On December 20th, 11am to 3pm, CSC Online will be upgraded from Sakai 10.5 to Sakai 11.4. This upgrade will bring CSC Online to the current version of Sakai which is supported by the developer community. Sakai 11 offers many exciting improvements for Chadron State College faculty and students.
Improvements in Sakai 11
- Mobile User Experience – Completely mobile friendly with no need to install an app. Students and faculty may use, access, prepare, and submit coursework using any major mobile browser. Learning on the go has never been easier for CSC Online students!
- Modern User Interface – Revamped user interface with a new modern look-and-feel.
- Lessons Tool Improvements – Many updates for all users, including responsive design for mobile devices and new page layout options.
- Content Package Import – Quickly migrate content from Modules to Lessons.
- Gradebook NG – A brand new Gradebook provides a new and efficient grading experience for faculty. Complete your grading directly in a spreadsheet style interface. The old Gradebook will continue to be available.
- Accessibility Compliance – Includes several updates fulfilling the most recent accessibility standards.
- Performance and Stability – 3000+ bug fixes and system improvements. Sakai 11.0 was released in July 2016, and 11.4 was released in June 2017 (11.4).
Learn More: Webinar – “What’s New in Sakai 11”
Learn More: Lessons Tool Workshop
In addition to the webinars, the TLC’s Elizabeth Ledbetter will conduct a hands-on TLC Workshop, Course Design Using Lessons in CSC Online focused on the Lessons tool. Learn how to effectively utilize the Lessons tool to organize your course content for enhanced teaching and learning. Participants will also learn how to use the new import functions to quickly migrate content from Modules (old lessons).
This workshop is offered:
- Tuesday, Nov 21 @ 2:00 – 3:00 pm: Register for this session
- Wednesday, Nov 22 @ 10:00 – 11:00 am: Register for this session
- Thursday, Nov 30 @ 3:30 – 4:30 pm: Register for this session
Updated – 5/6/16
We’ve been made aware of some confusion or concern regarding this article. Please allow me to help clarify some of the major points. I will continue to update the article as new questions are raised.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Wait, what’s happening?!
- The Modules tool will eventually be removed from Sakai. It has not been actively supported by the community since 2014. We want to get started training people on Lessons and moving content away from Modules before it goes away completely.
- What is Lessons and Modules? The titles are confusing and were changed recently.
- Modules is a Sakai tool that was called Lessons prior to the Sakai 10 upgrade in March. The majority of courses taught in Sakai still use Modules to display course lesson plans.
- Lessons is the tool that was previously called Lessons Builder prior to the upgrade. In other words, before March 2016, you were calling the Modules tool “Lessons” and the Lessons tool was called “Lessons Builder”.
- This was a confusing, but very necessary change, to upgrade CSC Online to the community supported version of Sakai.
- What will faculty (course owners) need to do?
- All content that is currently in Modules will eventually need to be moved to the Lessons tool. Faculty will be responsible for moving their content, however, we will release a conversion tool and support documents to make this easier.
- How long do we have?
- We are hoping to accomplish this before August 2017.
- What happens after August 2017?
- After August 2017, the Lessons tool will be completely used in place of Modules. The Modules tool will still remain in the system for the time-being (for archival purposes), however it will be removed when CSC Online is upgraded to Sakai 11.
- Is this another name change?
- No, we are abandoning Modules and moving to Lessons, these are two separate tools.
- How do we transfer content before course shells are created?
- Fall course shells are planned to be created in June each year, Spring shells in October.
- For courses taught on rotation or other non-active sites, instructors may need to work in the most recent version of the course to move content from Modules to Lessons. This way, Lessons will be ready to import into the active shell when the time comes.
— Original Article —
The next critical step in our on-going initiative to improve CSC Online is abandoning the Modules tool. We are turning our attention to the Lessons tool (formerly known as Lessons Builder) which is actively supported by the Sakai developer community. Lessons provides a much-improved student learning experience and allows instructors to present course content in a more organized way. Currently, several faculty and adjunct instructors are successfully using this tool to teach courses in CSC Online-Sakai.
By August 1, 2017, all CSC Online courses must exclusively use the Lessons tool. On this date, the Modules tool will no longer be available. CSC faculty members play an important part in this transition, and we request their assistance to successfully make this change.
In the coming weeks, the TLC will provide tools and resources to help course owners and instructors migrate content from Modules to Lessons and archive all other vital content. Watch for several announcements regarding tools and resources for migrating/archiving Modules content as well as training on the new Lessons tool features. Many of these tools and resources are courtesy of the past hard work contributed by Sakai community members.
Listed below are three resources to help get started using Lessons (links open in new tab):
- Longsight: Sakai Instructor Guide – Lessons
- Duke University: Getting started with the Lessons tool
- Sakai Project Confluence: Lessons features and specifications
The timeline for completing the migration from Modules to Lessons follows:
|Description of Goal||
|Training and consultations on the Lessons tool (Lessons Builder) and migrating course content from the Modules tool||
Offered Continuously (TBA)
May 2016 – July 2017
|Active term courses are using Lessons||
|Lessons will replace Modules as the default tool in Sakai shells (but will continue to work in past term courses)||
Prior to Summer 2017
|Modules content archived in all courses (past and current terms)||
|Modules tool no longer available as a tool option in Sakai sites||
|Modules is removed from the system||
Prior to Sakai 11 Upgrade (TBA)
For questions about the migration away from Modules, or other CSC Online – Sakai topics, contact the Teaching and Learning Center IT specialist Sam Ballard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 432-7089.
This year, the TLC did something new. In its first year sans director, it took a page out of Plato’s Apology, and decided to examine a slice of life (2015-2016) – both to get a sense of what it does well and what it could do better. At the core of this self-examination is an important principle: utilization. As a service unit of Academic Affairs, TLC staff want to understand how their services are being used. Simple tracking strategies are able to tell us how often services are used and for what reasons. It’s assessment at its most basic, but it does give us some basis for extrapolating on faculty interests in pedagogical strategies and instructional technologies.
This year the TLC facilitated five mostly faculty-led seminars, with an overall attendance of 40 faculty and staff. There were a variety of topics, including verbal Judo, RSS, active learning, the science of student mindsets, and academic study tables. The nine faculty who led the seminars included Jamie Wada, Ann Buchmann, Joyce Hardy, Wendy Jamison, Beth Wentworth, Jesse Sealey, Josh Ellis, Susan Schaeffer, and Kurt Kinbacher. We were pleased to see participants from so many different disciplines with such a broad range of teaching experience (assistant professors to full professors).
Additionally, six multi-session workshops (some of which ran encore performances) provided hands-on and technology-infused instruction. Topics included Turnitin, high-impact practices, Sakai’s Lesson Builder tool, screencasting, object-based learning, and academic blogging. A total of 30 faculty and staff attended these sessions, while seven staff members from the TLC, LLC, and Sandoz Center facilitated and assisted with the sessions: Matthew Perrie, Susan Hines, Elizabeth Ledbetter, Jereme Patterson, Sarah Polak, Christine Fullerton, and Sam Ballard. The workshops – even the under-enrolled ones – have clearly elevated the skillsets of some faculty, but, more importantly, they have spurred closer connections between faculty and staff, which, we hope, will lead to more productive partnerships.
This August, the TLC will launch its first Summer Institute, a two-day event that focuses on online course revision and e-pedagogy. The author of Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester, Aaron Johnson, will be on hand for “Tuning Up Your Online Courses.” The institute (which is limited to six participants, due to space and workstation restrictions) is currently full, but we’re already considering an encore. If you’re interested, contact the TLC’s ID Specialist, Elizabeth Ledbetter (email@example.com).
Like any sports enthusiast with a Fitbit, the numbers say something about overall health at a given point in time. Now that the TLC knows its numbers for the academic year (a grand total of 16 facilitators and 70 participants), the goal in 2016-2017 is simply to increase them and to expand its multiuse, presentation, media-development, and training spaces so that more faculty and staff can be accommodated. We are also very keen to keep the quality high and are experimenting with seminars that dovetail into publishing, such as Kurt Kinbacher’s “Academic Study Table,” and publishing that dovetails into book-club gatherings, such as the academic Book Review Club recently proposed by Josh Ellis.
While the TLC has been more focused than usual on its program offerings, which in addition to seminars, workshops, and institutes, include New Faculty Orientation and, beginning this summer, a Faculty Fellows program, it checks in on a number of its other numbers as well. These include data on:
- LMS (Sakai) stability and utilization
- LMS (Sakai) support utilization
- instructional design support utilization
- mediated-classroom support utilization
- mediated-classroom utilization
- web-conferencing and lecture-capture utilization
- academic web utilization
- TLC Blog & Website utilization
- subscription service utilization (Quality Matters & Lynda.com)
- TLC Library utilization (books and, beginning this summer, equipment circulation).
Currently, our utilization reports are monthly, but data will be aggregated into semester and annual reports. So, if you’ve ever been curious about Sakai’s uptime vs downtime or would like to know more about LMS user and ticket statistics, the reports are now available on the Reports page of the TLC Blog. There’s a bevy of other interesting facts to glean, such as how many people use Vidyo and how often or what MAP sub-priorities are advanced through TLC seminars, workshops, and institutes. You can even find out about hot-ticket TLC Blog posts or learn what percentage of faculty have received basic training in Quality Matters.
Thanks to a recent upgrade, CSC Online-Sakai is now powered by one of the most actively developed open-source learning management system (LMS) platforms available. On March 7th, between 6am and 2pm, CSC’s LMS hosting partner, Longsight, successfully moved the CSC Online codebase to the community version of Sakai v10.5. As online programs grow at CSC, the technology supporting them must also grow. This upgrade was an important step in providing a stable and economically sustainable online learning platform. A huge thanks to all faculty, staff, and students for bearing with us as we completed this major upgrade and for providing valuable feedback.
Moving a heavily used, hosted application to a new codebase and software version is no small feat. The project requires many hours of planning and testing. The goal in any major application platform update is to identify and fix all major issues before the new software instance is launched to end users. In this regard, the March 7th upgrade was a resounding success. However, there were several minor issues; these were reported and swiftly resolved (within 12-48 hours in almost all cases) in the days immediately following the upgrade.
With application updates come new opportunities to make the experience better for all users. This experience is extended to the CSC Online-Sakai students in the form of building more engaging courses with better tools. Some of the new features offered in Sakai 10 were discussed in a previous blog post. Additionally, Longsight offers extensive documentation and tutorials covering all features and tools available for instructors to use in Sakai. All faculty are encouraged to read the Sakai 10 Instructor Guide.
The TLC will continue to coordinate rolling updates and improvements to CSC Online-Sakai in a timely manner. A rolling (non-disruptive) incremental update to Sakai 10.6 is planned for the near future and will provide approximately 100 bug fixes and enhancements. Since this is an incremental update, users will not experience downtime. For more details about Sakai 10.6 and a list of all improvements visit the Apereo Sakai 10.6 release webpage.
As an added benefit to aligning CSC Online’s Sakai instance with the community codebase, we are able to track changes and find out about current developments within the Sakai community. For example, see what’s planned for Sakai 10.7.
Thanks to the update, the TLC is actively working to include several commonly requested vendor integrations including EBSCO Curriculum Builder, McGraw Hill Campus/Connect, and Cengage products. Additional details on these integrations are forthcoming.
As always, contact Sam Ballard in the TLC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 308-432-7089 with any questions about CSC Online.
As an online instructor in Sakai, you may often need to add additional faculty or staff members to your courses. As the site owner, you have the ability to make these changes yourself—without contacting the Sakai administrator.
For instance, you may need to add a colleague to your course in order to team teach or share content. Additionally, you may need to add staff members, such as teaching assistants or course designers, to assist with managing your course. The step-by-step instructions below make the process quick and easy. Read Full Post
Faculty and Staff:
February is generally a fleeting month and full of diversions (Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, Black History Month and days commemorating presidents, St. Valentine, and a ground hog).
However, there’s so much going on at the College at the moment that February merits two updates this month. Read Full Post
Faculty and Staff:
As expressed by the poet Kathleen Norris, “There seems to be so much more winter than we need this year.” Even as another storm is upon us, the daylight is steadily becoming longer and CSC faculty and staff continue to do great work day in and day out — as portrayed in this update. Read Full Post
The learning management system (LMS) will be offline for the day so that it can be upgraded. Two changes will be made during the maintenance window. First, CSC will be moved to the community release of Sakai; second, Sakai will be updated to version 10.5. These changes are integral to improved performance and will be completed in one, comprehensive upgrade. Read Full Post