Learn how to Organize your Course with Lessons: Feb 17

lessons_why_use_cfe_cropHave you heard about the Lessons tool?

There are many reasons to check out the Lessons tool. This Sakai tool allows instructors to more efficiently organize their course content and break this up into units and sequences. The Lesson Builder provides a lot of flexibility by combining elements of Resources and Modules, as well as allowing you to easily integrate other Sakai tools. This integration creates a seamless experience for students and puts everything in one place. It’s basically a one-stop shop for your course materials!

What can you add into a Lesson?

The Lesson Builder can include:

  • Text
  • Embedded media
  • Integrated Sakai tools–assignments, quizzes, discussion boards
  • Polls
  • Embedded questions
  • Student-created content
  • Rubrics

Check out this handy edugraphic from the Center for Faculty Excellence to learn more: Why use the Lessons tool?

Lessons Workshop: Feb 17

We’ve made it even easier to learn about the Lessons tool — please join us at our upcoming workshop! You’ll get a hands-on experience on setting up the Lessons tool, incorporating your course material, and seeing what other options are available. We will be in room 307 in the Health Sciences Library on Wednesday, February 17, from 1pm till 2pm.

Organizing your course with the Lessons tool [Register]
Wed 2/17 | 1pm-2pm
HSL 307

Limited seats are available so sign up today! Please create your course site before the workshop and bring any course material you’d like to add to your Lesson.

Lessons Help

Unable to make it to the workshop? Check out the following tools for learning about the Lessons tool. You can also submit a help ticket at help.unc.edu or register for a one-on-one consultation with a Teaching & Learning Consultant. We’re here to help!

Snowed in? Have Class Online


Photo by UNC Student Nancy Le

With the forecast of snow and ice on the horizon, it may not be safe to come to campus for class. Instead of losing class time or scrambling to squeeze in all course material throughout the semester, you can have class online. There are different tools available for moving course work online, so get creative and don’t let the inclement weather disrupt your schedule!

All these options are available through Sakai:

  • Have class in a Blackboard Collaborate webinar room
  • Record lectures over slides in VoiceThread
  • Deliver content, have discussions, and administer quizzes through Sakai

Blackboard Collaborate

bbc_logoSet up a virtual classroom through Blackboard Collaborate to share your lectures slides and articles, turn on your webcam or microphone to give your lecture, and chat with students. It’s the ultimate online, interactive experience that’s similar to being in the physical classroom.


vt_photosAlready have your presentation together and are ready to give your lecture? You can upload your slides into VoiceThread and use the commenting feature to record narration over your slides. You can make your VoiceThreads even more interactive by allowing students to add comments as well.


sakai_appleBring your course work online through your Sakai site. Consider distributing course content, having online discussions, and administering quizzes online through Sakai.

Have scheduled meetings? You can set up a sign-up sheet for virtual office hours through Sakai! Once your schedule is set, you can meet with your students and colleagues through Skype, Google Hangouts, Blackboard Collaborate, or other webinar options.

Contact the ITS Help Desk if you have any questions through help.unc.edu or 962-HELP. Stay safe and warm out there!

Thanks to Matt Osment from the Center for Faculty Excellence for contributing to this post!

Sakai Start of Semester Checklist


CC image on flickr

Happy first week of Spring classes!

Instructors, as you’re settling back to campus and starting your classes for the semester, make sure you check off these 5 steps for the start of semester in Sakai.

1. Create Course Site
Instructors can select to reuse old course material in new sites during the course creation process (or after the site has been created). At the bottom of the Course Site Tools page, select “Yes, from these sites:” to Re-use Material from Other Sites You Own and select the courses from which you want to reuse material. Continue onto the next step to select which tools you want duplicated.

2. Check Rosters
You can easily add/remove rosters in your course sites through Site Info > Edit Class Roster(s). Keep in mind that enrollments occur three times a day, which means that it may take up to 24 hours for enrollments to update in Sakai.

NOTE: If you accidentally attached an extra roster to the wrong course site, you must first remove the extra roster from the original site to create a new course site for that roster.

3. Publish Site
To give students access, publish your site.


4. Upload Syllabus
You can upload your course syllabus in the Syllabus tool or in Resources. If using the Syllabus tool, you must first add an item, which will now be automatically published to students as soon as you add the syllabus item. To unpublish, just click on the light bulb.

5. New Library Reserves
There is a new, more convenient Library Reserves system! Instructors can now submit reserve requests online without needing to email the library a special form. You can add, remove, and edit your reserve material directly. See this 5-minute intro video.

You may want to check out our Ten Quick Tips for Sakai as well!

Updated Sakai Homepage
We also updated the image on the Sakai homepage. If you’re seeing the following image, you’re in the right place. Can you find the Sakaiger?


Contact the ITS Help Desk at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP if you have any questions. The quickest way to get help is likely through their Live Chat option. Also, don’t forget that our regular maintenance window for Sakai is Thursday mornings from 5-7 AM.

Good luck with classes this semester!

Sakai Help Sessions Jan 7 & 11


CC image on flickr

Welcome back to a new year and new semester! We hope you have all had a chance to relax and refresh for the Spring Semester!

Spring classes are right around the corner, so we’re offering two Sakai Help Sessions to provide any assistance you might need to set up your course sites.

*Important Note*
To set up your course sites in Sakai, your departmental course scheduler must list you in ConnectCarolina as the instructor for your courses. Please note that TAs in ConnectCarolina cannot create Sakai course sites.

Sakai Workshops: Jan 7 & 11

Intro to Teaching in Sakai [Register]
Thursday, January 7
UL 034

Are you a new instructor and want to teach in Sakai? Do you need a refresher on setting up your course site? Join us for a *crash course* on teaching in Sakai! We’ll help you–

  • Create your course site
  • Upload and organize your course content
  • Figure out the best way to communicate with your students
  • Get an overview of the Gradebook

Drop in for Sakai Help [Register]
Monday, January 11
UL 124

Unable to attend the crash course on Thursday or have other Sakai questions? Drop in any time between 1:30pm and 3pm on January 11 to get help from a Sakai expert!

Create Course Site Now

Don’t have time to stop by the Undergraduate Library? Create your course site now in the comfort of your home! Check out how you can reuse old course material.

Don’t forget to publish your site!

Get Sakai Help

If you can’t make it to our workshops, there are plenty of ways to get help:

Let us know how we may help you. Good luck with the start of the semester!

Fall 2015 Semester in Review

unc_kiplinger_dec2015For the 15th time in a row, we find ourselves at Number 1 again! Congratulations to the Carolina community because Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has once again ranked UNC the best value in public schools across the nation, as well as the best out-of-state value, a new category this year! UNC also moved into the top 10 ranking of public and private universities. See the full story from UNC Spotlights. Go Heels!

We also want to wish our newest Carolina Graduates the best of luck in your next adventures!

Fall 2015 Semester

The Fall 2015 Semester came to a close last week, so here is a wrap-up on educational technologies. What a great semester it’s been!


Sakai, the University’s central learning management system, makes distributing course material, communicating with students, and keeping track of assignments and grades so much easier! Here are our Fall 2015 numbers for courses taught in Sakai:

Course sections: 3,912
Course sites: 3,306
Unique instructors: 2,323
Project sites to date: 2,512+

Check out our full Sakai tool usage for Fall 2015:



Are you using media in your course? You should check out VoiceThread! VoiceThread is an easy-to-use platform for sharing and having conversations around media. This Fall semester we had a total of 1,611 VoiceThreads created, 965,535 minutes of usage, and 11,435 video, voice, and text comments!


CCI Printing

CCI Printing is the most convenient way to print on campus! With 45 locations on campus (some are restricted to residence halls), you’ll find plenty of places to print. Be sure to check out the CCI Printing Map with live-status printer updates.

cci_campus_fa15All of us at Teaching & Learning wish you a wonderful and safe holiday break. See you in 2016!


Sakai Maintenance Dec 16 & 17

pixabay_1031948Please note we will be performing maintenance on the Sakai system this week. There will be two outages, including an all-day outage on Wednesday, December 16.

Thank you for your patience as we make improvements to the system!

Sakai Maintenance: Wed Dec 16 | 5AM – 7PM

We are upgrading our database, which will require us to take the system offline from 5 AM until 7 PM this Wednesday, December 16. Please plan accordingly as this is a 14-hour outage.

Sakai Maintenance: Thurs Dec 17 | 6AM – 7AM

We are implementing new changes to the integrated tool for University Libraries during our regularly scheduled maintenance window Thursday morning, December 17, from 6 AM until 7 AM.

If you have any questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP.

We will follow up shortly with a review on the Fall 2015 Semester, so stay tuned!

What’s up with VoiceThread Comments?

vt_photosYou will find new commenting features in VoiceThread today! One of the wonderful things about VoiceThread is how easy it is to have conversations around media. Now it’s easier than ever to have this collaboration among instructors and students with the new Private, Direct, and Threaded Comments!

Check out this video from VoiceThread to learn all about these great, new features!

Posting Comments

To post a comment to someone, click on their identity image and select whether you wish to make a private, direct, or threaded comment. You will then see a variation of the following image where you select the comment option to use:


Private Comments

vt_private_commentsPrivate replies allow you to begin a private conversation with someone who has commented on a VoiceThread. They are hidden, two-way conversations. Private comments are represented by a rounded identity image with a padlock icon.

To start or reply to a Private conversation, click on the padlock:


See more on private replies.


Direct Comments

vt_direct_commentsEditors of a VT may insert comments directly after someone’s comment to help guide the conversation and provide feedback to participants.

To insert Direct comments, click on the left-pointing arrow:


See more on direct reply comments.

Threaded Comments

vt_threaded_commentsThreaded comments allows participants to start separate conversations that branch out from the main conversation channel. They are represented by a round identity image.

To start a Threaded conversation, click on the downward, right-pointing arrow:


See more on threaded comments.

Images courtesy of VoiceThread.

Spring 2016 Rosters now in Sakai

Apple blossoms colour corrected.

CC image on flickr

Happy Fall Break! With some off, it’s the perfect time to start preparing for next semester because Spring 2016 Rosters are now in Sakai! Create your course site now to get that head start.

Remember that you must be listed as one of the following for your course rosters to create your Sakai course sites. Teaching Assistants in ConnectCarolina cannot create course sites–

  • Primary Instructor
  • Secondary Instructor
  • Proxy
  • 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.

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 ITRC Help Desk at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP if you have any questions. Have a safe Fall Break!

Free access to 3,800+ video tutorials on Lynda.com

lynda-logoFor many of you, Lynda.com is already bookmarked on your browser. If it is not, now is your chance to learn why it should be. For starters, it’s free. Prior to December 2014, Lynda.com was only available to faculty and staff, but through a collaboration with ITS and Student Government’s Web & Communications team, students now have access to the plethora of training videos hosted on Lynda.com as well.

Lynda.com is a leading online learning company that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals…The company also provides German, French and Spanish language content under the video2brain brand name. (lynda.com/aboutus)

With free access to over 3,800 video courses taught by industry experts, working professionals, and veteran teachers, it is no wonder that Lynda.com is a leader in online learning. They offer self-paced streaming video courses that range in technical skills and subject matter. They have topics ranging from professional development, software training, creative techniques, and management strategies. Most of the videos have supplemental exercise files you can download and use while watching the instructional videos. The library features software from the following and much more:

  • Adobe
  • Apple
  • HTML
  • Java
  • Microsoft
  • SPSS
  • MySQL

See more details on the UNC Lynda.com webpage.

Accessing Lynda.com

To access Lynda.com, go to the UNC Lynda.com sign-in page.

Lynda.com Stats for UNC

Check out these stats on Lynda.com usage at UNC!

Top 10 Courses Viewed on Lynda.com by UNC-Chapel Hill

1. Excel 2013 Essential Training 6. Git Essential Training
2. Illustrator CC Essential Training (2015) 7. Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals
3. WordPress Essential Training 8. Project Management Simplified
4. Access 2013 Essential Training 9. HTML Essential Training
5. Illustrator CS6 Essential Training 10. SharePoint Online Essential Training

In total for UNC, 779 exercise files have been downloaded in the past 6 months. During that same period, almost 700 certificates of completion have been issued to individuals completing a course on Lynda.com.

lynda.com stats imageJoin the nearly 4,000 people at Carolina who have already started using Lynda.com today!

Connect with Lynda.com

twitter  facebook logo  linkedin

Mirroring360 Update Supports iOS 9 in Classrooms

Last semester, Classroom Hotline upgraded classrooms across campus with the capability to wirelessly project personal devices using Mirroring360 by Splashtop®. Have you recently updated your device to iOS 9? You may have had some trouble mirroring your Apple device in the classroom, but there is good news. Mirroring360 has been updated in classrooms to version 1.5 to support screen mirroring on iOS 9 Apple devices! All you need to do is re-arm the license key on your Apple devices to continue mirroring your content.

Why might you want to mirror your device in the classroom?

  • Instructors and students can share any content from their devices
  • Turn students into presenters without moving from their seats
  • Mirror up to 4 devices simultaneously for comparison and collaboration

Check out the Mirroring360 Brochure to see more features and how it works!

Re-arm Mirroring360 License Key

1. Locate new grey Mirroring360 icon in system tray on computer

m360_key_012. Right-click on icon and select Settings

m360_key_023. Select License button

m360_key_034. Click Activate

m360_key_045. Verify both Mirroring services are running, and you’re all set!

m360_key_05You can also download these instructions here. Contact Classroom Hotline if you have any questions by picking up the red telephone in your classroom or calling 919-962-6702!

NOTE: See new full instructions here (updated November 2015)