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University officials encourage instructors to switch to Sakai

Almost a year after Sakai was introduced to the University community, more than 1,000 professors are still using Blackboard.

University officials said the failure to switch over is causing students to perform a juggling act with instructors using two different websites.

Kim Eke, manager of the Teaching and Learning Interactive office, said she hopes 80 percent of instructors will be using Sakai by fall 2012, with no new Blackboard sites created for the new semester.

“(Students) need to be able to find what (instructors) want them to read, access or do,” Eke said in the faculty executive committee meeting Monday.

Eke and Ruth Marinshaw, assistant vice chancellor for research computing, are working with University staff to make the transition smoother and more appealing.

Eke and Marinshaw listened to committee members as they pointed out specific problems with Sakai, which Eke said should be fixed with an upgrade to Sakai 2.8 in May.

“All features have resource costs associated with them, and we want to direct those resources toward the features that people believe would be the most useful,” Marinshaw said.

About 578 instructors must migrate to Sakai by fall 2012 to reach the goal of 80 percent.

Speakers at the meeting also addressed a proposal for the implementation of an online Honor Code training module.

“We’ve heard that students don’t feel like they know much about the honor system,” said Morgan Bolling, honor system outreach coordinator.

Incoming students would take the module in the form of a digital quiz about the honor system to educate them about University expectations, Bolling said.

“The Honor Court hears a lot of cases about inadvertent collaboration violations because students don’t know what falls under the code,” said Amanda Claire Grayson, incoming student attorney general.

Not taking the module will not be an acceptable excuse for violating the Honor Code, she said.

Some members of the council brought up the idea of using the module as a resource throughout the year as well.

Honor Court officials have created and edited a substantial draft of the module and will “soft launch” it in the fall, Bolling said.

“We want to explain why the Honor Code and abiding by the Carolina Way is important, rather than just saying how to avoid going to Honor Court,” Grayson said.

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