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Frequently Asked Questions, and answers. Last updated: 9 06 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.

Existing web-based materials can be uploaded to Sakai. Content, such as PowerPoint files, can be converted to PDF or other formats and added to Isaak/Sakai.

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?

Sakai is located at . You may login using your valid Brock University Email and password.

Why can't I login?

  • Students and Instructors require a valid Brock University Email in order to access Isaak/Sakai.
  • If this is your first time logging in it's possible your account is not yet activated. Ensure you can login to the Brock portal at before trying to login to Sakai.
  • Your password needs to be changed every 120 days. It's possible it's expired. Try logging into to be sure.
  • 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 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 your Brock University Email and password. This is the same account & password that is used to login to Office 365.

More information about activating your account can be found on the Brock Portal Students Faculty & Staff

How do I log in or reset, or recover my password?

Passwords are reset, recovered and restored via the portal
Passwords are reset, recovered and restored via the portal

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 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"

To reset your password go to the portal and login using your alphanumeric CAMPUS ID (e.g. ib18bu) or student number. Next go to 'My Settings', and change your password.

The date that a password expires is listed in the "My Settings" area.
The date that a password expires is listed in the "My Settings" area.

  • 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 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 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

How to allow blocked content with Internet Explorer

Check for this message at the top of the page, click the message to allow the download.
Check for this message at the top of the page, click the message to allow the download.

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.

How do I hide or remove a course/tab?

Add/remove from favorites
Add/remove from favorites
You can control which sites are listed in your Favorites (top red bar in non-mobile view) by adding or removing the star icon to the left of each site in the Sites drawer.

How to hide course/tab
How to hide 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 Organize Favorites area of the Sites drawer (top right).

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 Sites list at the top right of Isaak-Sakai. Press the star icon to add sites to your list of favorites.

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 Sites 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

Why can't I spell check what I type in Isaak/Sakai?

The innate spell check for the Text Editor used by tools like Forums and Messages is not turned on in Sakai/Isaak.

The Text Editor article contains potential work-arounds for Internet Explorer and Firefox. The built-in spell checkers in Apple Safari and Google Chrome work.

Pasting content from MS Word

Select and copy the content in MS Word, press the "Paste from Word" button and place the cursor in the subsequent "Paste from Word" text box and paste the contents.
Select and copy the content in MS Word, press the "Paste from Word" button and place the cursor in the subsequent "Paste from Word" text box and paste the contents.

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.

More information about the common Text Editor in Isaak/Sakai can be found in the Text Editor article.

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 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:

Forums E-Mail notifications are controlled under Forums > Watch
Forums E-Mail notifications are controlled under Forums > Watch
  1. From your site's menubar, click Forums.
  2. At the top, click Watch.
  3. Select No notification.
  4. Press Save


Students with questions about Isaak/Sakai or questions about anything else to do with residence technologies (telephone, network, cable TV), passwords and wireless are encouraged to stop by the Student Support Desk in the Computer Commons Help Desk in Scotiabank Hall or call 905 688-5550 ext. 3778 Hours
Students with questions about Isaak/Sakai or questions about anything else to do with residence technologies (telephone, network, cable TV), passwords and wireless are encouraged to stop by the Student Support Desk in the Computer Commons Help Desk in Scotiabank Hall or call 905 688-5550 ext. 3778 Hours

More information on the support offered to students by Information Technology Service at Brock University can be found at

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?

Notes can be put on Isaak/Sakai in any number of formats from PowerPoint files to HTML, PDF and everything in between. There is a different strategy for each file type. Contact a Lab Advisor.

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 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:

  1. You are not officially registered in the course. Check with the student portal at
  2. The instructor has yet to activate the course, this course is in development.
  3. There may in fact be no Sakai/Isaak component for this course.
  4. 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.
  5. The course may be in the Sites list which is revealed by clicking Sites at the top right.

The course site may be in the Sites list which is revealed by clicking Sites at the top right.
The course site may be in the Sites list which is revealed by clicking Sites at the top right.

Joinable Sites

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.

Joinable sites are published to a list of Joinable Sites in the Membership tool. Interested students can browse the Membership tool, find the site and click to join any site that interest them.

Join a Site

To join a course or project site:

  1. In My Workspace, from the menubar, click Membership.
  2. 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.
  3. To search for a particular site or group of sites:
    1. Enter your search terms in the Search box.
    2. Click Search. Simply pressing Enter will not initiate the search.
    3. Click Join to join the site you were searching for.
    4. 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 portal or directly through the Registrar's office or a departmental advisor.

To unjoin a course or project site:

  1. In My Workspace, from the menubar, click Membership.
  2. 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?

Course requests can be made by instructors directly in Isaak-Sakai within the Sites area or via the Site Setup tool, found in My Workspace.

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. Please note that class rosters are NOT automatically assigned to an Isaak-Sakai site.

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.

The Gradebook tool can be added as per this FAQ.

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 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:

Click the image above to view large image of the Manage Tools interface
Click the image above to view large image of the Manage Tools interface
  1. In your site, from the menubar on the left, click Site Info.
  2. Click Manage Tools from the grey menu across the top.
  3. Check the boxes next to the tools that you wish to add to your menubar; uncheck the box if you are removing a tool.
  4. Click Continue at the bottom of the page.
    • If you're adding the Lessons, News or Web Content tools, the Customize Tools screen will provide you a chance to make certain changes such as adding a title. When you're finished, click Continue.
  5. 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?

Once your course has been created and you have added all the tools that you want to import to (via Site Info -> Edit Tools) you can use the Import From Site option in Site Info.

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 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.

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  ! unpublished site message at the top left. More information is available in our Publish a Site article.

How do I add the official class enrolment to a site

The Instructor(s) of record can add a class roster to an existing course site by navigate to the site and follow these steps:

  1. Open the Site Info tool.
  2. Click Edit Class Roster(s).
  3. Click Add Roster(s).
  4. From the drop-down menu, select the appropriate academic term.
    Example of an instructor selecting the rosters assigned to them
    Example of an instructor selecting the rosters assigned to them
  5. If you are listed as an instructor of record courses within the selected term, those courses and their sections will be listed. Check the associated boxes to the left of each Roster you would like to add to this site.
  6. Click Continue
  7. Click Add Class(es)

How do I remove enrolment from a site

Instructors can remove a roster already assigned to a site to facilitate reorganizing site access or to correct a mistake.

  1. Open the Site Info tool.
  2. Click Edit Class Roster(s).
  3. Review the rosters listed
  4. If there are any additional/unwanted rosters select the “Remove” check box the corresponds on the right
  5. Click Remove Selected

This should immediately remove the additional roster and any associated students and instructors. The Instructor of Record can re-add the roster at any point.

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

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).

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:

Image:House.png Home, Image:Flag blue.png Announcements, Image:Page edit.png Assignments, Image:User comment.png Chat Room, Image:Folder page.png Drop Box, Image:Comments.png Forums, Image:Report.png Gradebook, Image:Comment.png Messages, Image:Folder.png Resources, Image:Calendar.png Schedule and Image:Application lightning.png Site Info.

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