Among the many changes, a new Sakai feature includes the capability to organize class sites within Sakai. A mobile-friendly interphase design was the most significant change.
“That was really one of our largest factors in deciding to go ahead and upgrade,” said Suzanne Cadwell, ITS director of teaching and learning.
“That and the new gradebook tool that works much more like a spreadsheet and is really much more intuitive for faculty and TAs to be able to use.”
This gradebook tool includes new gradebook analytics and a drag-and-drop feature.
Sakai now has an auto-save feature to prevent words from being deleted when you type, as well as a feature that allows people to post comments anonymously on discussion posts.
Cadwell said the update took place over winter break so that students and faculty would not be barred from accessing the website during the semester.
Cadwell said it took a little over nine hours to update the Sakai site.
“It took dozens of people’s time and some time over the summer and fall to really be able to get Sakai to that day when we upgraded,” Cadwell said.
Cadwell said ITS has been hosting sessions for faculty members to learn how to use the site and its new features.
“We have had a number of workshops and drop-in sessions and opportunities for one-on-one consultation,” she said.
“Our team will make arrangements to actually go and meet a faculty member in his or her office to help them as well.”
Students have responded positively to the changes after using the site through the first day of class.
First-year Jenny Montoya said she thinks the website is a lot more organized.
“I like it a lot, especially the section where you can star what classes you want and don’t want,” Montoya said.
“As a first-year student, I haven’t been exposed to many prior versions of Sakai, like other students have, but I’m sure that as I use it throughout the semester I will notice things that could be improved.”
Tarik Woods, a first-year student, said he thinks the update looks great so far.
“Using it last semester and coming in new, there was a lot of trouble finding things that were hidden that are now open tabs,” Woods said.
“I like how it sends you more notifications to your email when things are updated by teachers.”