Getting Started

To prepare for a new semester, Instructors can modify course sites using included or added tools available in each site. The following are some tool-use suggestions to help Instructors develop their sites.

  1. Create a welcome announcement.
    An introductory message to students about the course is a good way for students to start preparing, too. It is also a way for students to get background information about Instructors and their courses. All announcements can be pre-created and released to students at a selected future date.
  2. Upload your class syllabus to the corresponding site.
    This can give students an idea of what to expect in, and from, the course. Syllabi can be added by uploading a file (.docx, .PDF, etc.) to the Syllabus tool. If changes need to be made, you can remove the current syllabus and upload a new version.
  3. Post your course files.
    Posting course files in advance saves time later, when you would be busier during the semester. You can organize files in folders or by their names. You can set available dates for files or folders by editing its Details.
  4. Build Lessons pages.
    Lessons is a useful tool that can organize and structure course materials for students. Text, files, images, videos, assessments, etc. can be added to any Lessons page. Additional main or sub-pages can be added, as well. Lessons can organize course materials chronologically or thematically. This tool can encompass an entire online course or complement a hybrid course.
  5. Set up your Gradebook.
    Creating a syllabus and grading plan are closely related. You can group graded items in Categories or display individual items to students in Sakai’s Gradebook tool. Items can be linked with tasks created in the Assignments, Tests & Quizzes and Forums. The gradebook can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet, adjusted throughout the course, and re-imported periodically to Sakai for students’ viewing.
  6. Publish your site.
    By default, courses are unpublished, meaning students cannot see the Sakai course site. Once you are ready to make the site available to students, you can publish it by clicking the (Publish Now) button that appears at the top of each Sakai site page.

The Announcements, Tests & Quizzes and Lessons tools can be added to sites by going to ‘Site Info’ and clicking the gray ‘Manage Tools’ button the top of the resulting page. 

The sections below contain various tasks for which a faculty member may need assistance, along with short descriptions, and a link to additional help pages. For individual assistance email

Course Site Management

Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Find a Sakai course site Course sites are created automatically 3 times daily once a student registers for a course. The instructor of record is given "Instructor" access to the Sakai course site. Search for Sakai sites
Import information from a previous Sakai site Use the 'Import from Site' function in the Site Info tool. Site Info
> Import from Site
Give registered students access to a course site By clicking the 'Publish Now' button in the top part of any Sakai site page, instructors can publish the site, granting student access to it. Site Info
> Publish
Give TA's site access To add a TA, instructors must add a student using the 'Add Participants' function of the Site Info tool, and, when prompted, assign the student the role of Teaching Assistant. TA's need to be aware that they are responsible for protecting students' privacy. Site Info
> Add a Participant
Give other BU users access to a course site Instructors can manually add BU users (faculty or staff) to their course sites using the 'Add Participant' function of the Site Info tool. Site Info
> Add a Participant
Remove old courses from site buttons Users may hide old course sites using the ‘Sites’ icon and the 'Preferences' button, accessed from any Sakai page. My Workspace
> Showing, hiding and ordering course sites
Republish a course after a term ends Most old course sites are automatically unpublished a few weeks into a new term. Instructors may republish course sites at their discretion. Site Info
> Publish

Content Delivery

Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Upload files In the Resources tool of a project/course site, select an option from the “Actions” drop-down box. Resources
> Working with files in Resources
Upload multiple files
  • Follow instructions in the “Transfer Files" tab in the Resources tool to set up WebDAV.
  • WebDAV is a program that allows you to easily transfer files and folders from your local computer to the Resources tool in your Home page, a course site, or a project site in Sakai.
> Uploading files to Resources using WebDAV
Embed links to  web sites Users may embed links to Internet web pages in the Resources tool, by selecting “Add Web Links (URLs)” from the “Actions” drop-down menu. Resources
>Working with web links in Resources
Add your Syllabus In the Syllabus tool, the "Add Item" and “Add attachments” functions allow instructors to type in a syllabus to a Sakai page, upload a syllabus file, or link to an online syllabus, e.g. one located on an external server or a file stored in the site’s own Resources tool. Syllabus
Add web sites to your Sakai site Web Content can be added from the "Manage Tools" function in Site Info. This function places web site materials as buttons in the left-hand side tool menu in the Sakai site. Web Content
Create content directly in Sakai pages Instructors can create course materials on Sakai pages reserved for that purpose. In the Resources tool, select "Create HTML Page" or "Create Text Document" from the "Actions" drop-down menu. Resources
>Create an HTML file
>Create a text file

Organize files in Resources tool Instructors may organize course materials within the Resource tool. For example, instructors may add folders, reorder resources, rename folders/files, and set role permissions in the tool for site participants. Resources
>Creating folders
>Changing the permissions for a folder in Resources


Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Provide secure access for students to view their individual grades Instructors can provide current grade information to students by using Sakai’s Gradebook tool. Gradebook
Allow TAs to post grades Enroll a student in your course site and assign the student the Teaching Assistant role. Section Info
> Adding, editing, or removing participants
Provide feedback for students Instructors can provide feedback to students in the Gradebook tool by adding comments to graded items. Gradebook
> Edit Comments
Create online assignments. Adding the Assignments tool allows instructors to create, distribute, collect, and grade online assignments. The tool can be added by using the "Manage Tools" function in Site Info. Assignments
Administer tests or quizzes online The Tests & Quizzes tool allows an instructor to create online assessments (i.e., tests and quizzes) and make them available to students or groups for completion. The tool can be added from the "Manage Tools" function in Site Info. Tests and Quizzes
Provide students means to reflect on their learning and receive feedback The Forums tool can facilitate student reflection and collaboration. It can be added by using the "Manage Tools" function in Site Info. Forums


Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Maintain a calendar with important dates Instructors can use the Calendar tool to create, organize and display events and activities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis during a course term. Calendar
Make an announcement to an entire class By using the "Add" function in the Announcements tool, instructors can inform students about current items of interest. Announcements can be posted to a site’s Overview page and e-mailed to students. Announcements
Conduct an online discussion with students outside of class time Forums is a communications tool that instructors can use to create and moderate online discussions on course topics. Forums
Conduct a real-time chat with students Instructors can use the Chat tool for real-time, less-structured conversations with students logged-on to a course site at the same time as the Instructor. Chat
Contact an individual student In the Email tool, an Instructor can choose to send a message to an individual students, a group(s) or other participants in a Sakai site. Email
Have students keep a journal for only the instructor to see Create Groups (one per student) in Site Info and its Manage Groups function. Then, use Forums and set Topic permissions to allow only the instructor and an individual group (student) to post to and read a Topic.   Forums
> Set Forums access and Permissions


Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Enable students to share digital material (documents, images, etc.) with classmates • Resources: Set up a folder in which students can add materials. Change its Edit Folder Permissions settings.

• Forums: Set up a Forum and Topic. Students can add attachments to their posts.
Enable students to do collaborative writing Instructors can add the Wiki tool, with "Manage Tools" in Site Info, to facilitate student collaboration within a shared web page or pages. Wiki

Presentation and Usability

Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Design a home page for your course site • Provide general or contact info.
• Give students learning prompts or highlight important or timely aspects of the course.
• Guide students to other areas of your course site such as Resources or Assignments.
• Place course materials in your site and put a link to them on the site Overview page in Site Information Display.
> Add content to a site Overview page
Add a Syllabus Add a syllabus by uploading a file or using the built-in text editor. Syllabus
Add photos Sakai users can add photos or images to their Profile tool on the Home button which can be viewed by others. Edit “My profile." Home
> Profile
Rearrange site buttons in the site navigation bar Instructors may reorder site buttons displayed in the site navigation bar (which appears at the top of each Sakai page) by using the “Sites” icon and related functions. Sites icon
> Site arrangement

Importing Content

Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Import tests or quizzes from a plain text file Tests and quizzes created in a text editor (such as Microsoft Word) can be saved as plain text files and imported into Sakai by using the "Create using markup text" function in the Tests & Quizzes tool. File questions must be formatted according to the "Instructions & Examples" shown. Tests & Quizzes                > Markup text

Project Site Management

Task Basic instructions Sakai Help reference
Create a Sakai project site Request a Sakai project site by completing an online request form. Request a Sakai site
Enroll Bradley users in a project site Users with the “Maintain” role can manually enroll persons with Bradley accounts in a project site by using the “Add Participants” function in Site Info. Site Info
> Add Participants
Request access to a joinable project site Sakai users may search for, and request access to, joinable sites from the Home tab and the Membership tool. To do a search, click the "Joinable Sites" tab in the Membership tool. Joining project sites
Remove old project sites from site navigation buttons As with course sites, users can hide old project site buttons using the “Sites” tool, accessed at top right of any Sakai page. > Showing, hiding and ordering project sites

List of Sakai features

The following table lists various teaching tasks common to online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses and maps those to the appropriate Sakai tool.

Teaching Task Related Sakai Tool and Action
Add a syllabus Use the Syllabus tool
Create a course introduction or orientation Use the Home page or the Lessons tool
Communicate instructions to students about new assignments or course materials Use the Announcement and Email tools
Create and deliver online assignments Use the Assignments tool
Create and deliver online exams or quizzes Use the Test & Quizzes tool
Have students peer-review other students’ work Use Peer Assessment within the Assignments tool
Have students complete group projects Use Group Submission within the Assignments tool
Share files, web links, and other course materials with students Use the Resources tool
Grade items and allow students to see their scores Use the Gradebook tool
Hold an asynchronous, online class discussion Use the Forums tool
Hold a synchronous class discussion Use the Chat tool or a video-conferencing tool that integrates with Sakai
Have students sign-up online for an office hours or other meeting appointment Use the Sign-up tool
Embed videos, links to Resources files or items, links to assignments, assessments and other content Use the Lessons tool
Deliver sequenced content Use the Lessons tool
Check student work for plagiarism Use Turnitin within the Assignments tool
Keep a calendar of class events Use the Calendar tool
Have students create a journal or blog Use the Forums or Blogs tool
Track student activity within a course Use the Statistics tool
Use publisher or external content Sakai supports integration with other systems
Assign students to groups to work on course tasks Use the Site Info tool to create and manage groups. Use other tools to create tasks.
Deliver end-of-term course evaluations online to students Use Evaluation System