Whether you want to organize your Resources folder, incorporate images and calendars into your Sakai home page, or add tools and web links to your site’s navigation menu, Sakai offers many ways to customize your course site to be a more effective teaching tool.

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Look and Feel

Editing Your Home Page Title (Site Information Display)

As the home page of your course site, the Site Information Display is the first thing that your students see. Change this wording to reflect the course title known to your students.

  1. Once logged into Sakai, click on the course site from your site ribbon.


  2. The title bar on the home page of the course site will read “Site Information Display.” Click on the editing icon on the right side of the display.


  3. In the Title field, enter a new title display for your course.


    Note: this does not change the name of your course site title on the site ribbon. For instructions on how to do that, see below.
  4. Add an image or course-specific text to your Home page at this time using the rich text editor.

  5. Click Update Options to save your changes.


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Using the Rich-Text Editor

In most tools (Announcements, Assignments, Tests & Quizzes), you can control the appearance and format of your text using the Rich-Text Editor. The rich-text toolbar has icons for editing and formatting your text. The Rich-Text Editor is enabled by default in most areas of Sakai where it is available. However, if it is not enabled by default, you have the option of showing the Rich-Text Editor by clicking the Show Rich-Text Editor link. For example, in Test & Quizzes, this link appears to the right of the question text box.

The rich-text editor is based on an open-source application called CKEditor.


The following is a list of some of the most frequently-used buttons and their functions:


All major browsers have a native spellcheck feature which marks misspelled words. If necessary, check your browser settings to be sure spellcheck is enabled.

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Changing Your Course Title Display

Each course site tab displays its course code by default.  You can change this tab to display your actual course title.

  1. From your course site, choose Site Editor from the left-side navigation menu.
  2. Select Edit Site Information from the Site Info menu.


  3. Enter the new tab title in the Site Title field.
    It is recommended that if you change the course title, you follow two rules:
    • Only change the center part. The prefix (the term code) is necessary to differentiate identical courses from semester to semester.


      The suffix indicates what section of the course it is, whether it's a Supersection, whether it's been cross-listed, etc.


    • Keep the description short. You are limited to a total of 15-20 characters.  "Principles of Financial Management on a 21st Century Global Economy," for example, is too long.


      After entering the new site title, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Continue.
  4. Click Finish at the bottom of the Site Info confirmation screen. Your browser will refresh to update your course site name. If your site has been published and is visible to students, their course site tabs will update the next time they log on to Sakai.

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Avoid Special Characters within Sakai

When naming any item in Sakai — such as a file, folder, discussion forum, or test — do not use any of the foreign or unsupported characters listed below, as any of these characters can cause an error when you attempt to upload the file.


Important note: Nothing you name in Sakai should have any of these characters. You may not see errors immediately, however, you will see error messages and broken imports when transferring files from one semester to the next

Unsupported Character Description

  • \ Back slash
  • / Forward slash
  • ? Question mark
  • * Asterisk
  • " Quotation mark
  • : Colon
  • < Less than
  • > Greater than
  • # Hash mark
  • % Percent sign

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Site Tools

The following tools are the default for each course. You can add additional tools by selecting Site Info (Site Editor) > Edit Tools.

  • Home page – This is the first page students will see when logging into your course site. Add a course description here, your syllabus, or a relevant photo or video.
  • Gradebook 2 – The Gradebook is the most frequently-used tool in Sakai, and securely displays students’ scores.
  • Resources – This is the second most widely used tool in Sakai. Here is where you upload and store files for your students.
  • User Guide – Find answers to most of your questions. To locate additional information, go to

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Adding Tools to a Sakai Course Site

Sakai course sites come with a default set of tools. You may find that you will use different tools, or not use most of the tools listed on your site. It is a good practice to hide the tools you won’t be using to simplify the user experience for your students.

Once logged into Sakai, select the course site.

  1. Your course site has a set of default tools, as shown below.


  2. Click on Site Editor in the navigation bar, then choose Edit Tools from the menu at the top of the screen.



  3. Sakai will list all the tools available for this course site, with the default tools checked. Uncheck the tools you wish to exclude, and check the ones you wish to add. A brief description for each tool is included.

    Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Continue when done.

  4. A confirmation screen will show which tools you have removed and which you have added. Click Finish if the list is correct. Click Back to revise.


This list may be revised as often as necessary.

If there are items in the tool (i.e., assignments posted in the Assignments tool) when you choose to remove it from the course site, the items will stay in that tool even though it is hidden. The grades will also remain in the course Gradebook, if applicable.

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Reordering Site Tools

You can reorder your course site’s navigation bar to display the most frequently used tools first, or in any other order you wish. Additional functions of the Page Order tool include the options to rename, hide, disable, or delete a tool.

Reordering Tools

  1. Select Site Editor > Page Order. The Page Order screen displays.


  2. Mouse over the tool you want to move. The cursor will change to a crosshairs cursor.


  3. Drag the tool to the desired location and release the left mouse button. The tool displays in its new location.


  4. Click Save for tool order changes to take effect.

Additional Functions

Four additional options are associated with each tool:


Edit Tool Name

  1. If you want to change the name of a tool, click image_5_edit_tool_name.


  2. Enter the new name in the Title field.

    Note: If you associated a URL with this tool when you added it using Site Editor > Edit Tools, the URL displays beneath the title, as shown. You can edit this URL.


  3. Click  image_9_green_check (Save). The changes take effect immediately and a confirmation message displays.


  4. Click Save at the bottom of the screen to return to the main Site Editor screen.

Hiding Tools

  1. Click image_11_light_bulb to hide a tool from student view.
    Instructors, TAs, and Designers still have access (The tool will appear italicized to those users). This is useful if you want to limit access to assignments or to certain tools via Lesson Builder, for example. You may also want to hide the Resources tool so students cannot access course files.

  2. A confirmation message displays and the light bulb appears dimmed. Click Save.


Disabling Tools

  1. Click image_13_lock to disable a tool for students.
    Disabling a tool means that students will not be able to access or use that tool, even if it has been linked from another location. Currently, disabled tools still display in the Tools drop-down list, but without active links. Only tools removed using Site Editor > Edit Tools are removed from the drop-down.


  2. A confirmation message displays and the padlock appears locked. Click Save.

Deleting Tools

  1. To delete a tool from the course site, click image_15_red_x.

  2. Click OK to confirm and then click Save.
    Note: You can always add the tool back using Site Editor > Edit Tools. No content will be deleted if a tool is deleted.

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Mixed Active Content

Instructors often include links to elements in assignments or other materials such as images or javascript content that are located on non-secure servers. With integrated Sakai tools such as Media Gallery, browser settings must be modified to allow the display of both pop-up windows and mixed active content.

Enabling Mixed Active Content in Your Browser

You will need to adjust your browser settings to ensure you see mixed content that may be included in your classes.

  1. To add a pop-up blocker exception for Sakai (, click here and follow the instructions for your particular browser.

    Note: For iRubric users, add to your browser’s pop-up exceptions list.

  2. If not already enabled, install and enable Java.

Windows Users

Visit the Enabling Mixed Content page to configure your settings.

MAC Users

As a security precaution, Java is disabled by default on some versions of Mac OS X. Java must be is installed and enabled to use the integrated Sakai tools.

You can find additional information concerning Java on the Information Security Advisories page.

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Managing Resources

The Resources tool allows you to share many kinds of materials (e.g., files, links to other websites, etc.) securely with members of your site.

Note: This process is for uploading files (smaller than 500MB) one at a time.  To upload multiple files (or files larger than 500MB) see How to Upload Multiple Files to Sakai. The Resources folder can accommodate a total of 2G.

Note: To upload video and audio files for your course, please use the Media Gallery tool, which has a file size limit of 30 gigabytes.

Uploading a File to Resources

Drag and Drop Uploads

  1. Once logged into Sakai, go to the course site to which you wish to upload a file.
  2. Click Resources on the navigation menu on the left.
  3. On the folder to which you want to add files, click the Add drop-down and select Upload Files.


  4. You may drag and drop files into this screen to upload them. Once you have dropped your file, select whether or not Site Members should receive an email notification for the file(s), and then click the Continue button to upload the item.


File Browser Uploads

  1. Or, if you prefer to browse for the file on your computer, select the Switch to file browser upload link in the Upload Files screen.


  2. Click Choose File to browse for your file.


  3. Navigate to the file you wish to upload, select it, and then click Open
  4. Revise the display name for the file, if desired.
  5. Select whether or not site members should receive an email notification for the file(s), and then click Upload Files Now.


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Upload Multiple Files to Sakai

Before uploading multiple files to Sakai, you need to:

  • Determine which operating system is installed on your computer:
    • For Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7:
      Start > Right-click Computer (or My Computer) > Properties
    • For Mac OS 10.4 and up:
      Click Apple > About This Mac
  • Determine which site to store your files.

To upload multiple files to Sakai

  1. Once logged into Sakai, go to the site where you wish to upload files.
  2. Click Resources on the navigation menu on the left.
  3. Click the Upload-Download Multiple Resources tab.


  1. Select the URL (under Step 1), then right-click the mouse on the selected URL and choose Copy.


  1. Next, click the link of the operating system on your computer and follow the instructions on how to upload the files to your site.



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Transfer Your Files from Your Desktop to Sakai using AnyClient

Once you have copies of your folders and files on your desktop, open AnyClient and create a connection between your desktop folder and your new Sakai course.

  1. Install AnyClient.

  2. Select Resources from the left-hand navigation bar.  

  3. Click the Upload-Download Multiple Resources link. 


  4. To upload files using AnyClient, highlight and copy the folder location found in Step 1 of the Upload-Download Multiple Resources section.


    This folder location will be used to connect AnyClient to your course in Sakai.
  5. Launch AnyClient and click Connect at the bottom left corner of the window that displays.


  6. Click New at the bottom of the Connect window to create a new connection.


    A new site displays under Site Manager at the top left of the Connect screen.


  7. Enter a name for the new site.
  8. Click in the Host field and press Ctrl + V to paste the Sakai folder location.
  9. Select WebDAV from the Protocol drop-down list.
  10. Enter your netID in the Username field and your password in the Password field.
    Your screen should now resemble the following:


  11. Click Save, then click OK to confirm the save.
  12. Click Connect.
    Your uploaded files display on the left side of the screen, and your existing Sakai class files display under Remote System on the right side of the screen.


  13. To move your class files to your Sakai Resources folder, select one or more files from the Local System by selecting a file and then holding down the Ctrl key and clicking to select additional files. To select all files click the first file, press the Shift key, scroll to the bottom, and click the last file.


  14. Click the green arrow  below the Local System window to begin the transfer.
  15. In the lower window of AnyClient, you will see the progress of your file transfer from your desktop to Sakai.  Also, you will see the files show up in the Remote System (your Sakai course) window when AnyClient is finished transferring the files.
    Files transferred successfully now display in the Remote System.


  16. Click Disconnect at the bottom of the AnyClient screen to disconnect from AnyClient.
    Note: Any filenames containing special characters (e.g., !,#,$) will not transfer. You must rename these files and click the right arrow to upload the files again. If you can’t or don’t want to change the filename, upload these files separately.
  17. To confirm the file transfer to Sakai, return to the Resources folder and click  to Refresh the display.

AnyClient makes the process of transferring a large number of files easier and faster.

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By default, folders and files in the Resources tool display in alphanumeric order, with folders above files. You can change the order of resources in any folder that contains more than one resource provided you are assigned a role with the necessary permissions.  The steps below will guide you through these processes.

Creating Folders in Resources

When setting up your Resource files in Sakai, you may want several folders for organizing your files.  You can create these folders when you create your Course Site, or later as the semester progresses.

  1. In the desired Course Site, open the Resources tool.

  2. In the Course Site folder, click on the Add dropdown menu and choose Create Folders.



  3. Type the name of the first folder in the Folder Name field.  After naming your new folder you can choose to add any number of folders at the same time.



  4. Click Create Folders Now when you are finished.

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Move Files and Folders in Resources

Use checkboxes and the Move link to move resources from one folder to another.

Moving a Single File

  1. In Sakai, access the course site in which you want to move files.
  2. Select Resources from the left-hand navigation menu.
  3. From the Actions drop-down list corresponding to the file you want to move, select Move.


    The file name you selected appears greyed out.



  4. The image003 (Paste moved items here) icon displays next to folders where your file can be moved. Navigate to the location where you want to move your file and click image003.
    Sakai moves the item and redisplays the Resources screen, showing all items in alphabetical order.




Moving Multiple Files

  1. From the Resources screen, select the check box next to the name of each file you want to move.



  2. Click Move from the menu bar located above the list of files. The files you selected appear greyed out.



  3. Click image003 (Paste moved items here) next to the folder into which you want to move the files.


    Sakai moves the items and redisplays the Resources screen, showing all items in alphabetical order.




To reorder your resources in a folder:

  1. Once logged into Sakai, go to the Site in which you want to reorder resources.
  2. Select Resources from the left-hand navigation menu.
  3. Click to expand the folder containing the resources you want to reorder.


  4. From the Actions drop-down list corresponding to this folder, select Reorder.



  5. On the Reordering page, the mouse pointer becomes image008 (cross-hatch).



  6. Click to select an item you want to move and drag to the desired order in the list.




  7. Click Save.

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Showing and Hiding Resources

You can make all resources available at all times or choose to make individual files visible to students for specific time period. You can also hide files until you want them to be visible again.

Making Resources Available for a Defined Time Period

  1. Select Resources from your course site’s left-hand navigation bar.

  2. From the Actions drop-down list corresponding to the desired resource, select Edit Details.

  3. Under Availability and Access determine who can see this item and during what time period. The file will be hidden after the ending time.



  4. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Update when finished.

Hiding Resources

  1. To hide a resource from site participants indefinitely, select Hide this item under Availability and Access.

  2. Scroll to the bottom and click Update when finished. Hidden items appear greyed out in the Resources list.

How to Hide a Folder but Allow Access to Items within the Folder

  1. Select Resources from your course site’s left-hand navigation bar.

  2. From the Actions drop-down list corresponding to the desired folder, select Edit Details.
    Note: This option is available only on folders, not for individual files.

  3. Under Availability and Access select Hide this folder but allow access to its contents. The folder will be hidden from student view so that they cannot browse to the folder in Resources directly, but the files within the folder are available for students to view if they are linked from elsewhere in the site (e.g. quiz images).


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How to Rename a File in Resources

In Resources, to change a file's display name (i.e., the name that appears in your list of resource items):

  1. In your list of resource items, find the file you want to rename, and from the Actions drop-down menu, choose Edit Details.



  2. Enter a new display name for the file in the Name field



  3. At the bottom of the screen, click Update.


Note: This will change the file's display name only, and will not affect the original filename (i.e., the filename at the end of the URL associated with the item, or the filename listed in the WebDAV connection to your site's Resources).

To change the original filename of an item in your site's Resources, download the item to your computer, save it under a new name, and then upload the renamed file to Resources.

Alternatively, if you have a WebDAV connection to your site's Resources, you can change the filename there.

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Create a HTML Page in Resources

You can create and display an HTML page using the Resources menu option.

Note: To complete these procedures, you must be assigned to a role having the necessary permissions.

To create and display an HTML page as a resource:

  1. Select the Resources tab from your site’s left-hand menu bar.
  2. Select Add > Create HTML Page from the drop-down list corresponding to the folder in which you want to create the HTML page.


  1. Use the rich text editor to create your page.


Note: Pasting text from Microsoft Word directly into the rich text editor may result in garbled output, even if the text appears correct in the editor. Instead, to insert formatted text from a Word document, copy the text from Word and click  Paste from Word in the rich text editor.


From the Paste from Word dialog that displays, paste the text using Ctrl-V and click OK.



  1. Click Continue when finished and continue configuring your HTML page.


  1. Enter a Name for the page.

  2. Enter an optional Description.

  3. Select your resource’s Copyright Status from the drop-down list.   For more information about copyright and fair use, click more info.

Note: If you select Use Copyright Below, a text box displays in which you can add information about the copyright. 

  1. To display the terms to users when they access your resource, select Display copyright alert and require acknowledgment when accessed by others. This option requires users to agree to the copyright terms to view the resource. To see the alert, click what’s this?  You cannot edit this alert.

  1. Under Availability and Access, control who can access the page and when it's available as follows:
  • To display the resource to site members only, select Only members of this site can see this file.  (This option is not available if the folder to which you're adding the resource is publicly viewable.)
  • To share the resource with another site to which you belong (e.g., as an attachment to a syllabus item for another course or project you're leading), select This file is publicly viewable. (This option is not available if the folder to which you're adding the resource is publicly viewable.)
  • To display the resource only to selected groups, select Display this file to selected groups only, and then select the group(s) that should have access. (This option does not appear if you have no groups in your site.)
  1. To show or hide your resource, or set a beginning and/or ending date for its visibility, click Show this item or Hide this item and select dates and times as appropriate (This option does not appear when you're adding an item to Resources in My Workspace).
  2. To include more detailed site descriptions, expand the Optional properties section. Add information as desired.
  3. Select an option from the Email Notification drop-down list to indicate whether or not you want to have members of the site notified via email when the resource is posted. (This option does not display when adding an item to Resources in My Workspace.)

  1. Click Finish.

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Setting Up Email Notifications when New Resources are Posted to a Group

You can create a group, post a resource for that group, and configure an email notification to be sent only to that group.

To create a group:

See Creating Groups

To upload a resource for the group:

  1. From the course site, click Resources on the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click the Add drop-down list corresponding to the folder in which you want to upload a file and select Upload Files.
  3. From the Upload Files screen, click the Switch to file browser link. This link will allow you to edit details about the file as soon as you upload it (this is not available with drag and drop function). 


  4. Browse for and select the file you want to upload.
  5. Click the Add details for this item link next to the Display Name field.


  6. Edit the Display Name and add a Description if desired.


  7. Under Availability and Access, control who can access the resource and when it's available as follows:
    • To display the resource only to selected groups, select Display this file to selected groups only.



    • Select the group(s) that should have access to the uploaded file(s).
    • To show or hide your resource, or set a beginning and/or ending date for its visibility, click Show this item or Hide this item and select dates and times as appropriate.



To notify members of the group when the resource is posted:

  1. Select an option from the Email Notification drop-down list.


    Note: Recall that setting the Email Notification to High overrides the recipients’ settings. Students cannot opt out of High priority notifications.
  2. Click Upload Files Now. Your group will receive an email similar to the following:



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File Storage Limits

You can store up to 2GB of files in each of your Sites. To determine how much space you are currently using in a Site, click the Resources tool and then click Check Quota. If you are close to exceeding your quota and need more space, email the OIT Help Desk at or call them directly at 574-631-8111.

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Linking to Files from Other Sites

Linking to Box

Box is an online file storage and collaboration service that can be accessed using your netID and is an ideal way to organize group projects. Follow the instructions below to link a folder created in Box as a tool in Sakai.


  1. Log into Box with your netID and password (at – through the CAS).
  2. Select the folder or file you want to share and click Share.



  3. Click to select the link in the Link to the folder field and copy it using Ctrl + C.



  4. Log into Sakai and select the appropriate course/project site.
  5. Select Site Info from the left-hand navigation menu.
  6. Click Edit Tools.



  7. Select Web Content.



  8. Click Continue to return to the Site Info.
  9. Enter a name for the copied link in the Title field.
  10. Paste the link in the Source field.



  11. Click Continue.



  12. Confirm the addition of your link to the site tools and click Finish. The link now displays as a tool in the left-hand navigation menu.



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How to Display your Syllabus in a Sakai Course Site

Here are the two most common methods in Sakai for posting a highly visible syllabus. Of course, you could stop after uploading the syllabus file to the site's Resources tool. Students will find it there.

However, use one of the options described below for greater visibility:

  1. Create a Syllabus link on the site's lefthand tool list (use Web Content tool).
  2. Post your syllabus on the course Home screen (it's then the first thing students see!)

Option 1: Web Content tool link named "Syllabus"

This option will create a Syllabus link in the site's tool list.

  1. Copy the URL from your uploaded syllabus (See detail below if you need it).
  2. Add the Web Content tool to your course site. Go to Site Info > Add Tools, and scroll down the list to select "Web Content". Click Continue.
  3. Enter "Syllabus" in the Title field. The name you enter here will display along the left hand tool list in the course site.
  4. Paste the URL from the syllabus file's URL in the Source field. Click Continue. 


  5. Click Finish on the confirmation screen. Your new syllabus link will be added near the bottom of the site's tool list. 


OPTIONAL: If you would like to move the Syllabus link closer to the top of the tool list, follow these instructions to change the order of the site tools.

Option 2: Home Page of Course displays Syllabus

Present your syllabus on the Home page if you want it to be the first thing students see whent hey click into your course site.

  1. Click into the site's Home tool. Click the pencil and paper icon at the upper right side of the screen. 


  2. The Customize Site Info Display screen opens. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and paste the file's URL in the Site Info URL field. Click Update Options to finish. 


  3. Your syllabus now displays on the course Home page as shown below. 


Detailed Steps (for both Option 1 and Option 2)

Save your syllabus as a PDF (portable document file). PDF files are compatible with multiple browsers and devices ensuring that all students can read and print without any problem. Most programs, including Google Docs and Microsoft Word, give you the option to save your file as a PDF. This is the version of your syllabus that will be posted in Sakai.

When saving the file on your laptop, choose "Save As." While you are naming the file and selecting where to save it on your computer, you will also be able to choose the type of file you want to create. 


Next, upload the file to your Sakai site's Resources tool. Follow the steps outlined here if you are new to Sakai. 

Then, find the file's unique Sakai URL. The bellow steps show how to copy, then paste, the file's Sakai URL. To find the file's URL: 

  1. Locate the syllabus file in the site's Resources tool. 
  2. Select Edit Details from the file's Actions dropdown menu. 


  3. Scroll down the Edit Details screen and copy the file's Web Address (URL). 



You need this URL to post your syllabus either on the Home page, or using the Web Content tool. Once you've copied the URL it will stay in your computer's memory until you copy something else.

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Creating a Lesson Module with the Lessons Tool

Lessons allows an instructor to design a sequential workflow for their students. 

Add Lessons to your Course Site

  1. Add the Lessons tool to your course site. See instructions for adding tools to your course site here.

  2. You will need to name the new lesson module(s) at the time you are adding the tool to your course site. Enter the name for your learning module in the Title field.

    You can add multiple lesson modules at this time by clicking the down arrow by the More Lessons Tools? field.


  3. When you are done click Continue, and then click Finish to confirm.

    The new lesson unit(s) display on the site’s left-hand navigation menu. Click the unit title to start the lesson design.

Create the Lesson Content

NOTE:  It is best to have an outline prepared ahead of time when designing a lesson module. Because access to parts of a lesson can be conditional (for example, restricting access to a quiz until a pre-requisite is completed within the lesson), a preliminary outline will help you piece together an effective, well-planned workflow for your students.

  1. Click Add Text to create an introductory paragraph for your lesson module. You can use the rich text editor to format the text, add images to your page, include hyperlinks, etc.


    Optional formatting for a lesson’s home page can be done using the Templates feature in the Rich Text Editor. 



  2. Click on the template you want to use to choose the layout.

    You do not need to use a template to create a home page. Simply adding text with an introduction to the lesson is often enough.

  3. Add components to the lesson by clicking the link from the menu along the top of the page. More tools are available via the More Tools dropdown menu. These items can be added in any order.


    Resources, quizzes, assignments and forums can be linked to existing material already in the course site, or created while in the Lessons tool.  Files and videos that are uploaded into the Lessons tool at the time of a lesson creation will be automatically placed in a same-titled folder in the course site’s Resources folder.


    The individual tools that are linked to the Lessons module do not need to be enabled and visible on your course site to be active in a lesson module. For instance, the Resources tool can be hidden on your course site and students will still have access to the files if they are linked from the Lessons tool.

    Many parts of the lesson can be conditional. You can make a reading mandatory before a student is allowed to take a quiz, or require a minimum score from a student on a quiz before they can move on to the next part of the lesson.

  4. Once an item has been added to the lesson, click Edit next to the item title.



What the Student Sees

Required items present to the student with an asterisk. Items that cannot be completed until other requirements are met are greyed out and cannot be opened by the student.


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