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we're upgrading to Sakai 20 December 3rd announcement next to cup of hot chocolate with snowman marshmallowsWe’re continuing the Sakai 20 Blog Series with more Assignments updates. Earlier this week, we shared the new Assignments document preview Grader that is coming in Sakai 20. Find out what other updates we will see in Assignments on December 3rd. Spoiler — you’ll be able to unlock Groups associated with Group Assignments!

Updates for Students

24-Hour Due Date Reminder

Instructors will have a new setting to Send (students) a reminder email 24 hours before the due date! You can easily (un)check this option when editing an Assignment. Students may disable email notifications in their Home tab > Preferences > Notifications.

All users will also receive new notification alerts through the bullhorn icon (top Sakai menu) for updates from Assignments and several other Sakai tools!

Sakai bullhorn alerts

Assignment Status Bar

Students will see a new status bar for each Assignment, making it easier for them to check their progress on each Assignment. The different statuses are:

  1. Draft – In progress
  2. Submitted
  3. Returned (grade & feedback)

Sakai Assignments status bar shows student has submitted

Updates for Instructors

In addition to the document preview Grader, instructors will also see improved functionality for Group Assignments and importing options.

Unlock Assignment Groups to Update Student Membership

The Group submission feature allows one student to submit an Assignment on behalf of their whole Group, which is then easily graded as a group (individual overrides are possible). This helps facilitate team work and student collaborations. In our current version of Sakai however, once a Group is tied to a Group Assignment, it gets locked permanently with a padlock indicator in the Group List:

locked Sakai Groups

No changes can be made to the Group, and it cannot be deleted. The workaround is for instructors to create a copy of the Group with the updated student membership, and then edit the Assignment to remove the old Group and add the new Group. This can be cumbersome as student membership and enrollment change throughout the semester, cluttering the site with Group duplicates that cannot be deleted. In Sakai 20, you can remove a Group from an Assignment, which then unlocks the Group, allowing you to edit or delete it! If you’re updating a Group, you can easily reattach it to the Group Assignment. The Group List page will also notify you which tool the Group is locked by and on which specific items, such as the name of the Assignment.

Sakai Group locked by tool name and item

Note: Once a submission exists for a specific group on a group Assignment, that group cannot be removed from the Assignment and therefore can no longer be edited or deleted.

Publish Assignments during Import

If you typically reuse old course content through the Import from Site feature, you will notice a new option for the Assignments tool to automatically publish Assignments. It will publish the Assignments tool content, as well as all associated items, such as in the Gradebook and Calendar. Be sure to update the dates.

publish Assignments content during Sakai Import function

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