Tackling the Sakai Gradebook


Image by rosipaw on flickr (CC BY)

Keeping track of student grades on paper not working out too well anymore? We recommend using the Sakai Gradebook! There is much more to this gradebook than just having a place to store student scores–the Sakai Gradebook also allows you to:

There are different options for setting up your Gradebook and many functions available, but don’t let that intimidate you! We have a Sakai Blog Gradebook Series and several Sakai Tutorials to assist you in getting started. You may also request one-on-one help, where a TLI Consultant will work with you every step of the way in getting your Gradebook ready! Check out available appointments on our Events page.

Setting up your Gradebook

There is no one way to set up the Gradebook, however instructors typically use Categories & Weighting. What’s great about this option is that it allows you to drop the lowest score within a category. See what other options might work for you!

If you are using Sakai Assignments, Tests & Quizzes, Forums, or Discussion and Private Messages, you can link these tools with the Gradebook! See how to enter grades.

TAs & Grading

Have Teaching Assistants helping with the grading? The preferred method is to add TAs in ConnectCarolina through your departmental course scheduler due to FERPA restrictions. Instructors can add TAs manually to their course sites as well.

Tips & Tricks

With busy schedules and heavy workloads throughout the semester, it is easy to overlook certain things in the Gradebook. To help make your lives a little easier, we have provided some Gradebook Tips & Tricks and will post the Final Gradebook Checklist at the end of the semester as a reminder.

If you have not yet created your Sakai course site, you can easily do so by following this tutorial. Contact the ITRC Help Desk if you have any questions at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP!

Did you know your Doc Cam can…

doc_camClassroom Hotline has been hard at work with several classrooms on campus going through big upgrades! One of those upgrades you may have noticed in most rooms is an updated document camera. We cannot always rely on electronic versions of content, which is when doc cams come in handy!

So what exactly is a document camera?

doc_cam_audienceDocument cameras are visual presenters that project physical objects onto a screen. They are great tools for sharing printed copies of material in class, such as textbooks, sheet music, and art, or working out math problems, annotations, and other hands-on activities. You could even project yourself and your students! Doc cams basically display any object or activity to a larger audience.

See more uses for doc cams from the University of Notre Dame.

But wait, your Doc Cam can do even more!

While the new doc cams are great for projecting content, they are actually capable of doing so much more! In addition to displaying objects, your doc cam also:

  1. Doubles as a webcam and mic for Skype, MS Lync, WebEx, etc.
  2. Records to USB storage with one-touch still-image & voice/video recording
  3. Provides annotation with audio/video recording to cloud storage, such as Dropbox or YouTube

doc_cam_connectWith the built-in microphone and camera, these doc cams are great for ad hoc lecture capturing and web conferencing. You can very easily save your work and share it live with your colleagues and students. It is now easier than ever to connect! See the full ad on what your Doc Cam can do.

Contact Classroom Hotline for details on using any of these features in your next lectures and meetings!

Andrew Cohen explains CCI Printing: Print. Swipe. Release.

cci_print_anywhereStudents, do you need to print your course syllabus, readings, or lecture slides? CCI Printing is here to help you! All fee-paying students receive a printing allotment each semester through the CCI Printing Program, which may be used to send print jobs to any of the CCI Printers on campus from their own computer.

Andrew Cohen on CCI Printing

Andrew Cohen, an Undergraduate Student in the College of Arts & Sciences and Student Assistant in ITS-Teaching & Learning, explains the process of sending print jobs through CCI Printing, “the key to printing on campus.” Just print, swipe, releaseit’s that easy!

How CCI Printing Works

Install: You must first install the Pharos Printing Client on your computer. Several campus computers and Virtual Lab also have CCI Printing installed.

Print: Once installed and you’re ready to print, select ITS Print Queue or CCI_Printing from your list of printers. Enter your Onyen and a print job description in the Pharos Pop-up Client. You have 60 minutes to pick up your print job from any of the CCI Printers on campus!

Authenticate: At the CCI Printer, enter your Onyen and password at the release station, swipe your One Card to pay, and select the print job from the release station.

Your print job should now print!

Benefits & Tips

You’ve already paid your student fees, which went towards the CCI Print Plan – might as well use it! Here are some benefits and tips to using CCI Printing:

  • Don’t forget your One Card! This is the only way to pay
  • Jobs stay in the print queue for 60 minutes
  • CCI Printing is defaulted to double-sided printing
  • Print jobs disappear if Onyen is misspelled, including spaces, when sending jobs
  • There are 55 printers in 35+ locations, including 2 color printers
  • You can send print jobs to anyone at UNC or ask colleagues to send print jobs to you. Enter Onyen of the person picking up the print job in the CCI Pop-up Client on your computer
  • Faculty and Staff may use CCI Printing, however funds must be added to One Card Expense account. Students must also print from Expense account when CCI Printing balance is equal to $0

Help Docs

Happy Printing! Please consider the environment when printing.

What to know about IT @ UNC

IT@UNC_FA14Welcome to the Fall 2014 Semester! Classes are back in session, and now is a great time to familiarize yourself with UNC resources available to you to make your semester a success!

Information Technology Services has made the following infographic available for a quick go-to guide on important things to know about IT at UNC. Click on the image to view the full infographic or read on for some important IT tips!

IT Tips

It is very common nowadays for someone to own multiple devices, such as a laptop, smartphone, and tablet. With more devices on hand, there is a bigger chance of accidentally exposing information that was not intended to be shared. Be sure to protect your devices by staying up-to-date with browser and security updates, installing anti-virus software, and storing sensitive data in a secure location. When viewing private information, such as student grades, keep FERPA regulations in mind. See FERPA Documents from the University Registrar for details.

Using multimedia is a great way to enhance discussion and learning in a classroom, but do not forget about copyright concerns! Violators could lose network access and potentially face fines and criminal charges. For more information on copyright policies, visit the Scholarly Communications Office and do a web search on these three terms:

  • Copyright
  • Copyright infringement
  • Fair Use

Get IT Help

Don’t forget that IT help is always here! The ITRC Help Desk is available 24 hours, every single day of the year! There are several ways to get in touch with the ITRC:

You can also visit the (newly redesigned!) ITS Website for more information on IT Services at UNC. Remember to share with care!

Getting Ready for Fall Semester

old_wellFall Semester is just around the corner! This is the perfect time to do some preparation for the start of classes. Instructors, you can set up your courses now and enjoy this last bit of Summer before the busy semester begins!

Classroom Demo

Are you familiar with the technology in your classroom? Don’t waste your valuable class time trying to figure out how to work the technology–schedule a classroom demonstration with Classroom Hotline!


If you are looking for an online collaborative space to communicate with your students, share course content, set up student assessments, and keep track of grades, Sakai is the place for you. You can easily create your course site.

Important Notes:

Sakai Workshops

Need more help with Sakai? We have two upcoming Sakai Workshops at the House Undergraduate Library and invite you to join us!

Drop in for Sakai Help [Register]
Monday, August 18
2pm – 4pm
UL 124

Have last-minute Sakai questions or need quick help from a Sakai expert? Drop in any time between 2pm and 4pm for help from a Sakai expert!

Intro to Teaching in Sakai [Register]
Tuesday, August 19
11am – 12pm
UL 124

Teaching in Sakai for the first time or need a refresher? This is the perfect workshop for you! Please join us as we review creating course sites, uploading course content, setting up assessments, communication tools, and much more!

You can contact the ITRC Help Desk at help.unc.edu | 962-HELP if you have any questions. Let us know how we may assist you!

Group Conversations around Media

Media can be a powerful tool. Sharing media and allowing others to provide feedback and thoughts can make media even more engaging and powerful. A tool called VoiceThread, which is available to all UNC users, can be used to have group conversations around media or simply share presentations and recorded lectures.

VoiceThread allows you to upload files, such as images, video clips, slides, and documents to be shared with other users. You have control over who has access to your VoiceThreads, as well as the option of allowing those users to leave posts on your threads using voice, video, or text comments.

Interested in using VoiceThreads for your class? It is easier than ever to share your threads as VoiceThread is now integrated with Sakai! Simply add the the tool to your site and you are ready to go!

What is a VoiceThread?

So, what exactly is a VoiceThread? Click on this VoiceThread to find out!

what_is_a_vtWant to learn more about VoiceThread? Check out these tutorials to get started!

We also invite you to sign up for our workshop on VoiceThread on Tuesday, August 5th. Join us and your colleagues to experience first-hand how a VoiceThread works and how you can use it for your course!

Digital Storytelling and Presentations [Register]
Tuesday, August 5
2pm – 3pm
UL 034

We hope to see you there!

Your Colleagues on Virtual Lab

Whether you’re a Faculty member, student, or administrator within a department, finding cost-effective solutions that provide convenience and flexibility is key. Virtual Lab is a service that instantly delivers applications to users’ devices with internet connection, allowing you to access your work at your convenience. This on-demand application delivery solution is funded through student fees, so there are no additional costs to using it. We highly recommend that you check it out!

Still unsure? Listen to the experiences shared by your colleagues below!

Brandon Burroughs on Virtual Lab

Brandon Burroughs, a recent graduate from the Department of Statistics and Operations Research, shares how Virtual Lab made applications available to him at times convenient for his studying habits. Brandon benefited from being able to access software on his Mac that would have otherwise only been accessible through a Windows computer on campus.

Aaron Brubaker on Virtual Lab

Aaron Brubaker, IT Director for the School of Information and Library Science, discusses how Virtual Lab has increased access to students and made software available at a time and place convenient for them. Virtual Lab has come to the school’s rescue by helping them save time and money.

dog_rescueCheck out our previous blog post to get more information on Virtual Lab, including a list of popular applications available through Virtual Lab. You can also contact the Help Desk at 962-HELP for assistance.

Let Virtual Lab come to your rescue!

Tips on Audio Production


Image by curtis.kennington on flickr (CC BY)

Teaching an online course or flipping your classroom? Whether you plan on recording a lecture or some other type of project, poor audio quality can negatively impact your final product, taking away from the main focus of the recording.

Not everyone has access to a professional sound booth, and while some sound editing programs have excellent post-production capabilities, it is best to start with the cleanest recording possible.

Here are three audio tips to keep in mind when recording sessions!

1. Choose a Good Microphone

If you are recording audio directly to your computer, you can use the built-in microphone but that typically will not yield more than an adequate recording. There are different types of microphones for different purposes. Let us know what type of recording you are looking into doing, and we’d be happy to provide advice on what you may need.

For example, an excellent brand to consider is Blue Microphones. There are also quality USB microphones that you could purchase. We recommend checking with your department to see if there are available microphones to borrow or funds to purchase the equipment you need. The Media Resources Center in the Undergraduate Library may also have some microphones that could work for you.

2. Consider Microphone Placement

Place the microphone as close as possible to the audio source. This will allow that source to be the most prominent sound that the microphone will detect.

3. Choose a Quiet Location


Image by jcmurty on flickr (CC BY)

Microphone quality and placement can only do so much if you have chosen a location that has too much extraneous noise. For example, some people will do their recording at a kitchen table, not realizing that a refrigerator makes a lot of noise. Try to stay away from any constant sound source, such as an air conditioner or computer fan. Listen to your space before you record.

The best alternative to a sound booth is finding a quiet room with limited fan or air conditioning/heating noise. Carpeting is a plus. You can try a closet with both clothing and carpeting as these are good sound dampeners and will reduce room echo. You can also get extra creative and hang blankets on the walls of your space for a similar effect!

If you follow these tips, you should be off to a great start with your recording. Don’t let all that time and effort spent on recording go to waste with poor audio quality!

Students, 2 words: FREE. Software.

virtual_labWhat resource do students need to know about but have probably never heard of?

Virtual Lab.

Students, your instructors could require you to use certain applications that may not already be on your computer or you might need to use programs that are not compatible with your computer. Well, Virtual Lab provides a solution! Instead of buying these applications that you could potentially only use for one course or trying to find an open computer on campus with the necessary software, chances are that you can find the application already available to you on Virtual Lab.

student_study_homeVirtual Lab is an on-demand application delivery solution that instantly delivers applications to UNC users on their computers or mobile devices. You don’t have to be on campus to use Virtual Lab as this service is available 24/7 in any location with internet access. This means you can be working late into the hours of the night in the comfort of your home or you could whip out your smartphone or tablet on the bus on your commute to campus and access your work–all that valuable time is no longer wasted! You can also send print jobs to CCI Printers through Virtual Lab, providing another convenient option in your busy schedules.

Here are just a few of the many applications available on Virtual Lab (see full app list):

  • Adobe Suite – Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, etc.
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • SPSS
  • SAS
  • Matlab
  • ENPS
  • Crystal Ball

For more information on Virtual Lab, including instructions on downloading the Citrix Receive Plug-in required to access Virtual Lab, see our T&L-Labs website.

Virtual Lab is already available to you at no extra costs, and it gives you the flexibility of working where you want and when you want–why not use it?

We are Here to Help You

“Teaching with technology…is about knowing how to successfully incorporate the best tools into your teaching when and where it makes sense.”
- Faculty Focus

When used effectively, technology can enhance the learning environment, elicit deeper understanding, and provide a powerful experience for users. There are so many resources here at Carolina that you can use to strengthen your studies and practices. Let us help you discover new technologies and get the most out of tools you are already using!

Have you asked yourself any of these questions?

  • Question MarkHow do I use the technology in my classroom?
  • How can I best utilize the tools in my Sakai site?
  • Is there a place I can access software for free?
  • I am new here. What resources are available for me to use?
  • I have a research project and need a place to collaborate with my colleagues.
  • How can I conveniently meet with my colleagues? We have busy schedules!
  • Is there a way for my students to post a presentation and have their classmates share feedback and comments?

We are here to help you!

Sign up for a personal consultation with a TLI Consultant to learn about what educational technologies could work for you and understand the best methods to apply! We can help you set up and structure your Sakai site to meet your course needs. Unable to get together with colleagues in person? We’ll help you create a Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing room so you can conveniently meet without finding a location and time with your busy schedules! Want to share media and have students provide comments? Let us help you set up VoiceThreads!

If you have questions regarding your classroom, please contact Classroom Hotline. Simply pick up the red telephone in your classroom or call (919) 962-6702 to speak to classroom support. We can also provide a classroom demonstration to help you become familiar with the technology available to you!virtual_lab

Do your instructors require certain applications not already on your computer? Looking for free software? Check out Virtual Lab!

Don’t forget that you can always contact the ITRC Help Desk, which provides support 24/7. You can give them a call, chat online, submit a help ticket, or walk in and speak to someone in person–whatever you prefer!

Let us know how we may best assist you. We hope to hear from you soon!