Join Us at 2020 UNC CAUSE

UNC CAUSE is more than a conference logoWe invite the UNC IT Community to join us this year at the virtual 2020 UNC CAUSE Conference! There are a couple sessions that will be led by our Chapel Hill colleagues.

UNC CAUSE is an IT-focused organization for the 17 campuses in the UNC System, and this year’s conference will be held virtually over a 3-week period from October 6-22. Thanks to the ITS Information Security Office covering this year’s group registration, all in the UNC-CH IT community are welcome to attend! You must register for the conference to get full access to the program on Sched and join sessions via Zoom.


Natalie Nixon portrait

The conference begins at 10AM ET on Tuesday, October 6th with the Keynote Address:

Innovation IQ: How to Master the 3 Drivers to Stay Out Front and Lead

Dr. Natalie Nixon will discuss developing the 3 tenets of culture (people, process, place) to design an organizational culture that is primed for innovation and a prosperous future state.

“The more diverse the inputs, the more innovative the output.” – Natalie Nixon

Teaching & Learning Sessions

There are several sessions on Teaching & Learning, plus several other great tracks to follow! These are the currently scheduled T&L sessions:

  • Of Dragons and Myths – An Online Pilot Program for Remote Professional Development with Games
  • Click Here to Read More: Ambiguous Link Text and Other Accessibility Conundrums
  • Leading Online Conferences and Events: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
  • Facilitating Online Teaching Excellence
  • Data vs. the Hunch: Letting Data Lead Innovation in Course Design
  • CBE Redesign with the End in Mind: Course Maps, Accordions, and Connections

Please visit the conference website to register. You must register by this coming Monday, October 5th, to guarantee access to the Keynote!

Workshops for Start of Fall 2020

sakaiger in a face maskThe Fall Semester begins early this year and classes resume in one week on August 10. Whether you’re teaching Mask-to-Mask, HyFlex, or Remote, you will likely make use of technology to connect with your students. We have two workshops this Thursday, August 6, to help you get started with Poll Everywhere and Sakai.

NOTE: See more on the different Modes of Teaching opens in new window on the Keep Teaching website.

Getting Started with Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere opens in new window is an easy-to-implement polling tool available for free to all UNC instructors and students. Class polls support a wide range of instructional objectives, including formative assessment, springboards for class discussion, student feedback and reflection, and ice breakers. During this session, instructors will learn more about creating effective class polls, Poll Everywhere features and question types, and best practices for administering polls in class or remotely.

Getting Started with Poll Everywhere
Thursday, August 6 | 11am – 12pm ET
Poll Everywhere Workshop Registration opens in new window

Crash Course on Teaching with Sakai

Sakai opens in new window provides instructors with a “one-stop shop” to share all of your course content with students, communicate with students, assess their learning and provide feedback, and keep track of grades. Join us at this 75-minute workshop as we discuss how to use Sakai to streamline the learning experience for you and your students! We will cover:

  • Creating your Sakai course site
  • Sharing your syllabus and course materials
  • Communicating with students
  • Setting up Assignments and Tests & Quizzes
  • Combining all course materials and assignments on a Lessons page
  • Quick overview of the Gradebook
  • Getting Sakai help

Teaching with Sakai Tools to Help Students Learn
Thursday, August 6 | 2pm – 3:15pm ET
Sakai Workshop Registration opens in new window

As always, you can request assistance by submitting a help request opens in new window or signing up for a Personal Consultation opens in new window with a Sakai expert. We’re here to help you.

Good luck with the start of classes!

Training on Teaching Remotely

bell tower in front of ominous clouds

The University is extending Spring Break through March 22 and moving to remote instruction starting March 23 until further notice. Trainings on remote instruction using Sakai and Zoom are being held this Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13. Bring your laptop and come to Greenlaw Hall 101 to any or all sessions! The March 13 sessions will also be available via Zoom. No registration required.

Both March 12 and March 13 days will follow this training schedule:

10 – 10:45 AM: Preparing to Teach Remotely
11 – 11:45 AM: Getting Started in Sakai
12 – 12:45 PM: Getting Started in Zoom
2 – 2:45 PM: Preparing to Teach Remotely
3 – 3:45 PM: Getting Started in Sakai
4 – 4:45 PM: Getting Started in Zoom

Additional training sessions will be offered via Zoom the week of March 16-20 during the extended Spring Break. Continue to check the new Keep Teaching website opens in new window for trainings and resources on teaching remotely.

Faculty Showcase Keynote on Retrieval-based Learning

center for faculty excellence faculty showcase on teaching march 27, 2020

UNC Faculty, we encourage you to register for the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching opens in new window if you have not already! The Faculty Showcase brings together faculty members from all over campus to celebrate teaching at Carolina. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from colleagues about promising teaching practices and make new contacts across disciplines.

CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching opens in new window
Friday, March 27, 2020
The Carolina Club

Faculty Showcase SPOTLIGHT:
Keynote on Retrieval-based Learning

Jeff Karpicke

This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr. Jeff Karpicke opens in new window, James V. Bradley Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University.

Dr. Karpicke will provide some background on the research behind retrieval-based learning and share practical suggestions for using this powerful learning strategy to support student learning. Learn more about the keynote address:

Retrieval-based Learning: Active Retrieval Promotes Meaningful Learning download file

At the conclusion of the keynote, instructors will:

  1. Know the most common study strategy used by college students, why it does not work, and how to guide students not to use it
  2. Be able to describe how retrieval practice can be used as an effective learning strategy
  3. Have a toolkit of possible ways to implement retrieval-based learning techniques

Register for the Faculty Showcase opens in new window today to reserve your spot!

Get Sakai & Poll Everywhere Help Jan 6-10

hand holding coffee cup with 2020 writtenHappy 2020! We’re excited to start a new decade, a new year, and a new semester!

To help you get started with the Spring 2020 semester, we’ve got several help sessions lined up for you next week. Don’t forget we also offer Personal Consultations to assist you one-on-one and can come to your office!

If you prefer to get started on your own with creating your course site in Sakai, check out our blog post on creating your Spring 2020 sites opens in new window. You can also reach us via the ITS Service Desk at opens in new window.

Crash Course on Sakai

Teaching in Sakai for the first time or need a refresher on the basics? Join us at this 1-hour crash course on teaching in Sakai to kick off the week! Please note that you must bring your own laptop as this location does not have computer workstations.

Intro to Teaching in Sakai: Registration opens in new window
Monday, January 6
2pm – 3pm
Wilson Library 304 (ground floor)
*Laptop required*

Drop by for Quick Sakai Help

Have last minute Sakai questions for the start of term? Need help setting up your course site? Drop in any time between 3-4:30pm on Thursday to get help from the Sakai experts! Please note this workshop is intended for quick Sakai questions. If you have more in-depth questions, we recommend that you sign up for a personal consultation opens in new window.

Drop in for Sakai Help: Registration opens in new window
Thursday, January 9
3pm – 4:30pm
Undergraduate Library 034 (basement)

Getting Started with Poll Everywhere

Interested in using polls in class? Learn how Poll Everywhere can be used to support a variety of instructional goals and how to effectively integrate polls into class activities. We will use a combination of discussion and poll questions to facilitate the session. Staff will also be on hand to help troubleshoot individual issues.

This workshop will be held twice:

  1. Poll Ev. Tues. Jan. 7 opens in new window: 9am – 10am, Wilson Library 304 (basement)
  2. Poll Ev. Fri. Jan. 10 opens in new window: 3:30pm – 4:30pm, Greenlaw Hall 101

Good luck this semester!

Get Last-Minute Sakai Help 12/10

checking off checklist item next to calculatorExam week is here and it is time to get those final grades ready!

Remember that all final grades are due in ConnectCarolina opens in new window 72 hours after the scheduled time of your final exam. Be sure to follow the University Registrar schedule opens in new window for entering and approving your grades.

Get Quick Sakai Help Dec 10 @ the UL

Need help finalizing your grades or returning student course work with feedback? Have any last-minute Sakai questions before the semester ends? Sakai experts will be in the House Undergraduate Library on Tuesday next week to assist you with your quick Sakai questions! Drop in any time from 10:30am till noon to get help from us!

Drop in for Sakai Help Registration opens in new window
Tuesday, Dec 10
10:30am – 12pm
UL 034

Please register for the event to ensure that a consultant will be available to meet with you. We also offer one-on-one consultations opens in new window for more personal assistance!

5-Item Gradebook Checklist

Want to finalize your grades on your own? Check out our 5-item Final Gradebook Checklist opens in new window to get your grades ready and approved in ConnectCarolina!

  1. Verify all grades are entered
  2. Check items are included in final grade calculations
  3. Set ungraded items to 0
  4. Release final grades to students
  5. Export & approve final grades for ConnectCarolina

If you have any questions, please submit a help request opens in new window.

Good luck with finals!

Sakai Virtual Conference Session Recordings

sakaiger with apereo logoLast week the global Sakai Community met online in the Sakai Virtual Conference opens in new window to discuss and share ideas on best practices, innovative uses, and new things to come in Sakai! Our Teaching & Learning team purchased a group registration for the UNC campus and we’re glad some of you were able to attend. In case you missed any sessions or were not able to attend at all, all sessions were recorded and are now available for everyone to view on YouTube for free!

You’re welcome to browse through the conference schedule opens in new window and session descriptions opens in new window to see which ones interest you. We’ve also highlighted some sessions below that we thought were particularly useful or interesting.

Thanks to all the presenters for sharing your ideas on getting the best out of Sakai!

Highlighted Sessions

Consider viewing the following sessions or browse through all the recordings opens in new window. Enjoy!

“Seeing” Course Content through a Student’s Eyes (or Ears, or Hands)

Bringing Your Students Onboard

What’s new in Sakai 20?

The New Sakai Grader – Making the Grading Experience More Fluid

Coming Soon: Assignments Import Published!

The (Student) User Experience in Sakai

Sakai Virtual Conference Nov 6

sakaiger with apereo logoJoin us and the rest of the global Sakai Community at the annual Sakai Virtual Conference opens in new window! This completely-online conference will take place on Wednesday, November 6th, from 10am until 5pm. While technical topics will be covered, the emphasis of this conference is on pedagogy and best practices. It’s a faculty-friendly conference targeted toward the teaching and learning aspects of Sakai, so we encourage faculty, instructional designers, and support staff to attend!

Sakai Virtual Conference 2019 opens in new window
Wednesday, November 6
10am – 5pm
All Online

Registration Spots Available

We have purchased a group registration and have several spots available. If you are interested in using one of these registrations, please let us know by sending an email to by Friday, November 1st. Departments are also welcome to use a registration to view sessions as a group. Each registration account gives you access to all the conference sessions, and you pick and choose which sessions to attend.

Here are a couple cool things to know about registration:

  1. All registration proceeds go toward development of Sakai features and enhancements
  2. You’ll be entered in prize drawings with your registration account!

Sessions of Interest

Here are possible sessions of interest. Be sure to check out the full schedule opens in new window and session details opens in new window!

  • Keynote by Matthew Rascott, Duke University
  • Sakai Learning Path: Lead Your Students to Success
  • Promoting Innovation through Adjunct Faculty
  • Building a Lesson-Centric Course
  • Lessons: Let it go!
  • The (Student) User Experience in Sakai
  • What’s new in Sakai 20
  • The new Sakai Grader – making the grading experience more fluid (Sakai 20)
  • Mapping the Road Further Ahead for Sakai – share your thoughts on improvements you’d like to see
  • Lightning Talks
    • Using Videos to Bring Your Online Classroom to Life
    • Gamifying iLearn: Implementing Kitcoin Exchange

We hope you’ll join us and the rest of the Sakai Community around the globe!

#SakaiVC19 opens in new window

Register for the CFE Faculty Showcase

center for faculty excellence faculty showcase on teaching march 27, 2020

Early registration is now open for the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching opens in new window! The Faculty Showcase is the University’s one-day campus conference on teaching and learning, and will be held on Friday, March 27, 2020, at the Carolina Club. Learn about promising instructional techniques and technologies and connect with faculty colleagues from a wide range of disciplines. All UNC Faculty are invited to attend and encouraged to stay for as much of the day as your schedule allows.

If there is a topic that you would like to see covered during the Showcase or if you are interested in sharing something yourself, consider submitting a program idea by December 31!

Showcase details, registration, and program idea submissions can all be found on opens in new window.

The CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching is sponsored by the following:

This is always a great event for UNC instructors, and we encourage you to register now!

Start of Semester Sakai Checklist & Workshops

bell tower behind autumn colored leaves

The Fall Semester is almost here! Below you will find a quick 5-step checklist to get your Sakai course sites ready. If you prefer in-person assistance, we are offering a 1-hour crash course on teaching in Sakai, which will be especially beneficial to new instructors. We’ll also have a Sakai drop-in help session the first week of classes to quickly assist you with any of your questions.

Sakai Help Sessions

Be sure to register for any help session you wish to attend! We also offer personal consultations opens in new window if you prefer one-on-one help.

Intro to Teaching in Sakai
Thinking of teaching in Sakai for the first time or need a refresher? Join us at this 1-hour crash course to learn the basics of teaching in Sakai! This workshop will be offered 3 times. Please note that you must bring a laptop if you are attending either workshop on August 19 or 22.

Drop in for Sakai Help Session
Have quick, last-minute Sakai questions for the start of term? Drop in any time between 2:30pm and 4pm to get help from a Sakai expert!

Start of Semester Checklist

Here is the 5-step checklist to get your Sakai course sites ready!

1. Create Course Site opens in new window

Instructors can select to reuse old course material opens in new window 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.

re-use material from other sakai sites you own

NOTE: This process creates only one site at a time. Checking multiple rosters will place all checked rosters on the course site you are currently creating. See Rosters FAQ opens in new window.

2. Check Rosters opens in new window

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. Each roster can only be attached to one site at a time.

3. Upload Syllabus opens in new window

You can upload your course syllabus in the Syllabus tool or in Resources opens in new window. If using the Syllabus tool and you wish to upload your syllabus as an attachment, you must first add the Syllabus Item in order to see the Add Attachments link. Don’t forget that students won’t see the syllabus item unless it is published (light bulb is lit)!

4. Publish Site opens in new window

To give students access, publish your site.

publish now button

5. Give Your TAs Access opens in new window

Do you have Teaching Assistants? Make sure they have the proper access! We recommend TAs be added to the official course roster through ConnectCarolina opens in new window by your departmental scheduler, but you can also manually give them access. If they are manually added, they do not automatically inherit grading permissions. Instructors must give TAs grading permissions through the Section Info tool.

Please contact the ITS Service Desk at opens in new window if you have any questions. They are available 24/7. Since the first week of classes is always very busy, the quickest way to get help is most likely through their Live Chat opens in new window option.

Good luck with start of Fall!