Get Sakai Help Monday May 2

image of consultationInstructors, do you have any last-minute Sakai questions before the semester ends? Need help finalizing your grades? Sakai experts will be in the House Undergraduate Library on Monday to assist you with your end-of-semester questions. Drop by any time between 2pm and 3:30pm at your convenience in room 034 in the basement of the UL.

Sakai Help Session
Monday, May 2
2pm – 3:30pm
UL 034

Please register for the event to ensure a consultant will be available to meet with you. Get help on:

  • Setting up your Gradebook
  • Entering and finalizing grades
  • Uploading grades with a spreadsheet
  • Returning student course work
  • Viewing stats on students for the course
  • And much more!

Don’t forget you can also sign up for one-on-one consultations, and we can stop by your office if you prefer. Just check out the calendar on our Events page.

Good luck with finals!

Creating Sakai Tests taking too long?

With final exams starting next week, we thought this would be a great time to remind instructors of a huge time-saver in Sakai. If you are administering an exam in Sakai through the Tests & Quizzes tool, the Markup Text option will help you create your test questions in no time! Using the standard Assessment Builder requires you to create your questions one-by-one, however, you can easily bulk-upload your questions with the Markup Text option!

First make sure you have the Tests & Quizzes tool enabled on your site. If it is not, you can easily add it through Site Info > Edit Tools.

Create questions in separate document

We recommend creating all test questions ahead of time in a separate document, such as Microsoft Word. This way you:

  • Create and see all questions at once
  • Have a back-up copy of your questions
  • Quickly edit any questions on one page

The questions must be structured in a specific format that Sakai recognizes. To view the format each question must be in, follow the basic steps in creating an assessment — you’re not actually creating an assessment (yet!):

  1. In Tests & Quizzes, enter Assessment Title
  2. Select Create using markup text
  3. Click Create

tq_create_markupLinks for the following questions will be listed under Instructions & Examples. Click on each question type to view the format your questions must be in for Sakai to recognize and automatically create those questions:.

  • Multiple Choice
  • Multiple Choice with Multiple Correct Answer
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Short Essay
  • True/False

tq_markup_instr_exThen open your document to compose your questions, following the format Sakai listed for each question type. Your document may look similar to this:


Create assessments using Markup Text

Once you have finished creating your questions, go back to Sakai to create your assessment using Markup Text (see steps above) with a simple copy and paste method. Copy the questions you composed and paste them into the Markup Text box.


Click Next to view your questions and Create Assessment. That’s it — you’ve created your assessment in no time!

Important Notes on Markup Text

  • Only available as you first create a test
  • Not all questions can be created using Markup Text
  • Feedback must be added through the regular Assessment Builder

Get Help on Tests & Quizzes

Good luck on finals! We can’t believe it’s already that time of the year!

Summer 2016 Rosters now in Sakai

image of bee by flower

CC image on flickr

Happy Spring Break! We hope this week you all are getting a chance to relax and take a breather from the semester.

So what’s the buzz around campus while you’re away? Summer 2016 rosters are now in Sakai! With your free time this week, consider getting a head start on your Summer courses by creating your course sites!

Remember you must have one of the following roles in ConnectCarolina to be able to create your course site in Sakai:

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

If you are not listed as such, please contact your departmental course scheduler. Once you are listed in ConnectCarolina, it may take up to 24 hours for this to update in Sakai. 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 or duplicate an entire tool. See more details on duplicating your content.

Contact the Help Desk at or 962-HELP if you have any questions.

Enjoy the rest of your break!

New! UNC Learning Technology Commons

logo of learntrialsFaculty and Staff, have you ever wondered what educational technologies are being used in classrooms? Have you asked your colleagues what latest tech tools they have experimented with, what works for them and what doesn’t?

Last month the University of North Carolina System launched a new UNC Learning Technology Commons where UNC educators can come together to rate and review tech tools. It’s a common place for faculty and support staff in the UNC system to share their own and read others’ experiences with instructional technologies.

Using the LearnTrials platform with 4,000+ EdTech Products, UNC educators can ask questions about any product and find thousands of reviews from their colleagues. On LearnTrials, you can:

  • See which products your peers are using to get results
  • Give insight and have a voice in edtech decisions
  • Discover what digital tools work best for you and your students
  • Search by topic, grade, subject, device type, and more

Video: Teachers Save Time with LearnTrials

Check out this video featuring Sonja McKay, a Math & Science teacher at the Exploris School, where she discusses how Teachers Save Time (helping each other) with LearnTrials.

“…communicate with and collaborate with [other professionals] and share our successes and our challenges, and then in turn see what’s worked for others and have that confidence to start using it in our own classroom.”

Accessing UNC Learning Technology Commons

To access UNC Learning Technology Commons:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Join the UNC Community
  3. Select the logo for UNC-Chapel Hill
  4. Log in with your Onyen and password

Publications & Reviews

Several articles have been published in the community on the new UNC Learning Technology Commons. We encourage you to check out this list compiled by Phil Hill, a Co-Publisher of the e-Literate Blog:

UNC Learning Technology Commons: Easing the procurement problem with NGDLE

We’d love to hear about your experiences! Feel free to reach out to us.

We hope you’re having a fantastic Spring Break!

New! Preferred Names Now in Sakai

image of dunny toy with name tag

CC image on flickr

We have some exciting news! We know many of you have been waiting for this so we are happy to announce that…

Preferred names are now in Sakai!

Instead of displaying legal names, Sakai now displays the name you have set as your preferred name in the University Directory. This should help clear up any confusion with identifying site members.

Change Your Preferred Name

To change your preferred name, go to either:

  • University Directory > “Sign in” to the UNC Directory Search > Update Personal Information
  • ConnectCarolina > Login to ConnectCarolina > SelfService > Update Personal Information

Both options should take you to the Update Personal Information page. Look for the Preference Information section to edit your preferred name, and save your changes. Please note that it may take a few hours for your updates to display in Sakai, as our updates run 3 times a day.

If you have any questions, contact the ITRC Help Desk at or 962-HELP.

New! Enhanced Sakai Tutorials Search

pixabay_help_keyboardLooking for help on Sakai? A new improvement should help make finding Sakai help documentation quicker and easier — the Sakai Tutorials search engine now provides more results from multiple places! When using the Sakai Tutorials search box, you will now get results from:

This will help our Sakai users find more of our help documentation in one place!

Direct Link to Search Results

You can now also direct link to any search results, using this URL:

You will need to enter your search word at the end of the URL after the equal sign ( = ). For multiple word searches, enter a plus sign ( + ) in between each word. Here are some examples:

Another big enhancement is coming to Sakai very soon. Stay tuned!

Sakai Peer Review: All About Dates

image of dried fruit

dates and dried fruit (CC)

Using peer review in your class can offer many opportunities for improving student writing skills. A peer review component can easily be added to an Assignment in Sakai. See our blog post on Peer Review for setting up and grading Sakai Assignments with Peer Review.

When adding peer assessment to an assignment, it’s important to consider the dates.

Breakdown of Peer Review Dates

Open Date
This is when students can start submitting to the Assignment.

Due Date
This is when the Assignment is due.

Accept Until Date
This will be same as the Due Date if you do not accept late submissions OR a later date if you do accept late submissions. Any submissions sent after the Due Date but by the Accept Until date will have a red “Late” notification next to them. Sakai does not automatically deduct points for late submissions as this is at the discretion of the instructor. Students must submit their Assignment by this date.

Resubmission Accept Until Date (optional)
Students can resubmit their Assignment until this date. They must have completed a submission by the Accept Until date in order to have the option to Resubmit.

Resubmission Accept Until Date for Individuals (optional)
Instructors may allow individual students to resubmit their original Assignment. We recommend keeping this within a time frame before the Evaluation Period begins. If you are setting the Resubmit Date for an individual:

  • Before OR at same time as Accept Until or original Resubmit Date: No issues (recommended)
  • During Evaluation Period: Their classmates may have already started peer reviews on the individual’s original submission (not recommended)
  • After Evaluation Period ends: Their classmates will have already submitted peer reviews on the individual’s original submission AND this individual will not see the peer reviews until they have resubmitted the Assignment OR when this date passes (not recommended)

Review Period Begins
Within 10 minutes after the Accept Until date (or Resubmission Accept Until date, if enabled) passes, students may begin peer reviews on their classmates’ submissions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not make any changes to the Assignment once the Evaluation Period has begun. Doing so may re-shuffle assigned reviewers as you are potentially introducing more submissions to the pool to be reviewed. If students have started their peer reviews, they may lose all their work.

Peer Assessment – Evaluation Period Finishes
Once the Evaluation Period begins, students have until this date to complete their peer reviews. Instructors may view peer reviews and original submissions through the “Reviewed By” column in the Assignment Grade view.

Instructor Grading
Instructor grading is disabled until the Evaluation Period has concluded. Students will not see their scores, feedback, or peer reviews until you release grades. The instructor Grade view will look similar to this:

screenshot of list of student submissions and peer reviews

Example of Peer Review Assignment Dates

Open Date: 02/10/2016 08:00 am
Due Date: 02/15/2016 11:55 pm
Accept Until Date: 02/16/2016 05:00 pm
Resubmission Accept Until Date: 02/17/2016 11:55 pm
Peer Assessment – Evaluation Period Finishes: 02/19/2016 11:55 pm

In this example, students may begin submitting to the Assignment on February 10 at 8am. They should submit by February 15 at 11:55pm. If they submit after this time but by February 16 at 5pm, there will be a red “Late” notification next to their submission. As long as they have submitted at least once by this time, students may resubmit to the Assignment by February 17 at 11:55pm. By 12:05am on February 18, students may start the peer review process. They have until February 19 at 11:55pm to do their peer reviews. When this time passes, instructors may finalize scores, provide feedback, and release grades. This is also when students see their peer reviews.

Have any questions? We recommend registering for a one-on-one consultation with a Teaching & Learning Consultant. You can also contact the ITS Help Desk at or 962-HELP.

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 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 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 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!