Strategies for Reusing and Refreshing Course Content in Sakai
Consider the following strategies when you decide to copy or reuse content from one course site to another in Sakai.
Reflect on the Delivery of Your Past Course
Think about how the delivery of your past course went with the goal of informing continuous improvement of your new course. Review your course evaluations from previous iterations of this course. What adjustments and improvements would you make this time around? In particular:
- What went really well for you and your students? Why?
- How well did the course, unit, and lesson objectives lead to the outcomes you desired?
- What content, instructional materials, activities, and assessments were problematic for you and/or your students? Why?
- Where would you remove content or make improvements?
- Are there areas of your course schedule and sequence that need to be adjusted?
- What updates need to be made to instructional materials such as videos, assignments, resources, etc.?
- What dates, times, instructions, and processes need to be updated for the new course?
Copy Course Content to Your New Course
As you create new Sakai courses, you may want to copy content such as files, links, Lessons pages, Assignments, Tests & Quizzes, etc. from previous courses into your new course. Though there are a number of ways to move course content from one site to another in Sakai, some of the most common are elaborated below.
Using Import from Site
Site Info includes an Import from Site button that enables you to copy content from one or more tools in a site. You can then select which tools you want to pull content from. The import process copies all content from each tool selected and moves it into the new site. For instance, if you chose Lessons content, all Lessons pages would be copied. This process is most appropriate for copying large amounts of formatted content. Consider whether it may be most efficient to copy everything and then delete or update specific content as needed.
Please Note: Some content, such as Lesson pages, may include images, links, and assignments. If you don't copy content from Resources and Assignments, these items may be missing from the Lesson pages.
Any content with dates, such as Announcements or Assignments, will automatically be placed in a draft status with the titles highlighted in red so you can update the dates before making them live. You'll need to re-post them to make them visible to students.
For further details, see the chapter, Import Content from Another Site, of the Site Setup Tutorial and the Site Info help document, How do I copy my content from one site to another?
There may be cases in which you'd like to a few copy blocks of rich-text from one course to another. The most effective way to do is this is to go to the course where the rich-text resides, select to edit it with Sakai's rich-text editor, also known as the CKEditor, and click the Source button. Clicking the Source button reveals an HTML view of the content, though you don't need to know anything about HTML. Simply select all of the text and copy it. Then, go to your new site and open the CKEditor in the area where you want to place the rich-text. Make sure to click the Source, then paste your text into the text window. Click the Source button again to see the rendered view of the text and save your work. Check images and links; you may have to update images or links if they resided in your older course and have not yet been copied to your new course.
Exporting and Importing Assessments
Tests & Quizzes provides an to option export each assessment individually as a zip file, including all the questions in the assessment and the assessment's settings. You can then import the zip file from an exported assessment into your new course to create a new assessment.
For further details, see the Tests & Quizzes help document, How do I import and export assessments?
Using Question Pools
The Tests & Quizzes tool includes the functionality to create question pools to store test questions. You can then assign questions or entire parts of an assessment to a question pool. When creating a new assessment you can select one or more questions from a question pool for inclusion.
For further details, see the following Tests & Quizzes help documents:
Prune Outdated or Ineffective Content
If you you use the Import from Site function of Site Info to copy content to your new site, remove any content you no longer plan to use. But be aware of threads that might need to be updated in other areas of your course. For instance, if you remove an Assignment, be sure to remove references in the Syllabus, Lesson pages, assessment plan, Gradebook, Resources, etc.
Update and Enhance Course Content
Update existing content and pay particular attention to updating dates, times, and processes in areas such as the Syllabus, Lesson pages, Assignments, Forums, Tests & Quizzes, etc. Update any changed Resource files with newly updated files. Prepare announcements and have them ready to go in draft mode. Freshen up the home page material, faculty introduction, and notes about course evaluations.
Add any new content to your course, being mindful of how these changes might affect student (and faculty) workload in the course. When adding new content, consider how it might affect the sequence and timing of the course. You may need to redefine and update numbering and titles of units, lessons, assignments, assessments, etc. And consider developing smooth transitions in the text and navigational directions when moving to and from the new content.
If you plan to reuse content such as videos or assignments, consider future-proofing the content by removing references to dates, times, etc. so the content can be used again without modification. Or alternatively, consider placing volatile content in areas that are easy to find and update when you reuse the content in a new course.
Review the Entire Course
Add a student test account to your new course site so you can test your course in a role of student. You can request a student test account by emailing the Sakai Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Note: Your course will need to be published to be viewable in your student test account.
In one browser, login to Sakai and go to your new course. In a different browser, login to Sakai using your student test account, so you can review the entire course from a student role. This will help you identify missing images, broken links, unreleased or unposted content, etc. that student may not see. Make any adjustments to your course in situ, in the role of Instructor. You can then look in your student browser session to be sure the changes are implemented and visible to students.
Check in particular for:
- Accurate dates and times throughout the course
- Consistent numbering and titles of Lessons, Assignments, Forums, Tests & Quizzes, etc.
- Clear and accurate instructions for navigation, assignments, etc.
- Clear context, purpose, and expectations for each section, activity, etc. in Lessons pages.
- Smooth navigation and flow through the course content
- Removing dated video content or references to content that has been removed
- Accurate display of images (no broken links)
- Functional links to any resources or web links