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Top Updates to Your Course Sites This Spring

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January 14, 2010. With the new year comes a new set of improvements to Columbia's popular course management and collaboration systems. How can you benefit from the latest updates to Columbia's Wikispaces, Sakai, and EdBlogs systems? Read on to find out.

First up is Columbia Wikispaces. The University's wiki platform powered by Wikispaces.com now offers a new feature for faculty to receive a "daily digest of changes"—an email that includes all of the edits and comments made to a course wiki. According to Wikispaces.com, "This email is easy to read (or scan), and lists every single edit and comment you’ve chosen to monitor, in the order that they were made. It’s a simple and effective way to manage activity on the wikis you care about." To set up this feature, go to "My Account" in your course wiki, and under "Email Monitored Changes," select the option for one email per day.

Next, Columbia's Sakai system—also known as the alternative to CourseWorks—was upgraded over the break to implement some new features of Sakai 2.6. These features include email archives and improvements to the test and quiz, calendaring, and data tracking tools. Additional tools include links to the student facebook page, user-interface changes to the discussion board tool, and integration of a voice recording tool (primarily for use with language courses).

Finally, experience improved navigation in EdBlogs using the site's new horizontal administration menu. Once you enable the "WordPress Admin Bar" plugin, the menu will become available at the top of the EdBlogs page and accessible while editing and viewing posts. Adding video is also made easier with a new toolbar feature for linking and embedding videos. Additionally, options for student broadcast emails and subscriptions to receive updates on your blog's activity is now available on EdBlogs through the "Subscribe2" plugin. Lastly, all EdBlogs sites are now optimized for smartphones. If you don't have an EdBlogs site, jump onto your smartphone and request one today!

If you have any questions about these updates, or would like to get started with a Sakai, wiki, or blog site, email CCNMTL today at ccnmtl@columbia.edu.