From Information about Isaak, Brock University's Sakai-Based LMS
Frequently Asked Questions, and answers. Last updated: 3 03 2017
What is Isaak, Brock University's Sakai-Based LMS?
Sakai is a web based Learning Management System (LMS). It facilitates learning by creating private communities for the exchange of information such as dates, files, notes and other resources. The site also provides communication tools including mail and discussion boards. Sakai is Community Source, making it an open-source project.
You may also link to external web resources that are not part of the Isaak/Sakai.
Students are automatically added to courses through the Brock Registrar Office's records. All technical support for students is provided by the ITS Help Desk and Lab Advisors on campus.
How do I access Isaak/Sakai?
Why can't I login?
Students and Instructors require a valid Brock CAMPUS ID in order to access Isaak/Sakai. This is the same CAMPUS ID account used at the https://my.brocku.ca portal. Your CAMPUS ID initially needs to be activated. Your password needs to be changed every 120 days. If you are having any issues logging into Isaak/Sakai please go to https://my.brocku.ca to confirm that your CAMPUS ID is working.
For system or security reasons, certain activity may also lock an individual's account. If this happens the user is required to log into the https://my.brocku.ca portal before logging into Isaak/Sakai. Isaak/Sakai will give no specific warning that the account is being locked.
What is my Isaak/Sakai User ID and Password?
Your Sakai User ID and Password is the same ALPHA-NUMERIC CAMPUS ID and password that you use for your my.brocku.ca portal, Webmail, Computer lab, Wireless Internet, and library access. Use the my.brocku.ca portal, to find your CAMPUS ID by selecting the appropriate link under "Activate My Account, let me in...".
Student accounts follow the pattern: First Initial, Last Initial; last two digits of year you started at Brock University; followed by two random alpha characters. For example, Sir Isaac Brock's ID would look like this: ib16yz
More information about activating your account can be found at http://www.brocku.ca/business/current/graduate/computers-labs/mybrocku-ca-activation
How do I log in or reset, or recover my password?
Members of the Brock University community manage their own single password for all computer activities at Brock. Members are able to activate, change and reset their password via the https://my.brocku.ca portal. Passwords expire every 120 days. The date that a password expires is listed in the same "My Settings" section of the portal in which passwords are changed. The user will receive a notice of password expiration in accordance with the options selected in "My Settings"
- Your new password must be between 8 - 30 characters.
- Your new password must contain at least 3 different types of characters (i.e. lowercase, uppercase, numbers or special characters).
First time users of the portal will need to activate their portal account/CAMPUS ID by following the instructions on the my.brocku.ca login page. If you have forgotten your password students can follow the 'Forgot your student password?' link, instructors will need to contact their IT support person (Help Desk etc.).
Trouble shooting: Making sure your CAMPUS ID account is activated at the my.brocku.ca portal and that you know what your password is often helps with access issues. The act of changing your password can correct most access issues. If you cannot answer your secret question and need your password reset contact- ITS HelpDesk at 905-688-5550;4357 (toll free 1-877-244-2209 open 7:30 AM to 1:00 AM during the Fall/Winter tern on weekdays, closing at 11:00PM on weekends) or visit a computer lab advisor.
Tutorials on account and password settings can be found on the right of the login page for my.brocku.ca.
How to allow blocked content with Internet Explorer
When the content you are trying to access is blocked an alert should appear at the top of the web page. To allow the blocked content, right-click on this information bar and select "Allow Blocked Content". You may need to log out of that course and log back in for the change to take effect. To fix this permanently please refer to this article, Allowing Blocked Downloads.
Web browsers often block important pop-ups messages. This article, Allowing Pop Ups, describes how to allow them.
I don't want my "presence" displayed at the bottom right of each site
Online Presence settings can modified in the Profile.
Here's how you can limit who sees your presence:
- Enter My Workspace
- Select Profile
- Select Privacy
- Change "Who can see my online status?" to "Only my connections"
- Press Save Settings
Please note that you cannot communicate with other students you observe as being present in the course unless the instructor has enabled the appropriate communication tools, such as Chat Room or Forums. Be aware that even if a tool (e.g. the Chat Room) is on, instructors or students currently in the site may not notice your communications.
Can't open a file/What to do when prompted to choose an application to open a file
Most web sites will receive and distribute any file format. Issues do arise when students or instructors attempt to access files for which no program to open that file type has been installed. As a best practise we recommend limiting files to PDF and RTF (you can get a free PDF reader from Adobe and free PDF creator from here).
If you are unable to open a file from the web on your computer please consult the article Working_with_various_files:Best_Practices for tips and free programs.
Why won't audio files play on my PC?
Windows Media Player cannot be used to listen to audio files inside of private web sites. Please use QuickTime and set your preferences so that it is the default MIME application for audio file formats such as MP3s.
How do I hide or remove a course/tab?
If you'd like to change the order in which the course/tabs appear, or hide some of your course/tabs you can do so in the "My Workspace" area under "Preferences". More information can be found in the Preferences article.
Why can't I see my course?
If the tab for your course has disappeared there's a good chance site is accessible from the My Active Sites list.
You should be able to find all of your courses/tabs either in your first 4 tabs or in the “My Active Site” list at the far right of your course tabs. If you'd like to change the order in which the courses/tabs appear or hide some of your courses/tabs you can do so in the My Workspace area under Preferences. More information can be found in the article Preferences Overview.
Other reasons that you might not see a course:
- Students may not see a course because the course has yet to be published/activated by the instructor.
- The site may have yet to be requested by the instructor.
- Instructors: If you have mistakenly demoted yourself or removed yourself from a course please contact the CPI
Uploading & Submitting Files
Please remember when uploading a file to Sakai/Isaak that it must be smaller than 100Mb. Please also keep in mind that many Canadian internet service providers "throttle" down clients who are making use of peer-to-peer technologies.
- For generalized steps for students submitting files to Assignments, Assignment2 (TurnItIn) or Drop Box please see the article Complete and Submit Assignments.
- For more information about uploading files in general please see the article Uploading files.
Why can't I spell check what I type in Isaak/Sakai?
Pasting content from MS Word
Without some modifications along the way, simply copying and pasting from MS Word to the web often brings with it additional code/mark-up that makes it hard to read. The author of the content can avoid this by following these steps outlined in the adjacent diagram.
Replying to E-Mails from Isaak/Sakai
Some tools (e.g. the Announcements, Messages and Resources to name a few) in Isaak/Sakai send out 'real' E-Mails to @brocku.ca accounts. Please do not respond to these E-Mails, instead log into Isaak/Sakai and respond there. Most E-Mails include a link to do so. If you do respond to these E-Mails they will not be delivered. You will not receive a notification of non-delivery until five days later.
How to I stop E-Mail alerts from the Isaak/Sakai Forums tool
The Isaak/Sakai Forums tool will by default send an E-Mail to your Brock University E-Mail account whenever a message is posted to a Forum topic that you have already posted to. You can disable this feature by following these steps:
- From your site's menubar, click Forums.
- At the top, click Watch.
- Select No notification.
- Press Save
How do I reset or get back to the start of a tool
Sakai tools tend to "remember" what you were doing previously. This is as often a helpful feature although it may at times be an inconvenience.
Sakai is designed to function independently of your browser buttons. If you change your mind about a task, such as posting or a resource item, you need to rely on the buttons within the application to cancel the action instead of your browser's Back button. If you click the Back button before completing a task, then the next time you try to use that tool you may return to the uncompleted task; if this happens, you will need to click Cancel before you can do anything else in that tool.
How Long Can My Session Be "Inactive"
If 60 minutes elapse and the Isaak/Sakai system does not perceive activity by an individual, the session will be automatically ended and the individual automatically logged out. Automatic log out helps to protect the individual from unauthorized access to confidential information when the individual has concluded his or her work in Isaak/Sakai but has neglected to initiate the Logout link. If sessions were not ended because of inactivity, other persons using the same computer would have direct access to the first individual's Isaak/Sakai account.
There are some tasks in Isaak/Sakai that may potentially take longer than 60 minutes, but may not be perceived as activity by the Isaak/Sakai systems. Examples include drafting Forum posts or Messages. In these cases it is recommended that individuals save iterative/draft work by making occassional use of Save or Update options or, by simply copying contents locally.
More information on the support offered to students by Information Technology Service at Brock University can be found at http://www.brocku.ca/information-technology/contactus
I am an online distance education student, how do I get started?
For online learners, visit Online Learning for Students.
How do I print notes?
How do I see a message I posted?
Often web browsers cache (save a copy) of web pages that need to be updated. The simplest solution is to click "Reload". If that does not work you should close your browser and log back in and your post should appear.
I changed sections in my course but Isaak/Sakai doesn't reflect it?
Isaak/Sakai reflects the Registrar's records. If you change sections you must be sure to do it through the registration system at my.brocku.ca or with an administrator with access to Brock's official course records. Changes will be updated overnight.
Why isn't my course showing in Isaak/Sakai?
There may be a number of reasons why a course is not showing:
- You are not officially registered in the course. Check with the student portal at my.brocku.ca.
- The instructor has yet to activate the course, this course is in development.
- There may in fact be no Sakai/Isaak component for this course.
- You have registered for the course less than two business-days ago. The Brock University registration system takes some time to fully process a course registration.
- The course may be in the My Active Sites drop-down list
Instructors have the option to create Joinable Sites in Isaak/Sakai. These are sites that are separate from regular Brock courses that are populated based on the registrar's enrollment records.
Join a Site
To join a course or project site:
- In My Workspace, from the menubar, click Membership.
- Click Joinable Sites to see a list of all the available sites that you haven't joined. If you'd like to join any of them, click Join.
- The list is sorted by name, but the search box found at the top right will allow searching for a specific course.
- To search for a particular site or group of sites:
- Enter your search terms in the Search box.
- Click Search. Simply pressing Enter will not initiate the search.
- Click Join to join the site you were searching for.
- After you click Join the course you have just joined will no longer be listed, however, you will see the site you just joined if you click My Active Sites at the top of the page.
Unjoin a Site
Only sites that are not associated with the Brock University course calendar can be unjoined in Isaak/Sakai. Students who want to leave a formal Brock University course will have to do so within the https://my.brocku.ca/ portal or directly through the Registrar's office http://www.brocku.ca/registrar or a departmental advisor.
To unjoin a course or project site:
- In My Workspace, from the menubar, click Membership.
- Under "My Current Sites", you'll see a list of all the sites to which you belong. (This includes sites you have joined, and sites that you have been added to as a participant by the creator of the site.) If you'd like to unjoin any of them, click the corresponding Unjoin link.
How do I request a course for Isaak/Sakai?
At Brock University, the availability of an instructor's class roster is based on information drawn from the most current timetables offered by the Scheduling department of Brock University's Registrar's Office. If you would like to confirm your course assignment, we suggest that you contact the administrative support within your department.
Once a course site has been created in Isaak-Sakai, an instructor can assign to it any rosters of courses for which they are responsible. but class rosters are not assigned to a Isaak-Sakai site automatically.
How do I add a TA, Librarian or other instructor
You can add a TA or other instructor by going to the "Site Info" item on the left menu, then find "Add Participants" at the top. You will then be asked to enter the TA's user CAMPUS ID (AKA Badger ID or Brock E-Mail prefix) and press "Continue", check off "Teaching Assistant" or "Instructor" and press "Continue", choose if you want to notify the person you're adding by E-Mail and press "Continue". The addition will then be saved and you can press "Finish".
More information and a video can be found in the article: Add Participants.
How do I add the Gradebook to my course
The Isaak/Sakai Gradebook is a secure and private way to distribute grades to students.
TAs can be added as per this FAQ but must also be given further permissions to add grades under Permission Settings tab in the Gradebook. Instructors should be able to select the individual TA by name, press Add a rule and add a permission to either view or grade all or a selection of Gradebook categories and then press Save Changes.
Grades in the Isaak/Sakai gradebook are not submitted to the registrar's office or the https://my.brocku.ca Faculty Gradebook/Student Services. However the exported file available under the Gradebook's All Grades section can be imported.
Instructors may also want to review:
How do I add another tool to my course?
Using the Site Info tool, you can add, edit, or remove the tools on the menubar. To do so, follow the steps below:
- In your site, from the menubar on the left, click Site Info.
- Click Edit Tools from the grey menu across the top.
- Check the boxes next to the tools that you wish to add to your menubar; uncheck the box if you are removing a tool.
- Click Continue at the bottom of the page.
- On the confirmation screen, you will see a list of your site's tools and any changes you've made. If the list is accurate, click Finish.
More information about Isaak/Sakai tools in the main tools article.
How do I import content from another site?
More information and a video are available in the Import From Site article.
How do I add library database articles to Isaak/Sakai
Depending on the terms of the Library’s licence, you may either post the PDF of the article directly on Isaak/Sakai or link to it. To find out what a particular journal licence allows check the article How to tell if you can post or link to e-journal articles. To create a link, please consult the article Links to library databases.
What copyrighted materials may I post to Isaak/Sakai?
Refer to Brock University's Copyright Information page for information relating to copyright.
How do I get help putting my course online?
Contact the CPI through https://brocku.ca/pedagogical-innovation/about-ctlet/staff They are always happy to help instructors in-person, over the phone or via E-Mail free of charge.
Where do I add files to Isaak/Sakai
Instructors can add files to the Resources tool that is added to the left menu of every course.
How do I create a PDF file?
PDF files are almost always the best way to add files to Isaak/Sakai. You can find out more in the article Making PDF documents. You can download a free PDF creator for Windows at ctlet.brocku.ca/pdf.
Site Activation/Unpublished Site
Your site will be marked as unpublished and not visible to students until the activation date you selected when you requested the course. You can change this status via "Site Info" > "Manage Access". While your course is not published you will see a Publish a Site article.message at the top left. More information is available in our
How do I add or move students between secondaries? (Seminars, Labs & Tutorials)
After the add drop date or during the "auditing" period the registrar no longer tracks students in secondaries. Students can be added to lectures and moved between different seminar/labs/tutorials through Genesis and the student maintenance function. Lilly Biamonte is ITS contact for Faculty Gradebook/BrockDB/Genisis issues http://www.brocku.ca/its/whoweare/ais.php
If the secondary has reached its technical maximum students you will not be able to move students into it. Please contact ITS if this is your situation.
Any student additions or movement done directly in Isaak/Sakai will be undone the next time enrolment is automatically updated.
How do I release grades to students
At Brock University instructors can share grades with individual students privately and securely via a number of tools. The Isaak/Sakai Gradebook is one option. Once the tool is added (See How to add tools to Sakai for help) instructors can add a gradebook item and input the grades, or Give TAs in the course access to add grades. Once ready, instructors can release the grades to students (For more information see Making grades available to students).
Can I add this FAQ to my Isaak/Sakai course?
Please do! You can add this content to your Isaak/Sakai course via a Web Content tool. This can be added via "Site Info" > "Edit Tools" check-off "Web Content" and press "Continue" at the bottom. You can then enter the URL https://kumu.brocku.ca/sakai/FAQ (or the more clean formatted version, https://kumu.brocku.ca/sakai/index.php?title=FAQ&printable=yes) and a title like "Isaak/Sakai FAQ". You will then have a live updating FAQ added to your course.
Questions About Specific Tools
Questions about how specific tools work are found in their respective articles. All Isaak/Sakai tools are listed in the Sakai Tools article.
Frequently used tools include: