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Exporting your Sakai site content

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

There are many cases in which you might need to save your Sakai site content: to create a backup of your site; to export your site’s materials to use in another application; or because your site no longer needed but you would like to archive the content for later use.  Some tools have export features, while others require different strategies.  Here is a tool-by-tool list of methods for saving your site’s content.


The easiest way to save all of your files in this tool is to compress them into a .Zip file, then download that to your computer.  Start by clicking the Actions menu next to your top-level folder.

The .zip file will appear at the end of all of your files/folder in Resources.  Click that file, then choose to save it to your computer.

To see the files that have been compressed into the .zip file, extract the .zip file by double clicking on it.


Both Gradebook and Gradebook Classic have Export features that allow for content to be saved in .csv format (opens in Excel).  Follow these steps which are nearly identical for both Gradebook tools.  Start by going to the Gradebook tool and clicking Import/Export in the menu.  Then, click on the Custom Export link (titled Advanced Options in Gradebook Classic).

Next, select the options for the content you would like to export and click Download Custom Export.

Tests & Quizzes

Assessments in Tests & Quizzes can be exported by using the Export option in the drop-down menu to the left of the assessment title.

The format in which you choose to save your exported assessment should be determined by your content.  Content Package is the most flexible option and should be chosen for assessments that contain attachments or HTML that references external files or content.  Otherwise, QTI is the most widely-used format and can be easily imported into many LMSes.  Hot Spot question types do not currently export.  Instead, they can be added to a question pool then shared, or imported into another site (using Site Info, Import from Site).

After choosing the best option for your content, click the Export button.

Keep in mind that these export-created files contain all of the questions and settings within a single file which can be imported into another system.  If you would like to save your assessments in viewable/readable format, saving the assessment to file, such as PDF via the Print dialog window, is a better option.  Exporting to file and saving as PDF provides the most flexibility when viewing content later.


The Lessons tool has the option to export content on Lessons pages and all related content to an IMS Common Cartridge file.  This will work with all major learning managements systems.  To use this feature, navigate to the Lessons tool and click on More Tools, Export CC.

If you would like to save your Lessons content in viewable/readable format, saving the page content to file, such as PDF via the Print dialog window (see below), is a better option.  Exporting to file and saving as PDF provides the most flexibility when viewing/importing content later.

Forums, Assignments, Announcements, and Syllabus, and other tools

In most cases, the information to be retained for forums, announcements, and other tools is the structure, naming, or text of that content.  The easiest way to save this information is to navigate to the tool and print that content to file, such as PDF.  Here is an example of how to save a Lessons page as a PDF through the Print dialog window using a Mac.

Another option for saving text content is to simply select the content, copy it, and paste the content into a word processing file such as Word or Page.  This is more time consuming, but could be a better option under some circumstances.

If you have issues or any questions as you work to backup/export your content, CIT’s consultants are available every week during our drop-in office hours held on Wednesdays 10 am – noon and Thursdays 1 pm – 3 pm (Bostock 024) and now on East Campus every Tuesday from 2 pm – 4 pm in Lily Library’s Computer Lab.

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

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

How do I edit what tools are available?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Enter Site Info and click  Manage Tools at the top of the page. Check or uncheck the tools you wish to add or remove, and then click Continue. Confirm the changes and click Finish.  NOTE: For some tools, you will be prompted to add additional information before finishing.

manage tools tab

Creating a Project Site

Monday, August 8th, 2016

NOTE: only Duke faculty, staff and students can create project sites.

Step-by-step instructions: Log in to Sakai ( Go to “Home” and click Worksite Setup.

Worksite setup

At the top of the “Worksite Setup” page, click New.

New site

On the “Site Type” page, select the button next to Project Site and click Continue.

project site

Then you will be asked to (1) review and accept the Terms of Service , (2) indicate the purpose of the project site you are creating, and (3) click Create Site to finish.

For the “Project Site Information” form, you are required to fill out the Site Title. (Note – the title is limited to 17 characters). You will also be prompted to provide a site description and given advanced options for URL creation. Note: The description can be changed later on the home page under “Site Info Display.”

Add project site info

At the bottom of the form, be sure to confirm the contact information for the site and hit Continue.

Site contact

The next page asks which tools should be available in your site. You do not have to choose all the tools you want to use at this time. You can always choose to add or remove tools by clicking “Site Info” and choosing “Edit Tools” within the project site.

choose tools

On the next screen, you are given the option to re-use materials from another Sakai site. This document provides detailed help if you wish to do this.

Reuse material from other sites

You will now decide who can join your project site and view its materials.

  1. Select Publish site to make it available to participants. If you don’t want to publish your site at this time, you can do it later through Site Info.
  2. Choose Private to allow only site participants to access materials. Choose Display in public site list to make the site searchable within Sakai and allow selected materials to be shared outside of Sakai.
  3. You can also allow your site to be “joined” by other Sakai users (students, faculty, and guests users) automatically. Check the box next to Allow anyone to join the site with a valid login id. Use the drop-down list to select a role for users who join your site. Access and Visitor give users a read-only role and Maintain allows users add and edit materials. You may edit the roles of participants individually later.
  4. Hit Continue to finish the page.

Select access settings

Under “Confirm Your Site Setup,” review your site information. To make changes, click Back. Click Create Site to submit your project site request. You will then see your new project site in the list on the “Worksite Setup” page and as a tab at the top of the page. If it is not immediately visible across the top, navigate to your site via the More Sites tab and then use the scroll bar to find the list of your project sites (or use the search box).

Finding your created project site


How do I use the rich text editor?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

The rich text editor (also known as the WYSIWYG editor) appears in many of the tools in Sakai.


Much like in Microsoft Word and other applications, you can control the appearance of your text using the editor box. You can bold text, add bullets or tables, and much more. The toolbar has specialized icons to create links to web addresses, files in your resources, and insert images. This guide shows some of the advanced functionality in the editor box.


To make the editor box larger, click the expand button in the toolbar. You’ll need to hit the button again to minimize the box.

Expand and minimize editor box

Copy and paste

You can copy and paste text from another file (e.g., an HTML file or a Word document).

Note: Pasting text from Microsoft Word directly into the editor box may result in garbled output, even if the text appears correct in the editor. Instead, to insert formatted text from a Word document, first click the Paste from Word icon.

Paste from Word

Then you can paste using Ctrl-v or Command-v into the Paste from Word box.

paste box

Or you can also type text directly into the editor box and use options like font, numbering, fill color, and spacing to format your document.


Losing colors and other special formatting when pasting from Word? Convert the document to a Google Doc first and then cut and paste into Sakai.

Add links

You can add links to an outside web page or an item within several Sakai tools (Resources, Tests and Quizzes, Assignments, and Forums). It is possible to link to items within the current site or any other site you own. You also have the option to upload a new document from your computer.

First type the link text and highlight it. Then you should click on the link button (world icon) in the editor.

adding linked text

At this point you can either type in a web address or navigate to an item in one of your Sakai sites by choosing Browse Server.
Enter URL or browse


You may now search in four different tools in your Sakai sites to find content. You can also add new resources directly. We recommend adding resources before creating links to ensure your materials are well organized in the Resources tool itself.

View the content by double clicking the folder, choose an item, and then click OK.

Double click on item

Click OK to finish when the Link box appears.

Click OK to finish

NOTE: If you attach a file from one of your other sites (including a project site or My Workspace), your site participants won’t be able to view it unless you chose Display to non-members (publicly viewable) in that file’s properties.

Insert an image, audio file, or video

Warpwire is a tool in Sakai that allows pictures, audio files, and videos to be played directly within Sakai. In comparison, if these kinds of files are added to Resources, students must download the file and play it with an application on their computer (such as iTunes).

Insert image or Warpwire video

To insert a streaming Warpwire file,  you will need to have the tool added already to your site and have content added. Click on the Warpwire button in the editor box. Check the radio button next to the appropriate file(s) and click Add Items to finish. The item(s) should now appear in the editor box. Please note, that the Warpwire button does not work in the following tools: Resources, Drop Box, Site Information Display, and Email. You can also embed an image in the editor box using the add image icon and browsing to a .jpg or .png files in your Resources.



Gradebook Basics

Monday, August 8th, 2016

View detailed Sakai 11 Gradebook documentation


  • Scores may either be entered manually or sent directly from tools within Sakai (Forums, Assignments, Lessons, Tests and Quizzes).
  • Instructors have the ability to enable categories and weighting, drop highest/lowest grades in any category, create extra credit items, and override any course grade.
  • It is possible to export/import spreadsheets from other programs like Excel with the help of a template.
  • Grade columns can be moved by dragging and dropping.
  • Teaching staff may hide the Gradebook, grade items, and/or course grades from the students.
  • The Gradebook in Sakai does not support letter grading if categories and weighting are enabled.

Gradebook Layout

The spreadsheet layout of Gradebook makes it simple to edit grades and settings from the main screen. Drop down arrows reveal extra options (such as moving a grade column or see a student’s grade log). There are ways to filter the view by student, group, section, or category.

grading tables

Gradebook Settings

From Permission and Settings you can control overarching rules — the grading scale, the grading formula, and who has permission to grade in your site.


  • You must enter points into the Gradebook if you intend to send grades from other Sakai tools.
  • If you want to drop the highest or lowest grades in a category all of the items must be of equal value.


Adding Gradebook Items

Manually added items (final papers, in-class tests, etc.)

From the main screen of the grade book, click Add Gradebook Item to start. You’ll need to choose the point value, the weighted category (if using) and whether to release the item to students or add to course grade. From the main screen, you can then use the spreadsheet to enter grades for the new item. Using the down arrow or return will save the grade and move onto the next student.

You can choose to make items extra credit (read more).

Grades from other Sakai tools (Tests and Quizzes, Assignments, and Forums)

Within the settings of Tests and Quizzes and Assignments be sure to choose to send scores to Gradebook. You’ll need to go back to the tool to edit any grades. A gray lock icon will appear if the gradebook item needs to be edited elsewhere. For Forums only: create an item first in Gradebook, and then go to Forums to grade.


lock icon

Import a spreadsheet

If you choose to use another program to track grades and then upload them into Sakai later, please download the spreadsheet template (under Export/Import Grades). Be sure not to edit the columns with the students’ names or IDs. When you add a new item, simply enter the name and points in brackets [10] in a new column. Then enter the scores below. Ready to upload grades? Import instructions



How can I “undo” combined courses or sections?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

During the course creation process, you can select multiple courses or sections and combine them into one Sakai course site. If you accidentally create a combined course, or you change your mind later, you can ‘undo’ the combined course site:

Go to the combined course site and via Site Info > Edit course Roster(s), place a check next to the course(s) or section(s) that you want to remove, then click on Remove Selected.edit roster

edit roster2


Why can’t students see my course site?

Friday, August 19th, 2011

There are a few reasons why students may not be able to see your course that you have already created:

  1. The site has not been linked to an official student roster. To link a roster to your course, enter Site Info and click Edit Class Roster(s) and Add Roster(s).
  2. The site needs to be published so that it is visible to enrolled students.
  3. Student rosters are automatically updated in Sakai, but changes are not made immediately. To add new students immediately or non-registered students, enter Site Info and chose Add Participants. More about adding participants