Communicating with your Sakai instructor and classmates

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Using Sakai Forums

How do I access a Forum and a Topic?

In the Forum, you will see a list of Topics. Click on this image to see a larger view of a Forum and three Topics.
Enlarge
In the Forum, you will see a list of Topics. Click on this image to see a larger view of a Forum and three Topics.

Follow these steps to access a Forum:

  • Login to Sakai
  • At the top of your Workspace, click on More Sites
  • On the drop-down menu, under the semester, choose the course that you would like to visit
  • On the left on the main menu, click on the Forums link (see the Note below if you don't have a Forums link on the main menu)
  • You will see a (discussion) Forum for your class, and should see at least one topic link (most forums contain a General Discussion topic link)
  • Click on any topic title to enter that discussion topic area

Note: In some courses, on the left on the main menu, students will need to click on the Lessons link (or a link the instructor has indicated will be the location to find your discussion forums and topics). In some courses, you may also need to click on a Weekly Assignments link (or a link your instructor has indicated will be the location to find your discussion forum/topic assignments). Within the Weekly Assignments link you'll need to scroll down the web page and click on the link for your discussion topic. You'll be taken directly into the discussion topic area.

Where did my instructor hide the questions?

  • Once you have clicked on the title of a Topic or have transferred to a Topic from Lessons:

Image:ViewFullDescriptionlink.png

  • Look at the top of the topic, below the name of the topic, for the phrase View Full Description, click on it.
    • If you don't find the discussion question under View Full Description, your instructor may have posted a conversation (post). If you look to the right of posts, you can see who "Authored" the post. If you see your instructor's name as the author, click on the title of the post, instructions may be inside of their post.
    • If your instructor is using Lessons, they may have have posted the questions in your weekly Lessons link.
    • If your instructor is using Resources, they may have posted the questions in a weekly folder or in a file.
    • If the tips above didn't help, contact your instructor.

How do I display conversations and replies?

  • After clicking on a discussion topic title, you'll see the subject lines of posted conversations. If you see the content of all of the posts, beside the "Start a New Conversation" button, click on the "Display Subject Only" button. It's easier to view your posts this way!
  • But you won't be able to see replies until you expand the conversations.

Image:Expandconversations.png

Steps to Expand existing conversations:

  • To expand all conversations: To the left of the word Conversation, click on the expand/collapse button, which is a solid triangle on top of a solid upside-down triangle Image:Conversationtoggle.png
  • To expand individual conversations, click on its expand/collapse button, which is a solid right-facing triangle Image:Collapsebutton.png

Display of Expanded conversations and replies:

  • After you've clicked on the expand/collapse button:
    • You'll see to the left of the word Conversation, the expand button, which is a solid upside-down triangle on top of a solid triangle:Image:Expandicon.png
    • To the left of conversations with replies, you'll see the expand button, which is a solid down-facing triangle: Image:Expandconversationbutton.png
    • Conversations will now display with their replies

Image:Reply.png

How do I start a new conversation (post a new discussion thread)?

View this video: How to Post/Reply in Discussion Forums

In a discussion topic, click on the Start a New Conversation button, to post your message
Enlarge
In a discussion topic, click on the Start a New Conversation button, to post your message

Follow these steps to start a new conversation:

  • Enter a discussion topic by clicking on its title.
  • Click the Start a New Conversation button: Image:Conversation.png (in upper left area)
  • Enter "Title" and "Message" text.
  • Click the POST button. Image:postbutton.png

WARNING: If you don't click POST, your posting will disappear once you log out!

  • After you click POST, your conversation will be displayed below any existing conversations.

How do I reply to a conversation?

Follow these steps to reply to an existing conversation:

  • Enter a discussion topic by clicking on its title.
  • Click on a conversation title.
  • To post a reply to any of the messages, click on the Reply link to the right of a message: Image:SakaiReply.png (to the far right of the student or instructor userid, submission date and time, and Read by count).
  • WARNING: Do NOT use the web browser BACK button or you will get an error message "Alert: Unable to complete your request because it appears you are using multiple tabs. Please close all your browser windows and try again. If you were not using multiple tabs, please contact your system administrator."
  • Update the "Reply Title" and "Message" text; optionally, below the Reply Title, you can click on insert original text link, to include the text of the message you are replying to.
  • Click the POST button to post the reply message. Image:postbutton.png

WARNING: If you don't click POST, your posting will disappear once you log out of Sakai!

  • After you click POST, your reply will be indented to the right, and posted at the bottom of any other replies.

Why am I getting an Alert/Error message when I try to post in the Forum?

Alert: Unable to complete your request because it appears you are using multiple tabs. Please close all your browser windows and try again. If you were not using multiple tabs, please contact your system administrator.

  • You can't use the web browser BACK button when working in Sakai. If use your browser's BACK button while navigating in a forum, you'll get the above Alert/Error when you try to post a reply (even if you do not have multiple tabs or windows open).
  • If you get the "Alert" message, you can copy your text and repost it:
    • Highlight your text.
    • Copy your text: On the keyboard, press the CTRL button (under the Shift button) and the "C" button.
    • Click on the CANCEL button.
    • Click on the REPLY button again. Image:SakaiReply.png
    • Click in the Text Editor message area, where you want to paste your text
    • To paste your text: On the keyboard, press the CTRL button and the "V" button.
    • Click on the POST button. Image:postbutton.png
  • To avoid the error in the future -- don't use your browser's BACK button in Sakai! Instead, use the links within Sakai to navigate around.

After I click on a conversation title or post a reply, how do I get back to my discussion Topic?

Image:Topiclink.png

  • At the top of a conversation, you'll see the following links that you can click on:
    • Forums, followed by a forward slash
    • The name of your course plus the word Forum, such as My Practice Course Forum, followed by a forward slash
    • The name of your discussion Topic, such as General Discussion, followed by a forward slash
      • Click on the name of your discussion Topic, such as General Discussion, to return to your discussion topic and the display of all of the posted conversations

My instructor said they posted my discussion posting grade. Where is it?

  • On the left in your course site, on the main menu, click on Gradebook

Image:Gradebookitems_001.png

  • Your instructor can organize gradebook items by category.
  • If you only see category headings, click on the expand/collapse button, the solid right-facing arrow Image:Collapsebutton.png beside the Title column heading, to expand all of the Gradebook categories, and display individual gradebook items.

Image:Gradebookdiscussionpostingitem.png

  • Category gradebook titles can vary. In the example, the category name is Discussion Postings.
  • Your instructor must assign a gradebook item title, and can also assign a gradebook item due date, grade, and provide comments.

How do I attach a file to a discussion topic message?

Follow these steps to attach a file to a discussion topic message:

  • Enter a discussion topic by clicking on its title.
  • Click on the Start a New Conversation button or reply to an existing message (see earlier instructions).
  • Enter "Title" and "Message" text.
  • Click the button to "Add attachments" (below the message text box).
  • Click the Browse button to navigate through your files to find the file you want to attach and to select it.
  • Once you've selected the file to attach, the file name appears above the Browse button.
  • You can attach as many files as you like. If you select the wrong file, beside the file name, you can click the Remove link to delete it.
  • When done attaching files, click on the CONTINUE button.
  • You'll be returned to the message, with the attached file names displayed at the bottom, below the message text. You'll now see an Add more Attachments button, if you need to add more files.
  • Click the POST button to post your message and its attachment(s).

Note: Do NOT attach files that have symbols in the file name, such as the number sign ( # ), per cent sign, or dollar sign, etc.

I cannot open an attachment (Error: HTTP Status 404)

The attachment's file name contains a symbol, such as a pound sign (#). Symbols cannot be used in the file names of documents posted on the Web. To resolve this, the person who posted the attachment will need to rename the file (omitting symbols from the name) and repost it. For more info, see What characters should I avoid when naming files?

I posted a new conversation or reply and it disappeared! What happened?

  • You forgot to click on POST when posting your message, and therefore your message was not posted.
  • You'll need to post your new conversation or reply again.
  • TIP: If this happens again, type your messages into Word or Wordpad documents, save the files and attach the files to your conversations and replies. If you forget to post a conversation or reply, you'll have the files to attach and post again.

How do I stop the flood of emails (after posting in a Forum/Topic)?

On the left, on the main menu of Sakai:

  • 1) Click on the Forums link (look below if you don't have a Forums link)

Image:StudentForumWatchbuttonsmall.png

  • 2a) At the top, click on the Watch button
  • 2b) Click on the radio button beside No Notification, click Save

If you don't have a Forums link on the main menu of Sakai:

  • Click on the link your instructor provided for students to post in a Discussion Forum or Topic
  • At the top, below the "Start a Conversation" button/link, Click on Forums (Forums will be followed by a slash, then by your Forum title, a slash and your Topic title)

Image:StudentForumLinksmall.png

  • At the top, click on the Watch button
    • Click on the radio button beside No Notification, click Save
    • Click on the title of your topic to return to it

Using Meetings

Meetings (also called BigBlueButton) is an open source web conferencing tool available in Sakai courses that allows you to meet online with your instructor and/or your classmates.

Image:StudentViewofaMeeting.jpg

Student/Participant Meetings Handout

The Student Instructions for using Meetings contains the following information:

  • The hardware and software you need before attending a Meeting
  • A video link from BigBlueButton demonstrating how you can join and interact in a Meeting
  • Step-by-Step instructions for joining a meeting
  • Using the Meeting image above, the Meetings icons and modules are described, which you can use in your Meeting

Email and Sakai

Credit Students

Durham Tech provides all students taking credit courses with an email account, called "ConnectMail." Credit students are required to use their ConnectMail accounts for all classes. Your instructors will send important course related info to this address. Be sure to activate your ConnectMail account and get in the habit of checking it daily. For more info about activating your ConnectMail account, visit: http://www.durhamtech.edu/connect/ConnectMailHelp.pdf

NON-Credit Students

Students taking Continuing Education and Adult High School/Basic Skills/ESL courses do not receive ConnectMail accounts.


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