Starting Sakai

Whether you are a first-time Sakai user or an Instructor returning to Sakai for the new semester, here are some recommended procedures to organize your course content before publishing your Course Site.

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Starting Each Semester

Automated processes create sites for all Registrar-controlled courses, and also control official student enrollment through the add/drop process. Site enrollment is updated twice daily, excluding Sunday.

Follow the steps below to start your semester in Sakai.

  1. Log in to Sakai and View Your Course Sites

    Your course sites display along the top of the screen or click More Sites to display all sites. If your sites do not display correctly, please contact the OIT Help Desk.

  2. Combine Identical Course Sections to Create a Supersection (if needed)

  3. Set up your Course Site


  4. Add TAs and/or Designers to Assist You

  5. Publish your Course Site


Note: As of spring semester 2013, Course Sites are not published automatically. Instructors choose when and if to publish a Course Site.

Optional: If you would like to view exactly what a student will see in your site, Create a Student Demo user account. Once the account is created, log in using your Student Demo account (use the Guest Login) and test your Course from the student perspective.

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Three Essential Tweaks

The following are three simple site design tweaks which will vastly improve your students’ experience in your course site.

  1. Change your Site Information Display to match short course description.


  2. Since the home screen is the first thing students see when they log into your course, add relevant content here such as a photo, office hours, or your syllabus. Here are three examples:





  3. Edit tool links on the left-hand navigation bar to only include those you’re actually using. You may start out using only the Gradebook and Resources, but you can add additional tools as your course evolves. Remember, your students see the same tools you see, so only displaying relevant tools keeps students from clicking each one looking for pertinent information.

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Getting Around in Sakai

Which browser should I use to access Sakai?

For best results, use Firefox 5 or higher, Internet Explorer 8 or higher, or Safari 5.1 or higher. For the complete list of supported browser, please see the browser compatibility list.

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How to Log In to Sakai

Sakai uses Notre Dame's Enterprise Directory for its login system. Sakai users will use the same NetID and password they use for their NetID accounts. All login questions can be addressed to the OIT Help Desk, 574-631-8111 or e-mail.

A smaller population of Sakai users, namely the Institute of Church Life's STEP and those colleagues of Notre Dame Faculty, will use a login account that is identical to whichever email account they have on record with us at the time of their account creation. These users are able to change their passwords directly in Sakai, as their account only has access to the Sakai system.

Students at Other Institutions Taking Notre Dame classes:

Non-Notre Dame students who are officially enrolled in Notre Dame courses will receive a Notre Dame NetID. They can use it to login to Sakai and will automatically be enrolled in their Sakai course sites. If this hasn’t happened for a student in your class, please contact the OIT Help Desk via telephone (574-631-8111), e-mail, or by creating a support ticket at

There are two ways to log in:

Inside ND

  • Browse to
  • Log in.
  • Click on the Sakai icon at top right of page.
  • Your Sakai home page will open.


  • Browse to
  • Enter username (Net ID) and password
  • Click "OK"
  • Your Sakai home page will open.

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Site Ribbon

The Site Ribbon displayed across the top of your Sakai page that contains links to your most frequently accessed Course or Project Sites.  If you need a complete listing of all Sites, click the More Sites tab.

How to Organize Course Sites

Course sites you have access to display across the top of the screen. By default, your four most frequently-accessed sites display first. To see a complete listing of all your sites, click More Sites. You can rearrange the display so that the sites you visit most often display first. 

  1. Click the down arrow next to Hello (your name) and select Preferences.


  2. Under My Active Sites select the name of the site and click  up_arrow or down_arrow to reorganize the order within your active sites.


  3. If you want to hide a site from the Site Ribbon, select the site name under My Active Sites and click right_arrow to move that site to My Hidden Sites. Sites will not display at the top of your screen.



  4. When finished, click Update Preferences.

  5. Your changes display after you navigate to another site or another Sakai tool, such as Home.

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Using Refresh

Click the reset icon to return to the tool’s main screen.

Note: Do not use the browser’s back/forward buttons.

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My Workspace, Course Sites and Project Sites

My Workspace

When you log in to Sakai, the default display is My Workspace. Here is where you find messages, the calendar, workspace information, and tools.

From My Workspace, you can:

  • Create unofficial course or project sites
  • View all your calendar events and announcements
  • Store, organize, and manage a collection of resources
  • Maintain a personal profile
  • Set preferences for all your sites

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Course Sites

A course site is where faculty keep materials such as assignments, quizzes, resources, etc. which students will need to access throughout the course. Automated processes create sites for all Registrar-controlled courses, and also control official student enrollment through the add/drop process.

Site Tools

See Site Tools for information on the default tools for your site and how to add additional tools.

Create a 'Sandbox' Site

Faculty and staff can also create a Sandbox/test site for learning/exploration purposes. A Sandbox course is not registrar-controlled, nor is it tied to a particular semester.

  1. From My Workspace, select Site Setup.
  2. Select New from the Site Setup screen that displays.


  3. Select Create site from template. Two drop-down lists display. Select course-Course Default and No Term. Click Continue.


  4. Enter a Subject, Course, and Section to resemble the example below. Use your netID for the Course name.


  5. Enter your netID in the Instructor’s NetID field.
  6. Click Create site from template.

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Project Sites

Project sites are used for collaborative activities and research for any type of project. Unlike course sites, access to project sites is not tied to a particular semester. Project sites can also be used to store course materials that will be reused from one semester to the next. Faculty, students, and staff alike can create a project site.

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Create a Project Site

  1. From My Workspace, select Site Setup.
  2. Select New from the Site Editor screen that displays.
  3. Select Create site from template, then select project – Default.


  4. Enter a Site title and click Continue.
  5. Locate your project site from the list and click the link.


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Site Access for Students

Course sites are based on an academic term and are accessible by all course participants. The instructor must publish the course on or before the first day of classes.

Note: You can find a list of tools that display in a course site by default, and instructions for adding/removing these tools here.

Note:  Course sites are automatically unpublished (made invisible to students) 21 days after the last day of class. Instructors can choose to re-publish the course site, if needed. Course sites will then remain visible until the instructor returns the site to an unpublished state.

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Joinable Sites

Sites used for collaboration or open educational opportunities can be made searchable and joinable within Notre Dame’s instance of Sakai.

Making a Site Joinable

  1. Click into the course or project site that you want to make available to the Notre Dame Sakai community.
  2. Go to the Site Editor tool in that site.
  3. Click Manage Access from the menu links at the top of the screen.
    1. Under Site Status, choose “Publish site.” A site will not be searchable or joinable if it is not first published.
    2. Under Global Access, choose “Allow anyone to join the site with valid login id.” A disclaimer will remind you to not include sensitive files or material on a joinable site.
    3. Select the role you want joiners to have within your site. The roles of Guest, Student and Student Demo are more restrictive than those of Facilitator or TA Sakai. To review a list of roles and their permissions, see the Role Participants chart .


  4. Click Update to complete. Your site is now on the joinable site list. Users will need an active ND Sakai account to search for and join your site.

Finding a Joinable Site

  1. Once logged into Sakai, click into My Workspace on your site ribbon.
  2. Click into Membership from the left-hand menu.
  3. A list of the sites you are currently a member of will display. Click the Joinable Sites button at the top of the page.
  4. Search by site name by entering a title in the Search field on the upper right-hand side of the screen.  If you don’t know the name of the site, leave the search field blank and click through the pages of joinable sites by using the left and right arrows under the search field.
  5. Once the site you want to join is visible, click the Join link under the site title.


    The screen will refresh and a notice at the top of the page will confirm that you joined the site. The new site will now be visible in your listing of Current Sites in My Workspace, as well as on your site ribbon (or under the More Sites tab if your site ribbon is already full).

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