Rutgers updates Sakai for upcoming academic year


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Photo by Chloe Coffman |

Photo Illustration | The Office of Instructional and Research Technology will upgrade Sakai over the summer, adding new features and consolidating others, like the two different gradebook functions. They will also provide professors with more user-friendly tools.


During the 2016-2017 school year, Rutgers University will be implementing changes to the Sakai site.

Gayle Stein, associate director for Instructional Technology, said the Office of Instructional and Research Technology upgrades Sakai regularly to incorporate the latest updates from the international, open source and Sakai community.

“We want to provide the best possible service to Rutgers faculty and students,” Stein said.

On Sakai, there will be a data-shifter starting June 2016, which will allow an instructor to change the dates forward to the current semester for duplicated sites, Stein said. Also, a new grade book will end up replacing "grade book" and "grade book 2" starting August 2016, she said.

With the new Sakai changes, starting June 2017 students will no longer be able to access discussion and private messages since a forum will be replacing these tools, she said. Assignments two will end up replacing assignments, Stein said.

“In the past, students have responded favorably to changes we’ve made in Sakai,” she said.

Victoria Walega, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy first-year student, uses Sakai often to communicate with other students and professors. She regularly uses the forums and messages on Sakai. Walega thinks the new changes on Sakai will take some time to adjust to.

“I think any improvement on it could make for positive feedback from the Rutgers University community,” she said.

If there is a need for upgrading the website possibly the Office of Instructional and Research Technology see an issue with the website that students are not aware of, she said.

No longer having access to messages on Sakai could be confusing, Walega said. Over time though she thinks students will end up becoming acquainted with these upgrades, she said.

“If possible I would love for professors to be able to put up a podcast on Sakai of their lectures as a study tool,” she said.

She has seen an improvement in her learning by re-listening to lectures, she said.

Adeel Ahmed, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, uses Sakai to check his homework and grades, and to submit assignments.

“These changes to Sakai are great if the advantages are greater than the disadvantages,” he said.

When Ahmed uses Sakai, he said his Dropbox does not work properly. He is unable to submit assignments and has not been able to get the necessary help from the technology department.

“I feel Rutgers should make Sakai more accessible for students by creating a separate Sakai application,” he said.

Mouna Santin, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, uses Sakai at least twice a day during the school year.

“I am graduating, so I do not really have a strong feeling about these changes,” she said.

Sakai can be more user friendly, but having worked with other websites, it is not that bad, Santin said.

Some of her classes use Sakai as a discussion platform, she said. But its current set up makes it difficult for students to keep up with all the messages, Santin said.

“I do not think Sakai has any problems that need to be fixed in the future,” she said. “I think it's a relatively easy website to use,” she said.


Jessica Herring is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and minoring in English. She is a staff writer at The Daily Targum. She can be found on Twitter @Jesslindsey93.


Jessica Herring

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