Sakai Discussions Survival Guide for Students
Tips for Working with Sakai Discussions
You have an assignment due tomorrow to compose a 200-word essay in response to another student's work already posted in the Discussions tool. You spend quite a bit of time in the Discussions tool trying to carefully craft a brilliant reply. Then, you click the 'Post' button in the Discussions tool… and for some weird and very alarming reason, your post and all that time and work is gone! What happened?!? How can you avoid the pain of this ever happening again?
The good news is that you can avoid most problems like this and have a relatively trouble-free experience with the Discussions tool by following the Five Tips described below.
Tip 1: Compose elsewhere, save it, then paste in Sakai to post.
If it will take you more than a few minutes to type your work, we highly recommend that you compose and save your work elsewhere (e.g., in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc.). Then copy and paste your work in Sakai’s rich-text editor to format it (if necessary) and then post it.
Also, Sakai users have enabled by default an auto-save feature that allows the browser you’re using to store for a limited time the rich-text content you’re entering into the editor. If enabled, such content can be retrieved if, for instance, you accidentally navigate away from the post you are working on. For more details about this feature, see the article, How does auto-save for the Rich-Text Editor work?
Tip 2: Do not use the web browser's 'Back' button to navigate through Discussions.
When navigating through the Discussions tool, do not use your web browser's 'Back' button-- (typically depicted as an arrow that points to the left)-- to go to the previous page. Note that tools in Sakai, including the Discussions tool, are not web pages with distinct URLs that you navigate through. To navigate through content displayed in the Discussions tool, use the links and buttons in the tool. To return to the main view in the Discussions tool, click the tool reset button.
Tip 3: When working with Discussions, do not open Sakai in multiple web browser tabs.
Having Sakai open in multiple browser tabs is generally not a problem when you are browsing content in Sakai. It's only potentially a problem when you are attempting to submit work through Discussions, Tests & Quizzes, Assignments, and elsewhere. To avoid this problem, close extra browser tabs containing Sakai before beginning such online tasks. (Leaving open web browser tabs which display PDF files stored in Sakai is ok.)
Tip 4: Click once on links and buttons in the Discussions tool.
Avoid double-clicking links and buttons in the Discussions tool (and in other Sakai tools). Single-clicks are sufficient. Double-clicking might yield unexpected results.
Tip 5: Post your work, and then verify that your post was successful.
After you have posted to Discussions, check to make sure that your post is indeed present in the intended conversation in the Discussions tool. If for some weird reason it is not, refresh your web browser and navigate to the conversation where your post should be displayed. If it's still not present (an odd case), you might need to repost your message. See Tip 1 in this guide to avoid the frustration of having to re-compose your work.
Also, please note the time when your first attempted post had failed, and send an email to the Sakai Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to describe what occurred, and they will investigate. The more details you provide, the better. Helpful details include the date and time when your post failed, the title of the course site, the title of the forum, the title of the topic, and if you were replying to another person's post, the subject title and author of the post you attempted to reply to.