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How do I weight grades in Gradebook Classic?

Monday, August 15th, 2016
  1. In Gradebook Classic, choose  “Gradebook Setup”
  2. Under “Categories & Weighting”, choose Categories & Weighting.
  3. In the text box that appears, type a name for the category you’re adding.
    Note: To create more than one category, click Add a Category.
  4. Next to each category name, under “%”, enter a number representing that category’s percentage of the final grade.Note: The total percentage must equal 100. Before you can save your changes, the “Running Total” must equal 100.0%, and the “Needed Total” must equal 0.0%.
  5. When you are finished, click Save Changes.

Adding Gradebook items to a category

After you create a category, you can assign Gradebook items to it. You can assign an item when you create it or by editing an existing item; see How do I add items to Gradebook Classic?

Note: When you assign Gradebook items to a category, keep in mind that items that are worth more points are already “weighted” more heavily. If you want all items to influence the grade equally, you must make them worth the same point value or use percentage grades.

See more on How grades are calculated in Gradebook Classic

How do I drop the lowest or highest grades in a category in Gradebook classic

Monday, August 15th, 2016

In Gradebook Classic – Gradebook Setup, choose Categories and Weighting.  A menu will open, below, where you can Enable Drop Lowest/Drop Highest/Keep Highest and then define the categories to which you want to apply the rule.

categories and weighting 1

categories and weighting 2


What is the difference between Gradebook and Gradebook Classic?

Monday, August 15th, 2016

A new Gradebook was made available in the Sakai 11 update. This is now the default tool that will appear in all sites.

Gradebook Classic will remain as a tool option for the coming few semesters in case you would like to have it in your course. For now, only Gradebook Classic supports official grade exports, but the new Gradebook does not.

On this site, you will find a few FAQs written especially for Gradebook Classic, but otherwise many functions remain the same.

Detailed instructions for Gradebook.

Detailed instructions for Gradebook Classic

How can I create a survey?

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

There are two choices for creating a survey in Sakai.

If you want students to respond to a single, simple question, consider using the Polls tool. It allows you to post one question at a time for students to vote on. Polls can be set to show the results of a poll always (even before taken), to show results after a response or after the poll has closed, or never. Student responses are anonymous.  Creating polls in Sakai.

If you want to create a survey with a set of related questions, use Test and Quizzes. Create an assessment and chose “survey” type questions. The answer point value is automatically 0. The survey type questions provide different types of answers (yes/no) or scales. Then, in Settings, under Grading and Feedback, select “anonymous grading ” if you wish.  If you want to see who responded (but not their answers), you can have the grades sent to the Gradebook (under settings — grading). You can also send a comment to the student even if you do not know which student has replied. Creating a survey in Sakai.

For more robust surveys, we recommend using Duke Qualtrics.  Find out more about Qualtrics.

Creating a Course Site

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Before starting the course setup process, please read these notes carefully.

  • If you select multiple courses or sections, they will be combined into one Sakai course site. To create separate course sites for each of your courses, repeat this setup process for each individual course. If you want to combine several enrollments (ex: include several lab enrollments in a lecture course) you can select all courses you want to combine.
  • If you select all rosters for a cross-listed site at once or choose a lecture plus all the discussion sections at once, the system will choose one roster as the name of the course. You can not edit the name later. If you would like to select one course as the title, choose only that roster now. Add the additional cross-listed rosters or discussion sections later from within the site. 

Only instructors or someone they appoint can create course sites. Please note staff members will have to do two extra steps to create the site. Students should not create course sites.

Log in to Sakai ( Go to Home and click Worksite Setup. At the top of the frame, click New.

New site

On the next page, click the radio button next to course site, then select the Academic term from the drop-down list. If you’re creating a course site for a school that uses a template (Nursing, Fuqua, Law or Divinity), select it from the Site Template options – otherwise, all Duke course sites should use Duke Default Course Template. Click Select Course.

select course

If you are listed as the instructor in the registration system, you will be able to put checks by the desired course roster(s). If you are a staff member setting up a course for an instructor,  you will need to select Add course(s) and/or section(s) not listed above.

Staff will now need to use the drop-down menu to select the subject, course, and section.



Staff members will have a second step of confirming they are authorized to create the site.




You will then see your new course site from the Sites icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page or in the list on the Home > Worksite Setup page.

finde site

Using the Syllabus Tool

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

In Sakai, the Syllabus tool can link to your traditional syllabus as a Word document or can allow you to create an interactive document that is both an outline for your course and the place for students to access materials. You can create a syllabus with links to different kinds of course materials such as readings, assignments, or forums.

To create a syllabus item:

  1. Enter the Syllabus tool.
  2. From the top menu on the screen, select Add Item.
  3. On the pop-up screen, enter a title for your syllabus item, and then enter your content using the editor box.
  4. When you are finished entering content, choose Add to save it to the Syllabus tool or Add and Publish to save it to the Syllabus tool and make it visible to students..

To edit a syllabus item:

  1. Open the Syllabus tool from the course menu.
  2. Hover your mouse over the title or content in the syllabus item – click the “pencil” icon to open a pop-up window that allows you to edit the materials.
  3. Click the “check-mark” icon at the bottom of the pop-up window to save your changes or the “x” icon to cancel.

To reorder syllabus items:

  1. Within the Syllabus tool, click Create/Edit.
  2. Click and drag the syllabus items to change their order.

To delete a syllabus item:

  1. Enter the Syllabus tool.
  2. Click the red “x” icon next to the item title to delete the item.

Adding content with the rich text editor:

The text editor allows you to add content in a number of ways. You can type in text directly or cut and paste text from another document. The editor box also offers advanced capabilities like hyperlinks to outside websites or direct links to content in Sakai like a test or forum. Learn more about the rich text editor.

Are you having trouble cutting and pasting a syllabus from Word? Special formatting like color and tables will be preserved if you convert the Word file to a Google Doc and then paste to Sakai.

To attach files:

To upload an attachment, such as a Word document, to a Syllabus item, first create the item, then clicl on the Add attachments below the item. There are several options for adding an attachment. You can add a file from your computer, link to a website, navigate to an item in the current course, or navigate to another site in Sakai. Please see the screen shot below for more information. If you navigate to an existing resource in Sakai, you will need to click on Attach a copy instead of clicking on the file itself (this will open the file).

When you have finished adding attachments, select Continue at the bottom of the screen to finish the process.

To redirect the tool to a URL:

If you want to use the Syllabus tool to redirect students to an existing syllabus on a website, rather than placing the content in the tool, itself, you can set the tool to redirect to a custom URL.

  1. In the menu bar, click Syllabus.
  2. Click Redirect and paste in the URL of the syllabus.
  3. Click Update to save your changes.



  • If you or your department have already prepared a syllabus, you can simply attach the file or redirect the tool to a URL.
  • You can make portions of your syllabus visible to the general public or just to members of your course.

If you decide to create an interactive syllabus

  • If you have a large number of readings/assignments/etc. (i.e. weeks 1-15), consider creating multiple Syllabus items so that it is easier to make edits later.
  • Before creating links to files in your Resources, be sure to organize folders so that it is easy to navigate to readings and files. Note: if you move linked documents to another folder or delete them, links in the Syllabus will be broken.
  • Once you create Syllabus items, you cannot hide the post from students. You can change settings elsewhere to make sure students don’t have access until necessary. For example, you are able to hide Resource folders and set up tests to only be available for certain dates. In those cases, students will get a broken link if they try to access materials early.

How do I add a syllabus?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

A syllabus can be added either as a document in the Resources area or in the Syllabus tool. With the Syllabus tool, you have the option to attach a Word or PDF file; redirect to a web site external to Sakai; or create a syllabus that links to readings and teaching materials that you have added to the Resources area, as well as link to assignments, tests and other webpages.

More about using the Syllabus.


If you’re copying your syllabus from Word, use the ‘Paste from Word’ tool to help keep the formatting clear and consistent.



How do I hide grades from students in Gradebook Classic?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

These instructions are for Gradebook Classic. If you are using Gradebook, please see these instructions.


In the Gradebook, grades from individual assessments, or the entire course grade can be hidden from students.

To hide the course grade, go to Gradebook Classic – Course Grade Schema and uncheck “Display course grade to students now”.

gradebook classic display course grade

If you want all items sent from Tests and Quizzes, Assignments, and Forums to be hidden from students in Gradebook, you can set them to be hidden by default. Under Gradebook Setup, uncheck Display released Gradebook Item to students.

gradebook classsic release items default

To hide a single Gradebook item, click Edit next to the name of the item in the Gradebook Items screen of Gradebook Classic.

gradebook classic hide gradebook item 1

Uncheck Release this item to Students.

gradebook classic hide gradebook item 2

How do I give feedback in Assignment?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Open Assignments, then scroll to the assignment you’d like to communicate with a student about. Select “Grade”. Scroll down to the student you wish to communicate with, and click on their name.  There are 3 ways to provide feedback to the students:

  1. Put your feedback into the Instructor Summary Comments box
  2. Type comments within the student’s submission using double curly braces to surround your text {{instructor text}}, so it will appear red.
  3. Attach a file containing feedback for the student.

More about grading assignments.

Download assignments to grade offline.

What is the difference between a ‘published’ and ‘unpublished’ site?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

A site only becomes visible when it is published. Course sites are unpublished by default. You have the choice to publish a project site during the site creation process, but you can choose to reveal it later. Unpublished sites are always available to users who have the role of instructor, teaching assistant, course builder, or “maintain” for project sites.

On the home page of an unpublished site, you will see a short link to make your site visible to regular users.

unpublished site

To edit later or adjust other settings, enter Site Info and select Manage Access and check the box next to Publish site. Click Update to finish.