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Getting started with the Lessons tool

Lessons allows you to present your course content in a structured way and guide your students through their learning process. Using the Lessons tool, you can create a course packet with resources, quizzes, assignments, forums, and media (e.g. videos, audios and images) in a central location.


  • The best practice for using Lessons effectively is to build out your course content in the Sakai tools first (i.e. add resource folders or create forum topics).
  • Think about your navigation design and needs before building Lessons. Will you organize by module, week, topic? Do you need to set up release dates or sequence your content?



How to add content

You can add content in two ways:

  • The “Add Content +” button at the top will add a new item at the bottom of the page.
  • The “+” icon to the right of each existing item will add a new item above that one.

The most commonly used options under Add Content are

  • Add Text – Add text with the rich text editor.
  • Embed Content on Page – Place images, PDF or video directly in the page.
  • Add Content Links – Add links to files, web pages, or images.
  • Link to an Assignment – Link to an assignment in the Assignments tool.
  • Link to a Test or Quiz – Link to a test or quiz in the Test & Quizzes tool
  • Link to a Forum or Topic – Link to a forum or topic in the Forums tool.
  • Add Subpage – Add a new page. A link to it will appear on this page.




How to format content blocks

To the right of each content item, you see a set of icons that allow you perform certain editing tasks, such as Edit, Delete, and Add New Content Above. In the upper-left-hand corner of the content area, there is an icon to define the formatting of the block such as column settings and color scheme. To add a section break to your content, simply click the + icon to the right of your content and from the menu choose, section break above. You may also use the Join icon to join two adjacent blocks into one.




How to create consistent site navigation

Lessons is easiest to navigate by using the breadcrumb trail. It will show your current location and give you a quick way to jump back into other content. With this in mind, think of how you should best organize your site.




To add a subpage, use the + Add Content button and choose a title. You’ll need to decide if you want to copy an existing page, create a link or a button, and if the subpage will be added to the breadcrumb trail or will replace the last page. Use the reorder tab to drag and drop content blocks, pages, and delete unwanted content easily. Be sure to save your changes.


add a subpage.


If you would rather have individual pages appear in the left-hand side menu instead of within the Lessons tool, click More Tools and Add More Pages.

How to guide the learning process

You can define sequences of materials and require students to meet certain prerequisites before moving forward to new tasks or content areas. Via the Edit (pencil icon) next to associated items or via Settings (gear icon) at the top of a page, you can

  • require items
  • choose release dates
  • release items to only selected groups
  • hide items
  • add grading criteria.

The variety of settings depends upon the type of item being edited. For example, these are the settings available at the page level.



How to enable student content

The Lessons tool promotes active learning by allowing students to take polls, leave comments,  engage in peer review, and add their own content.

Using + Add Content, you can ask a polling question of the class, turn on commenting for a quick discussions, and allow students to create their own subpages, in which to build content for easy blogging and presentation of work.

The advanced features available for student content pages include

  • Anonymous pages
  • Peer review
  • Group pages
  • Grading


student content


This entry was posted on Friday, May 17th, 2013 at 6:00 pm and is filed under Content Delivery, Course Site Administration, Guides, Tool Guides, Updated Tools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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