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How can I allow a student to take (or retake) a test after the due date?

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Taking a test after the due date

If you want your students to take (for the first time) a test after the due date, you have a few options. As long as you still accept late submissions, the students can still take the test. Their submissions will simply be marked as late. You can also reset the Due Date under the settings. (See the first screen shot below.) Finally, for a high stakes test, you can set up a password so that only those who have the password can take the test.

testSettings_accept late


Retaking a submitted test

If your individual students have taken a test, and you allow them to retake a test after the due date, you can provide a “clean attempt.”

  • Select Tests and Quizzes > Published Copies
  • find the test and, from the Select Action pull-down menu, choose Score
  • locate the student’s name
  • click on “x ” (the “clean attempt” icon) for each student (See the screenshot below.)

After you have done that, those students will be able to retake the test prior to the retraction date.



How do I copy and paste from Word to Sakai?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

If you want to insert text from a Word document into the Sakai editor box, you must use the ‘Paste from Word’ tool to help keep the formatting clear.

First, in the Word document, highlight the desired text and then use Control+C (PC) or Command+C (Mac) to copy the content. Now, in Sakai, place the cursor into the editor box and then click the Paste from Word icon pictured below.

Paste from Word


This will open a Paste from Word box. Use Control+V or Command+V to paste the text into the box and click OK to finish.

paste box



Adding a library resources link to Sakai

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Using Sakai’s Web Content feature, you are able to add a new menu item in Sakai.

tool in menuWeb Content allows users to add a new menu item that is connected to a web address (or URL). It can either be a link to an external website or to an item in the site’s Resources. There are three different scenarios for using the Web Content tool: 1) create a menu item that links to an external web address (such as a department’s website or a YouTube video); 2) add menu items that link to entire folder(s) in the Resources tool; 3) link to an individual document in the Resources tool (i.e., HTML file with hyperlinks to other documents in Sakai). Watch this short video to see examples from Duke sites.

For instance, to add a URL ( to the site menu, in the relevant course or project site, click Site Info. At the top of the page, click Manage Tools. Scroll to the bottom and check Web Content. Click Continue.

manage tools tab


select web content and continue

On the next screen, enter a title (Reading List) and paste in the URL you copied (using Control-V for a PC or Command-V for a Mac). You have the option now to add more web content or click Continue.

customize web content tool

Review your changes and click Finish to finalize the tool.

What is assessment “Part” for?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

When you create a new test or quiz, a part (i.e., section) called “Default” is created automatically.

Part for quiz

If you leave it named “Default”, that title will not appear on your assessment; to change the part’s name, click Edit (located on the far-right side). You can begin adding questions immediately to “Default”, or you can add your own parts.

There are several uses for Parts in a test or quiz.

  • If you want a section of an assessment to be draw from a question pool, you will need a separate part.
  • Creating more that one part can control how the quiz displayed to a student. For example, to help students save work often while taking a test, you might display each part on a separate web page (see SettingsLayout and Appearance).

More on creating and using parts.



How can I find a specific site within Sakai?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

You can view and search all of your sites and change your site preferences by clicking on the Sites icon.

sites icon

finding sites, setting preferences

You can also conduct a search by going to My Workspace > Membership and change your site Preferences in My Workspace as well.

Can feedback be set to go out to students at specific time?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Yes, you can select a date to display feedback to students. In Tests and Quizzes, next to the title of the test, use the pull-down menu labeled Select Action to go to Settings. In the “Grading and Feedback” section specify the settings you want. You should only choose immediate feedback if this a review exercise; otherwise students can share or change correct answers.

You can also choose the types of feedback the students can see from that screen (scores, question feedback, etc.)

Note:  Selecting “Gradebook Options – Send assessment score to Gradebook immediately” will send scores to Gradebook immediately, regardless of feedback date.

feedback sent to students


How can students view comments that instructors provide on their assignments?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

From Gradebook, for Assignments, students can see grades and some instructor comments.

student view grade report assignment 1

To see additional instructor comments and instructor attachments on graded Assignments, students need to go to Assignments, and click on an appropriate assignment. The “Returned” in red next to the assignment’s title indicates the assignment has been graded and is ready for students to view. Students can see instructor’s comments added inline with their text in red, comments an instructor wrote in an additional instructor box, and any attachments added by the instructor.

student view grade report assignment 2


Sakai participant roles

Monday, August 1st, 2016

There are five participant roles in Sakai course sites, and they are Instructor, Teaching Assistant (TA), Course Builder, Student, and Visitor. Each role has different permissions. Some roles allow users to simply access or read content (e.g. the student role), while other roles allow for advanced changes, such as adding participants, adding or deleting the site’s content, and changing permissions for other roles within a site.

There are three participant roles in Sakai project sites. They are Maintain, Access and Visitor. The maintain role creates and distributes content, while the access and visitor roles are largely read-only.

What does each role do?

Instructor: Instructors have full permissions throughout the site, including the ability to publish the site. Instructors can read, revise, delete, add both content and participants to a site, set up forums, and create and grade assignments and tests.

Maintain: This role in project sites has the same permissions as the instructor in course sites. The major difference is there is no official roster associated with the site.

Teaching Assistant:

  • Same as instructor role for the following tools: blogs, chat room, drop box, email, email archive, forums, kaltura media gallery, lessons, modules, news, podcasts, polls, postem, questions and answers, resources, roster, search, section info, sign up, site info, statistics, syllabus, web content, wiki.
  • Assignments – TAs can only grade their own section(s) if assigned a section through section tool. Can deploy assignment to entire class or just to the TA’s section(s). For course wide TAs, their grading permissions will need to be defined in Gradebook (under Permissions) before they can grade any work.
  • Announcements – TAs can publish announcement to entire class or just the TA’s section(s)
  • Test and Quizzes –TA’s can only grade their own section(s) but can deploy tests to the entire class or any section/group

Course Builder: Course Builders can read, add, and revise most content, but cannot grade in Assignments, Tests and Quizzes, and Gradebook.

Student, Access:
Students can read content, and add content to a site where appropriate.

Visitor: Can read content and upload content only in certain tools. They are not in the Gradebook and any assignment or assessment they take will not be recorded.

How do I change roles for my existing participants?

You can change the roles of individual participants in your site. From Site Info, you will see its participant list. Next to the participant(s) whose role(s) you want to change, select the appropriate role(s) from the drop-down menu(s) under “Role”. Click Update Participants.  If you change your role away from “instructor”, you may not be able to change it back!

Change Role

If you have added additional users through Toolkits, please refer to this guide to determine if you need to change participant roles instead.

What are the differences between a Teaching Assistant and Course Builder?

Course Builders cannot grade assignments via Assignments and tests via Tests and Quizzes, and don’t have access to the Gradebook.

How can I assign my TA grading privileges?

For Sections:

Enable the Section Info tool and on the Section Info page assign TAs to sections. That enables them to view and grade their sections. Before assigning TAs, be sure that they have the role of teaching assistant in the participant list in “Site Info.”
Assign TAs to Section

For the entire course or ad hoc groups:

From the Gradebook, click Permission Settings, and choose a TA from the drop-down menu. Add a rule allowing that TA to ‘grade’ (first drop-down) the entire course or a certain group.

Assign TA to Sections



How can I make students’ posts on Discussion Boards invisible to the whole class until I read and approve them?

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Within a forum, create a new topic. Pose your question for the students in the topic description. In the topic settings, look for ‘moderate topic’ and click ‘yes’.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 9.26.14 AM

When students post to the topic, their post will be held for moderation. Below is a student’s view for one such pending message:

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.11.36 AM

You can go to individual posts and approve/deny them (approving makes them visible to the whole class) or you can go to the main page for all your forums and look for ‘pending messages’ on the top bar. Clicking that will allow you to choose which messages to post for everyone to see.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.12.43 AM

See More info about moderating messages in a forum.


Why can’t my students see documents in Resources?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Attachments within Sakai tools (e.g. the Syllabus and Forums) won’t open when the “read resources” permission (via Resources > Permissions)  is removed for students.  In Sakai attachments are stored in Resources in a sort of non-visible folder.

So, you should never uncheck the box associated to student read resources from the Resources Permissions. See the screenshot below.

location of the Permissions tab

Pointing at student read permission status, with the words "Never uncheck this"

If an instructor or a Project Site’s  “admin” want to close off access to the Resources tool to students, we suggest to go to Site Info -> Tool Order and make the Resources tool invisible to students instead.

Making a tool invisible to students means that regular users (like students) will not see the tool in the menu, but instructors, TAs, and course builders can still see and edit that tool. Links to items in a hidden tool are still active.

Steps to make tool invisible to students