What is Sakai? How Do I Use It?
Sakai is the online student platform that professors typically use for their online/blended courses. If you haven’t yet, check out a sample course! It will provide you with a feel of what an online course in Sakai looks like. Also, the Online Learning Student Orientation will provide you with an introduction to online learning and using Sakai.
When you enter Sakai, it will bring you to your Workspace. Select the specific course tab (e.g. PSY 113, GWS 100, COM 210) at the top of the screen. If you do not see your course, click here to find out how to find your course on Sakai.
Each of your class sites may look different. Even so, many professors use the following left-navigation tabs*:
Start here! (or Lessons)
This tool may be used by your professor as a place for an introduction video to the course. Your professor may use this tab to organize text, resources, quizzes, tests, assignments, media and other content onto a single page to fit the needs of a given content area in the course.
This tool typically contains, you guessed it, the syllabus. For those of you new to college, a syllabus is “an outline of the subjects in a course of study or teaching”. This will provide you with the dates of class (if it is a blended class it might meet sometimes in person), assignment due dates, and an overall orientation to the course (e.g. policies and procedures, course requirements). Your professor may provide the document in a Microsoft Word (MS) format, PDF, or the syllabus may be right on the page. If for some reason you cannot access the syllabus (e.g. if it is in MS format and you cannot open MS documents), inform your professor immediately.
This tab is used to send out announcements to the entire class or sections of the class. For instance, your professor may want you to know that class is canceled or that an assignment due date has been pushed back. Your professor may send announcements to your e-mail via this tool but they may not. That is why it is imperative that you are checking BOTH your e-mail and Sakai everyday.
This tab is used typically to post, you guessed it, class resources. This may include articles, texts, videos, webpages, etc. It allows the professor to provide required and additional materials that they feel are essential to your learning.
This tab is used by your professor to input/store your grades. Keeping track of your grades from the beginning of the semester is useful. Then you will know immediately if you are struggling and can talk to your professor about it.
This tab allows you to participate in a discussion with your peers and professor. Your professor may provide topics that he/she would like you to post on. Students can engage in a conversation about important topic areas in the course. Your professor can tie in your forum posts to your gradebook so that you can be graded on your posts.
This tab is used to send out messages (similar to e-mail) via Sakai to either just you or to your class. You can also send messages to your professor or classmates using this tool. However, always remember to check off the “‘Send a copy of this message to recipients’ email address(es)” box so that your professor(s) or peer(s) gets your message.
*Professors may not use all of the left-navigation tabs I discussed in this post. Some may choose to use other left-navigation tabs. If you have any questions about tabs not mentioned here, feel free to ask your professor or ask me!
If you have any other questions, you can either contact me or call the Help Desk for any technical Sakai issues.