing the content into a table
  3. Diagramming (see example below)

ppt_diagramPrinciple #3: Limit the Distractions

We understand that limiting text on slides and inserting graphics and different text layouts can be overwhelming. If you do not have the time to review your slides, consider helping your audience focus on the content you are delivering during your presentation by limiting the distractions. Here are two tips to keep in mind:

  1. You do not need an exorbitant number of slides
  2. Every slide does not have to be overly designed to be meaningful

Relying too heavily on PowerPoint during a presentation could occasionally distract your audience when they should be listening to you. Consider taking a pause from the visuals when you need to make a key point. Read more on limiting the distractions.


Stay Connected with ITS on Twitter

twitter_logoWant to stay connected with what’s going on around campus and news on learning technologies? Here’s a list of campus Twitter accounts we recommend following for all your teaching, learning, and technical needs!


ITS Accounts on Twitter

tli_twitter_2Teaching & Learning Interactive: @UNC_TLI
This is our Teaching & Learning Twitter account! Follow us for updates on campus tech tools we support, such as Sakai, VoiceThread, and Virtual Lab, campus tips, different strategies to try in the classroom, and news in higher ed.

Follow us on Twitter!

itrc_twitterITS Service Desk: @UNChelpdesk
Your first stop for campus tech support. Follow them for student tech tips, service updates, and tech opportunities. The Service Desk is available 24/7. See help.unc.edu or call 962-HELP.

its_twitterInformation Technology Services: @UNCTarHeelTech
This is the official Twitter account for all of Information Technology Services. See the most up-to-date announcements on any service outages and other ITS news.

Other Campus Departments on Twitter

adv_twitterAcademic Advising: @UNCAdvising
Students! Follow for tips and reminders on staying on top of your academic career at Carolina. Advisors will guide you towards achieving your goals for graduation.

adv_peer_twitterAdvising Peers: @UNCPeerAdvising
This is the student Twitter account for Academic Advising. Students, follow them for even more tips from your fellow peers at Academic Advising!

ars_twitterAccessibility Resources and Service: @ARSatUNC
The ARS is committed to ensuring equal access for students with disabilities. We encourage instructors and students follow for advice and tips.

cfe_twitterCenter for Faculty Excellence: @unc_cfe
The CFE supports faculty members and graduate students in all aspects of their career. Follow them for instructional advice, innovative teaching strategies, and upcoming events.

grad_twitterGraduate School: @UNC_GradSchool
Graduate Students! Get news and updates from the Graduate School by following them on Twitter. Find details on events, student life, and having a successful academic career.

lc_twitterLearning Center: @UNCLearningCent
Study smart! The Learning Center provides academic coaching, peer tutoring, academic coaching, test prep, study camps, LD/ADHD resources, and more. Follow them for updates!

research_twitterResearch Hub: @UNCResearchHub
Part of University Libraries, the Research Hub connects researchers with technology and expertise in the library. Follow them for updates and upcoming workshops.

summer_twitterSummer School: @UNCSummerSchool
Taking a class in the summer? Be sure to follow UNC Summer School for registration details, tips on how to succeed in these fast-paced classes, and summer events.

undergrad_reten_twitterUndergraduate Retention: @UNCSuccessTips
Undergraduate Retention is committed to all students and helps them advance to academic success by identifying their individual strengths and offering resources to help them succeed.

unc_online_twitterUNC Online: @UNCOnline
Taking or thinking about taking an online class in the UNC system? Follow UNC Online for program advice and other online higher education tips.

lib_twitterUniversity Libraries: @UNCLibrary
Not just books! Get updates on what’s new with University Libraries, including SkillfUL Tech classes, group study locations, media resources, and research tools.

wc_twitterWriting Center: @UNCWRITINGCTR
The Writing Center can help all UNC members at any stage of your writing projects through brainstorming, full completion, or revision. Follow them for tips and tricks!

Other ITS Accounts to Follow

Here are some other great ITS Twitter accounts to follow as well for all your tech news! We recommend checking out the ITS website to know how to stay in touch with ITS on social media.

Happy Tweeting!

Spring 2016 Semester in Review

image of unc graduatesCongratulations to all the UNC Graduates last weekend! The weather was perfect under the Carolina blue sky as 6,000+ students received their degrees. All the best to you on your next adventures, Graduates!

To conclude the term, here is a review of the Spring 2016 Semester on some of our campus learning technologies.

Click on each chart to enlarge.


Many instructors prefer to conduct their teaching in Sakai, as the system streamlines all course material, assignments and tasks, class communication, and grading in one place. Check out our Spring 2016 numbers for University courses in Sakai:

Course Sections: 3,915
Course sites: 3,208
Unique instructors: 2,353
Project sites to date: 2,705

graph of sakai tools

Also check out the new header on Sakai — featuring UNC students Varun Amesur (one of our student employees!), Becky Chen, and Hari Chittilla (photographer).

image of sakai header


VoiceThread is an excellent way to share media and collaborate with one another. If you want to record over your lecture slides, have students record themselves talking about a particular project or perhaps complete an assignment in a foreign language class, and then share those recordings with the class to be viewed and commented on, VoiceThread makes it easy! See how much usage we had for the Spring 2016 Semester:

table of voicethread countsCCI Printing

CCI Printing is the most convenient way for students to print on campus. All students receive a printing allotment each semester, so you might as well use it! The CCI Printing Map provides live-status printer updates for the 45+ printers on campus. Here is the breakdown of printing in non-residence hall locations. To no surprise, more than half of printing happens in just two locations–the Undergraduate and Davis Libraries. Save yourself some time by not standing in line at one of the other campus locations!

chart of cci printing locationsVirtual Lab

If you don’t know about Virtual Lab yet, you should check it out because you will find access to free software! Just a few of those include the Adobe Suite and Microsoft Office. Here are the top 10 applications used in Virtual Lab this semester:

chart of virtual lab applicationsLynda.com

Interested in learning a new skill? Whether it’s for school, business, or personal reasons, lynda.com offers thousands of courses online to build your business, creative, and technical skills. You can view videos and complete courses on your own time for free — everyone at UNC has access to lynda.com! Check out campus usage for Spring 2016:

table of lynda.com usageTop 10 Courses for Spring 2016

  1. Illustrator CC Essential Training (2015)
  2. WordPress Essential Training
  3. Photoshop CC Essential Training (2015)
  4. Excel 2013 Essential Training
  5. Premiere Pro CC Essential Training (2015)
  6. Access 2013 Essential Training
  7. Excel 2016 Essential Training
  8. HTML Essential Training
  9. Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
  10. Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals

We hope your summer is off to a great start!

Fall 2016 Rosters now in Sakai

image of bell tower and fall leavesWe hope your summer is going well! Hopefully you now have some free time to relax and unwind. For those of you who want to get a head start on the Fall semester though, you can create your course sites now because Fall 2016 rosters are now in Sakai!

To create your course site in Sakai, your departmental course scheduler must list you as one of the following in ConnectCarolina for your course rosters:

  • Primary Instructor
  • Secondary Instructor
  • Proxy
  • Dean’s Designate

Please note that it may take up to 24 hours for your roster to appear in Sakai after you have been listed as an instructor in ConnectCarolina. See more details here.

Create Course Site

See these step-by-step instructions on creating your course site in Sakai:

Reuse Course Material

Re-teaching a course? You can easily reuse course material as you are creating your site or after it has been created. You can select specific items from your Resources to copy over or duplicate an entire tool. See more details on duplicating your content.

Contact the Help Desk at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP if you have any questions. You may also request to meet with a Sakai expert to help set up your course. Check out the calendar on our Events page!