Managing Courses

During a single semester an Instructor may be involved with multiple similar course sections, leading to a cluttered Sakai workspace and a lot of redundant work. Instructions found in this section explain how to combine courses into Supersections, manage site roles and participation, and delegate work to teaching assistants.

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How Do I Control Who Sees My Site

By default, all sites are created in an Unpublished state. This gives you the opportunity to design, refine, and revise materials before allowing others access to the site. Once you are ready for others to access your site, you will need to publish it.  The steps below will guide you through the process.

Making a Course Site Visible to Students (Publishing)

For a video tutorial, see the Publishing a Course Site video on the Learning More page.

  1. Once logged into Sakai, go to the site you want to publish. An Unpublished Site message is displayed at the top left corner of the screen. You may quickly publish your site with the default access settings by clicking on the Publish Now button. 


    Note: If the Unpublished Site message is not displayed, this means your site has already been published.

  2. Once in the course site, click Site Info on the navigation menu on the left. 

  3. Click Manage Access.


  4. Select Publish Site and leave the default Limited to whom I add manually, or through automatic roster updates selected.


    Note: If you select Allow anyone to join the site with a valid login ID then your site will be available for any Sakai user to join. DO NOT select this option for your course sites.

  5. Click Update to publish your course site and return to the main menu of Site Info.  

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Managing Site Participants

Official enrollment is managed by the Office of the Registrar, but it is possible to add other participants to your site.


Note: Only those with the role of Instructor or Designer can add participants to a course site. 

Can I Add Non-Students?

  1. Once logged into Sakai, go to the site where you wish to add participant(s).

  2. Click Site Info on the navigation menu on the left.

  3. Click Add Participants.



  4. If you wish to add a Notre Dame user, enter the NetID into the box for Official Notre Dame NetID.  If you wish to enter more than one user at a time, enter one NetID per line.  Do not use any kind of punctuation.


    For individuals outside of Notre Dame, type the participant’s email address into the box for Non-official Participants. If you wish to add more than one participant, enter each email address on a separate line.  Do not use any kind of punctuation.


    Note:  If this is the first time the email address is added to any Sakai site, an email containing a temporary password will be sent to that address.

  5. Choose to assign roles individually or to assign all new participants to one role.  Participant Status should be Active.

  6. Choose the appropriate role(s) for the new participant(s).

    Important! Participants who are manually added to a course site must be manually deleted if they drop the class. Manually added students are not controlled by daily Registrar updates.


  7. Click Continue.

  8. Select whether or not the participant(s) should receive an email notifying them that they were added to the site, and then click Continue.
  9. Confirm the information and then click Finish. The newly added participant(s) will display in the Participant List within Site Info. 


Note: Be sure to check the Permissions Table to ensure that you are assigning the role that grants the appropriate permissions to this participant.

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Assigning an Undergrad TA to a Section or Group

The Undergrad TA role does not have site-wide permissions; it is limited to involvement within the group or section to which it is manually assigned.

Assigning an Undergrad TA to a Section

If you are assigning an Undergrad TA to a section of the course site, you must first add the Sections tool to your course site.

  1. Click the Sections tool.
  2. In the Overview screen, click the Assign TAs link under a specific section.


  3. Choose a name from the left side box entitled Available Undergrad TAs. Click the right arrow to move the name into the Undergrad TAs box on the right.


  4. Click Assign TAs button to complete.

Assigning an Undergrad TA to a Group

  1. Select Site Editor > Manage Groups.
  2. Click the link for the group to which you will be assigning the TA.


  3. Choose the TA’s name from the left-side Site Member List. Click the right arrow to select that name for the group.
  4. Click Update when finished.
  5. Confirm the TA’s addition to the group by going to Site Editor, clicking on the blue Groups banner midway down the screen, and clicking the Membership link next to the group name.


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Adding a Non-ND (Guest) User to Sakai

Many departments on campus add participants from outside the Notre Dame community to their course sites, whether as collaborators, or corporate and off-campus students. These participants are added to Sakai with non-Notre Dame email accounts.

  1. Identify the email address that the participant uses most often. This will become their user name and will be on record to receive the email notifications that are generated from the course site.
    If you are adding more than one email address, press Enter after each one.

  2. Click Site Info > Add Participants. Enter the new user’s full email address in the Non-official Participants field. Click Continue.


    Note: Do not enter Notre Dame email addresses in this box. If a ND user will be added to your course site with the role of a guest, this is different from being a Guest user in Sakai. All ND netIDs should be entered in the Official Notre Dame NetID field.

  3. Choose the appropriate role for the new participant. Click Continue.

  4. Decide whether you want Sakai to send the new participant an email notification about having been added to your Sakai course site. If this is the only site you’re adding them to, it’s not necessary.

All new users, if this is the very first time their email address has been added to a Sakai site, will receive an email message that is automatically generated within Sakai. This email is important as it will give the new user a link to their account details, including setting up their password.


The Welcome to Sakai email will contain a link.


When you choose to send a notification from within the course site that you have added this person to the site (step 4 above), they will receive the Site Notification email below. They will need to set up their new account first before logging in via the link included in this second email.


Guest users must log in via the Email Login button at They will type their entire email address in the Email Login field and will enter the password they chose during set-up.


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Removing Participants

Official enrollment is managed by the Office of the Registrar, but it is possible to remove manually added participants from your site.

You must be assigned the role of Instructor or Designer to perform this task.  The steps below will guide you through the process.

To Remove a Participant

  1. Once logged in to Sakai, go to the site from which you want to remove a participant.

  2. Click Site Info on the navigation menu on the left. 

  3. Scroll down to the Participant List and select the checkbox for each manually added participant you wish to remove.



  4. Click Update Participants to remove the selected participants(s) from the list.

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Viewing Who is in Your Site

In your site, click the Gradebook tool (Students only), Roster tool, or the Site Info tool to see a list of participants who have access to your site.

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Changing Roles

Official enrollment is managed by the Office of the Registrar, but you can manage the role of Participants in your site that were manually added. Click here for descriptions and permissions of each role.

You must be assigned the role of Instructor, Designer, or Organizer to perform this task. The steps below will guide you through the process.

Assigning Permissions in Sakai

Each role (Instructor, for example) in Sakai is able to do certain things, but cannot do others. For example, the Student/Student Demo role can read resources and take quizzes but cannot grade or add content.

Some roles, such as Undergrad TA or Guest, may need their permissions modified to better suit the way you run your course. (To review a list of default permissions by role, see Role Comparison Chart.)

Most Sakai tools will require the following steps to edit a role’s permissions:

Note: Forums and Gradebook tools require their own steps. The Tests & Quizzes tool does not allow role permissions to be changed.

  1. From the left-hand navigation menu in your course site, select the tool for which you want to modify permissions.

  2. Click Permissions at the top of the tool home screen.


  3. Check the box(es) to add or delete permissions for each role as needed. While all roles are editable, the default settings for Student/Student Demo, Instructor, Designer, and TA Registrar are usually the desired settings.



  4. Click Save when selection is complete.

To Change the Role of a Participant

  1. Once logged into Sakai, go to the site in which you want to change a participant's role.
  2. Click Site Info on the navigation menu on the left.
  3. Change a participant's role by using the drop-down list under Role


    Important: Any manual changes to automatically managed site participants will override automatic management. For example, if you change a participants' role only you can change it again. Another example: if you add someone as a student, only you can remove them. This change in enrollment management became effective May 21, 2015.

  4. Click the Update Participants button to save your changes. The Participant’s role is now changed.

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Role Comparison Chart

Rolesandpermissions2016 Sakai10b

When Adding Participants manually it’s important to note those people must continue to be managed manually, i.e. student or Undergrad TA or other person, added by you must also be removed by you. Sakai offers visual clues as to which people were added to a course site via automated enrollment versus an instructor or designer’s action:


Those above were added manually and so, via the “Remove” button, are removable…

These below are added and maintained for you automatically (no “Remove” checkbox):


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Creating and Working with Groups

Creating groups within a course or project site can help facilitate collaborative work using tools such as Forums, Resources, and Assignments. The options for groups in these tools only become available when groups exist.


Note: Avoid using special characters such as parentheses and dollar signs when naming groups. These characters can potentially create sorting problems in Sakai and other programs that will render the groups and related data unusable.


Creating a Group

  1. From the course site navigation menu on the left, click Site Info.

  2. From the tool function links at the top, click Manage Groups.

  3. Click Create New Group.


  4. In the Title field, type a title for the group. Add a Description if necessary.


  5. If you would like students to see the members of each group, select the Allow members to see the other members of this group check box. Also, if you would like to make this group part of an existing joinable set, choose the Joinable Set from the drop-down menu. You may also specify a max number of members and whether or not students can view other members before joining.

    Note: A joinable set must already exist in order to show up in the drop-down menu when creating a new group. Joinable sets are groups where users can elect to join. Individual users may only join one group per set. To create a joinable set, go to Site Info > Create Joinable Set.  


  6. In the Site Member List, click the participants you want to add to (or remove from) the group. To select multiple participants, Ctrl + Click (Mac: Command+Click) on the names. (If this is a joinable group, you may skip assigning members and let students self-register.)

    Note: All site participants will appear in the list of potential group members in the Site Member List even after they have been assigned to a group. Site participants can, therefore, be in more than one group.


    If you want to include all site participants with the same role in a group (i.e., all TAs) you can click on that role title at the top of the Site Member List and add it to the Group Member List. (This will not, however, remove the individual TA’s name from the Site Member List.)

  7. Click Add to save the new group.

  8. Sakai will display the Group List, showing group titles, joinable sets (if applicable), sizes, and members.. You can edit groups or remove them from this screen. Click on Edit next to each group name to return to the Create New Group screen for revisions.


  9. Click the reset icon image009 to return to Site Info for an overview of your roster and group membership. Click on the Groups arrow to see your course site groups list.


    Click on Membership to preview or print an individual group membership list with contact information.


See Creating and Grading a Group Assignment for additional information.

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Allow Students to Sign Up for Joinable Groups

If you would like your students to choose the groups they will meet with on a regular basis, you can create these groups as joinable groups. Joinable sets are groups where users can elect to join. Individual users may only join one group per set.

First, you must create the joinable set.

  1. From the course site navigation menu on the left, click Site Info.
  2. From the tool function links at the top, click Manage Groups.
  3. Click Create Joinable Set.


  4. Enter a Set name for the groups and specify the Number of groups and Max members per group. You may also choose whether or not you want to allow students to see group membership before or after joining and allow student to leave groups they have joined.


  5. Click Add to create the groups. You will return to the group listing screen where all groups in the site are displayed. If you need to make any changes to one of the joinable groups, click on the group name to edit.


Now that you have set up the joinable groups, students can view and join groups by completing the following steps:

  1. Go to Site Info.
  2. Select Groups you can join and then click on the Join button for the desired group.


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Viewing Groups within the Roster

To view all course participants and their group involvement:

  1. Choose Group Membership from the Roster menu.


  2. Select By Group from the View drop-down box to display the entire course participant list divided into groups. This chart lists all group involvement and each participant’s role within the course site.


    Group membership lists can be printed or exported into an Excel spreadsheet.

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Be the Student

There is a View Site As dropdown menu that allows you to see a basic view of your site as astudent will see it. However, you won’t be able to take a quiz, or receive a grade, so for full-testing of how your students experience your course flow, quizzes, assignments and so forth,we recommend you Be the Student. See below.

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How to Create a Demo Student Account

The best way to view your course site from a student's perspective is by creating a demo Student account.

Note: You cannot use an email address as your demo Student account.  Make sure you have another email address available.  The steps below will guide you through the process.

Once logged into Sakai, go to the course site to which you want to add a demo Student account.

  1. Click Site Info on the navigation menu on the left.
  2. Click Add Participants.
  3. Enter the non_ND email address that you would like to use as your demo Student account. 



    Note: If this is the first time the email address is added by any Sakai Site, an email containing a temporary password will be sent to that address. 


  4. Do not change the options for Participant Roles and Participant Status. Click Continue. 

  5. Select Student and click Continue. 


  6. Select whether or not to send an email notifying the added participant(s) of the site's availability.  


  7. Click Continue. 

  8. Confirm the information and then click Finish. The newly added participant(s) will display in the Participant List within Site Info.

  9. Access your external email account and use the email address and temporary password sent to you to log in to Sakai.


Note: We encourage you to change your random, temporary password to something easier for you to remember, following the instructions provided in the email (select the Account tool from My Workspace).

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Importing Course Content from Previous Semesters

You can import and reuse course content such Assignments, Gradebook structure, and Forum topics from a previous course site in Sakai into a new course site using the Import from Site function. This precludes the need to recreate content each semester.

  1. From your new course site, click Site Info from the left-hand navigation menu and choose Import from Site from the menu across the top of the page.
  2. From the Import Data screen, select I would like to merge my data. This will not replace existing material in your new site and offers the most options for content choice.



    Note: Gradebook items/settings and Grade Scale will import; however, tool-generated Gradebook items must be removed before republishing related Tests & Quizzes, Assignments, etc. If you do not delete these items, imported tools will create redundant Gradebook items when you change settings and republish them.

  3. Sakai displays a list of all your available courses, both past and present. Select the site(s) from which you want to copy material. Click Continue.


  4. A list of material you can import from other sites displays. Select the appropriate boxes and click Finish.
    Note: If there are tools containing content that you would like to import, but which are not already active in your current site, they will appear listed with a + sign to the right of the tool name. Selecting these tools will add the tool as well as the content within the tool, to your site.


Notes regarding imported material:

  • Newly-added Assignments will post as drafts. You will need to edit them to update due dates and site availability and then post them when updates are complete.



  • Newly-added Tests & Quizzes load into the Working Copies tab and remain there until settings are updated and the assessment is published.


  • If the original quiz settings under Grading indicated that grades will be sent to the Gradebook, this item will not appear in the Gradebook until it has been published in your new site.


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Tips & Tricks – Importing from Site

  1. When naming any item in Sakai—such as a file, folder, forum, or test—do not use any foreign or unsupported characters, including / \ ? * ” : < > # %. Any of these characters can cause an error when you attempt to upload the file or when you transfer files from one semester to the next.
  2. You can copy most materials and components from past course or project sites when creating a new site in Sakai. 
    Material that will not import includes:
    • Student-generated content such as forum comments, submitted assignments, etc.
    • External tools such as Piazza and Media Gallery. The content of these tools is hosted on their respective external servers. These tools, as well as any instructor-sourced plug-ins, must be managed within the tool interface. See help page for the respective external tools at for more information on importing this material.
  3. Only the Instructor, Designer, and TA Registrar roles can import from sites.
  4. When you select Import from Site, the recommended option is to select I would like to merge my data. This option combines data on the current site with data from the selected site.


    Note: We do not recommend importing the Gradebook. Though Gradebook items/settings will import, any items created in Tests & Quizzes, Assignments, etc. must be deleted prior to import; otherwise, imported tools will create redundant Gradebook items when you change settings and republish them.
  5. Ensure that you update all dates for assignments, tests, announcements, etc. in your new course.


    Note: Any internal links imported from one course site to another will be broken. For example, if a syllabus item included a link to a file in Resources, that link points to the old course and must be updated so students can access it in the new site.

    Note: Create a project site that can serve as a master site to store reusable content to link to your course sites. Make content stored in Resources publicly viewable to maintain links.

  6. Import Resources. They contain essential course files. Without these files, your new course may not operate properly.
    Note: We recommend that you do not import Forums. Set up new forum topics from scratch.

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Copying or Moving Files from One Sakai Course to Another

  1. Open the new course site.
  2. Go to the Resources tool in your new course using the navigation menu.
  3. From Resources, click Copy Content from My Other Sites. This will open a list of the other Sakai course sites that you own. This list will include all Sakai course sites from previous years (including previously hidden sites), in alphabetical order.


  4. From the site list, choose the site from which you want to import files by clicking on the folder icon next to the chosen course title. The + on the file folder icon indicates there are files inside. Folders without the + sign are empty.


  5. Sakai will list all the available files from that course site.  Check the box next to the items you want to move or copy into your new course site. You may select entire folders, or individual files, either one at a time or several at once. Once you have made your selections, click the Copy button to copy them into the new site.


  6. Sakai will show clipboard icons next to your new course site Resources folders. Click the clipboard icon next to the file folder into which you want to place the moved or copied files.


  7. Your copied files will post in your new site’s Resources folder.


  8. If you did not choose to place the items into a specific file folder, they will be listed beneath the existing site file folders. You can now organize them within Resources by following these instructions.

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Supersections (Video Walkthroughs)

Why Use Supersections?

An individual instructor teaching multiple identical sections of a course may want to create a single course site to inform and interact with all students in all sections in one place. This new single course site then contains all student enrollments, and is a single place to make materials available, whether they are library e-reserves, web links, or lecture notes.

Creating Supersections

Note: Your new course site will appear in Sakai within 24 hrs.

  1. Log in to Navigate to the Academic tab.


  2. In the Course Management channel of the InsideND home page, click Supersection Builder.


  3. At the SakaiNet Supersection Builder page, select the current term.


  4. Find the sections you wish to group in the Ungrouped Sections list. Check the box next to each one you wish to combine.


    NOTE: If you are teaching cross-listed sections, you will see them pre-grouped. You could select two or more of those to combine enrollments into a larger course site.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Group Selected Sections.


  6. A new window will open confirming the selections you have chosen and the new course site name, which will end with SS##.


  7. Once your Supersection appears, remember that you will need to publish the new course site, and unpublish the pre-existing ones (if applicable), so that your students see only the super-sectioned course site. This will eliminate any confusion about which site they should use.

See How To Publish Your Course Site for more details.

Allow 24 hours for the new course site to appear in your- and your students’ – site ribbon. If you do not see your new Supersection course site within 24 hours, please contact the OIT Help Desk at or by phone at 574-631-8111.

Video Walkthroughs

How to Create a Supersection

Create a Supersection - Multiple Instructors

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