Update Notes: Isaak-Sakai 12

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[edit] Summary

Sakai 12 will become available at Brock University in early August, 2018. In contrast to last summer's update (to Sakai 11), changes that arrive with 12 will not aim to dramatically change your experience of Sakai but rather to streamline it. These include:

  • some general 'tidying' up of the interface;
  • some automation for making your new Sakai sites automatically appear
  • some needed efficiencies for the existing 'core' tools; and
  • and a small number of new features.

[edit] Highlights

[edit] Automatic favouriting/starring of new sites in the navigation space

New Sakai sites that you've created or in which you've been enrolled will automatically appear in the top navigation on any page while you're viewing Sakai. Using the Sites button, it will also be possible to favourite or un-favourite Sakai sites for an entire academic term rather than one by one.

[edit] Quickly attach and give grading permissions to TAs

Teaching Assistants have always held an important role within Sakai sites, but the steps to providing them with the technical permissions to grade or communicate with students have been complex. The new Assign TAs tool will allow Instructors to quickly connect TAs to all students within a Sakai site or more granularly by seminar group.

[edit] Offer extra time to one or several students in Tests and Quizzes

The steps to extending a test/quiz for one or several students in Sakai 11's Tests and Quizzes tool are complex. As a solution, Sakai 12 will offer the Exceptions to Time Limit and Delivery Date area while creating or editing tests so that instructors are able to accommodate students without the need for quiz duplication or the creation of custom groups.

[edit] Introducing the Commons tool

Commons is a new addition to Sakai's core line-up of tools and is analogous in spirit to Facebook's famous Wall feature. When used as an online assignment, students will be able to share and reply to short-to-medium posts that are available to all members within a Sakai site where Commons is enabled. Commons should be considered a less-structured alternative to the Forums tool or a simpler alternative to the Class Blog tool.

[edit] Improvements to the Lessons tool

The Lessons tool may usefully be regarded as a flexible Word document within your Sakai site through which a range of content can be made available to your students. This might include a set of modules for a fully-online course, an interactive syllabus, or simply a bulleted list of resources. A principal challenge with Lessons has always been its lack of approach-ability, an issue that is addressed in Sakai 12 with a considered rethinking of the Getting Started area that appears when opening a fresh Lessons page.

[edit] Some tidying of the user interface

Last summer's update to Sakai 11 made significant changes to the 'feel' of Sakai's user interface in order to become responsive to the smaller displays offered on smart phones and tablets. On some pages, the new feel was one of added clutter to parts of the interface that made visually navigating Sakai a little tougher. Sakai 12 will address this by grouping all site tiles into a more observable location and by placing the titles of tools in rows with tool icons.

[edit] Class Blog is being removed

The Class Blog tool is no longer being supported by the community of developers and institutions that build Sakai and will become unavailable at Brock after the upgrade to Sakai 12. The soon-to-be-added Commons tool may be an interesting solution for assignments in which students are asked to post updates or brief-to-medium sized passages for response or peer review. Also, much of the functionality of Class Blog can be replicated in the Assignments tool, Forums tool, or Lessons tool.

[edit] More information

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