How Sakai Solved the Multi-Section Problem for Romance Languages

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Rob Moore – UNC-Chapel Hill Dept of Romance Languages
Rob Moore is a 2004 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked at UNC for almost six years. He is entering his fourth year as Manager of the Foreign Language Resource Center in the Department of Romance Languages. In this position, Rob collaborates with instructors and other departments on projects to improve the quality of language teaching as well as integrates innovative technology into the language curriculum. Recent completely projects have included and

Department of Romance Languages has several large section courses, which can have as many as 45 sections taught by multiple instructors with one course coordinator. The course coordinator provides syllabi, assignments, and tests for the sections. Using Sakai’s section aware tools, these courses were moved from Blackboard to Sakai, which significantly improved communication and coordination between coordinators and instructors. The move to Sakai has not only saved time but also significantly improved communication and coordination between the coordinator and the instructors. Starting in the fall of 2009, each of the large section classes for French and Spanish had one main Sakai site, with the course coordinator designated as the instructor. Students were enrolled in sections within this main course, and instructors were set as teaching assistants for their section. The course coordinator can post necessary information to this one site and all students are able to see it, which eliminates the need for the coordinator to manage multiple sites and instructors having to move items from external locations to Blackboard. Another advantage of Sakai is that it segments students enrolled in the sections so that when they log in, they see only classmates from their section. As a result, any assignments or discussion boards are available to a specific section, and they are graded and seen only by that section’s instructor.

This works well for large multisection courses but it is hard to run the gradebook. If one instructor changes all the grade weighting, there can be a disaster. I am wondering if Gradebook 2 won’t fix this.
We should look at the sections tool for our nursing classes.
Students do not see other students in the different sections. All of the tools are section aware.
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