Three New Tools for Teaching with Sakai
By Dana Shreaves, Instructional Designer
Many instructors use Sakai for posting their syllabus, sharing resources, and communicating course grades. But did you know that Sakai tools can collect formative assessment data, help students manage their to-do lists, and facilitate communication through audio recordings?
Instructors utilizing Lessons pages in Sakai can integrate multiple choice or fill-in-the-bank questions directly into a lesson page. This feature can be useful for a number of purposes like collecting formative assessment data and conducting class polls. If an instructor shares a video or reading that students are expected to review before class, the instructor could also post a question that promotes engagement with the resource. Lesson questions allow for automatic grading and feedback, integrate directly into Sakai’s Gradebook, and can display a histogram of student responses.
Instructors can also post checklists on a lesson page to help students manage the tasks they need to accomplish for a course. While this is primarily an organizational aid for students, instructors are also able to monitor students’ self-reported completion of checklist items. Checklists can be added to a lesson page to summarize required tasks for each week. Or, checklists can be useful for deconstructing multiple steps needed to complete a project, paper, or complex activity.
Audio Recording Tool
Sakai includes an audio recording tool which allows instructors and students to embed short audio clips (less than 3 minutes in length) anywhere the rich-text editor is used. For instance, audio clips can be submitted as assignments, included in discussion posts, or used to provide audio feedback to students on their assignment submissions. A Sakai audio recording plays directly within one’s browser, without requiring downloads or special software.
The next Teaching at PLU blog post will review some new administrative features of Sakai, including improved processes for applying extra credit, allowing group submission of assignments, and viewing student grade statistics. If you are interested in discussing how Sakai can support the teaching and learning goals of your course, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.