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Courses Tools

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 Assignments tool

In the Assignments tool, students can submit assignment deliverables. Refer to the instructions below for submitting coursework.

Assignment Tips:

  • Pay close attention to the instructionsdue date, and the number of attempts allowed/remaining. For example, if an assignment doesn't allow resubmission ("Number of resubmissions allowed 0"), then you will only have one chance to submit your assignment. Read all details carefully, plan ahead accordingly, and double-check your work before submitting your final file(s) or content.
  • For long responses, essays, or papers, draft your content in a word processor or Google Docs. You can then submit your final work to the assignment.
  • Whether you write in Microsoft Word or the rich text editor in Courses, you should save frequently to reduce the chance of lost work. If using the text editor, click "Save Draft" every 5-10 minutes to save your progress. If you choose not to save often, then you take the risk of lost work due to a power outage, browser session timeout, accidentally clicking the browser "Back" button, accidentally closing the browser window, or similar situations. Be smart and save frequently.
  • Be sure to "Submit" your final work before the deadline! Saved drafts are not submissions. So that your instructor can review and grade your work, you must "Submit" your assignment.


Submit Coursework to Assignments

  1. Click "Assignments" in the left tool menu.
    Sakai 12 Assignments Tool Image
  2. Review the list of open assignments and click the specific "Assignment Title" you wish to access.
    Sakai 12 Assignment Example Student
  3. Pay attention to several main areas:
    • ASSIGNMENT DETAILS: Assignment name, due date, number of submissions allowed, and status (opened or closed) of the assignment.  Pay special attention to the due date and the instructions.Sakai 12 Assignment Example #2 Student
    • TEXT EDITOR: If this feature is enabled, you can write or copy/paste information into the rich text editor window.Sakai 12 Assignments CKEditor Image
    • FILE ATTACHMENTS: If enabled, this is where you can upload file attachments. The button will either say "Choose File" or "Browse," depending on your web browser. Sakai 12 Assignments Choose File Student Image
    • HONOR PLEDGE: If enabled, read the pledge and mark your acceptance before submitting your final work.Sakai 12 Assignments Honor Pledge Student Image
  4. Complete the assignment based on the instructions.
  5. Click "Proceed" when you are ready to submit. Alternatively, there are other options you can select as well if you are not yet ready to submit.
    • Preview: This option will allow you to preview your work before submission.
    • Save Draft: You can complete part of an assignment and save your progress. However, you must still ultimately "Submit" your work before the deadline to receive credit.
    • Cancel: Click this option to return to the main Assignments list.
  6. After clicking "Proceed", you'll reach the last step, the "Submit this Assignment?" page. Click "Submit" to finish your assignment and send your work to your instructor. You can click "Edit" if you wish to go back.
  7. After clicking the "Submit" button, you should receive an email confirmation that your assignment was submitted. Note: be sure to check your spam folder if you don't see it. If you still cannot find it, then you may not have submitted your assignment properly. 

Submitting a Turnitin Assignment

Viewing a Turnitin Report

 Dropbox tool

The Drop Box is a private file exchange between students and instructors. Instructors see all student drop boxes, but students only see their own. Use the Drop Box to share files with your professor.


  1. Click "Drop Box" in the left tool menu.Sakai 12 Drop Box Tool Image
  2. Click "Actions" and then choose "Upload Files." Sakai 12 Drop Box Student Upload Image
  3. Drag-and-drop files from your computer onto the gray box or click the grey box to choose a file from your computer.
    • NOTE: The maximum upload size is 250MB. This can be a single 250MB file or several smaller files that collectively cannot be over 250MB of total content.Sakai 12 Drop Box Student Upload 2 Image
  4. Click "Continue" when finished.

 Discussions tool

Through the Discussions tool (formerly called Forums), you can contribute to class discussions on certain topics related to the course. 

Discussions Tips:

  • Avoid lost work! For long posts or replies, draft your content in a word processor or Google Docs, saving frequently. You can then paste your content into the text editor when you are ready to post.
  • Be thoughtful and respectful in your posts. Read the prompt, question, or instruction carefully for understanding.  Do all pre-work, such as reading the article, book, research, or other materials. Don't procrastinate; give yourself plenty of time to reflect before you post. Provide evidence or examples for any arguments or positions.
  • Be thoughtful and respectful in your replies. Ask yourself, "How am I moving the conversation forward? How am I contributing to the thought process? Am I providing relevant, constructive feedback? Am I acknowledging the good work of others and offering additional support, resources, or areas of consideration to expand the topic or dive deeper? If I disagree with the author, have I asked the right follow-up questions to be sure I haven't misinterpreted the original intent or perspective? What evidence or support am I bringing to the table if I have a different opinion or counterpoint?"
  • Can't edit or delete your own post? Contact your instructor and clarify your instructor's policy on editing or deleting your own post. 


  1. Click "Discussions" in the left tool menu.
  2. Click the topic title.Sakai 12 Forums Tool Topic Example Student Image
    • Click "Start a New Conversation."Sakai 12 Forums Tool Start New Conversation Student Image
    • Enter the "Title" of the conversation or thread. 
    • Enter your post in the "Message" rich text editor.
    • (Optional)  Following the on-screen instructions, click "Add attachments" to add one or more file attachments.
    • Click "Post" when finished.
    • Click the conversation or thread title.Sakai 12 Forums Tool Topic Reply Student Image
    • Click "Reply" below the person's name.Sakai 12 Forum Tool Topic Reply Example Student Image
    • Re-read the original prompt, response, or thread for understanding. Don't forget to read the main Forum or Topic description(s) for context and any discussion requirements from your professor.
    • Use the rich text editor to write and format your response. If you are planning a longer response, consider drafting your post in a word processor, like Microsoft Word, and returning to Courses when you are ready to post. 
    • (Optional) Following the on-screen instructions, click "Add Attachments" to add one or more file attachments.
  5. Click "Post" when finished.

 Messages tool

The Messages tool allows you to communicate with your instructors or fellow students in class sites.


  1. Click "Messages" in the left tool menu.
  2. Click "Compose Message."
  3. Select your recipient(s) in the "To" drop-down menu. You may select individuals, roles, or groups.
  4. Verify that the "Send cc" checkbox is selected to also send the message via email.
  5. (Optional) Select a "Label" for the message: Normal, Low, or High.
  6. Enter the "Subject" for the message.
  7. Enter the "Message" in the rich text editor. 
  8. (Optional) Use "Add Attachments" to include files with the message.
  9. Click "Send" to finish.

 Gradebook tool

The Gradebook is where instructors may post scores related to your course work.


1. Click "Gradebook" in the left tool menu. Note: If you do not see the Gradebook, then reach out to your Professor.
Gradebook button

2. There are six areas you should be aware of:

  • (A) Course Grade - This is a "running total" of your grade. Some professors may wait until the end of the term to display this information, so you may see "Not yet available."
  • (B) Gradebook Item - This is the activity name, such as an assignment, discussion, quiz, etc.
  • (C) Grade - The score or percentage that you earned for the activity out of the total possible.
  • (D) Weight - If your professor is using weighting, you will see how much items in this category count toward your overall course grade.
  • (E) Due Date - The deadline for an activity, if entered by your professor. Always check your syllabus, or with your instructor, if a deadline is unclear.
  • (F) Comments - Notes or comments that your professor chose to enter about your performance on an activity.
    Sakai 12 Gradebook Example

 Test & Quizzes tool

Your instructor may administer quizzes, surveys, or tests through the Tests & Quizzes tool.

Test-Taking Tips

Before you begin your assessment:

  • Read all Instructions and questions carefully. We cannot stress this step enough. The most common reason why students do not perform well on assessments is because they skip, or rush, through instructions or questions.
  • Study and prepare before you begin. The same preparation you put into a classroom-based exam is required for online assessments. Be sure to study and be ready for your exam before you begin.
  • Use a reliable internet connection and plug in your laptop. If possible, we recommend that you use a wired (ethernet) internet connection when taking an online assessment. If you only have access to Wifi, please refer to our internet performance tips. Also, if you are a laptop user, be sure to use your AC power adapter. You may lose work if you lose your network connection or power during a quiz or test.
  • Use a supported web browser that is properly configured. Be sure to use a supported web browser. You must also allow cookies, JavaScript, and Java.
  • Close all other browser windows and tabs. For the best experience, we strongly recommend that you use a single browser window to take your assessment. Close all other windows and tabs to avoid difficulties or interference from other websites. Finally, do not open the Courses site in multiple tabs or you may lose work.
  • Disable third-party browser security add-ons or applications. To complete your online quiz or test, you need to submit the assessment online. Some browser toolbars, add-ons, or internet software may block pop-up messages or filter information you submit online. These tools could interfere with your assessment. We recommend that you temporarily disable any web filtering or pop-up blocking software while you take your quiz or test.
  • Log directly into Courses (powered by Sakai). For the best experience, we strongly recommend that you log into Courses directly at http://courses.pepperdine.edu and click "Pepperdine Login." If connecting through WaveNet, the portal will send pop-up warnings every 20 minutes to keep the WaveNet session alive. These pop-up messages may impact your test or interfere with your concentration.

During your test or quiz:

  • Do not use your browser's back button. When navigating your online exam, only use the navigation buttons within the exam itself. Do not use the "back" button or other buttons in your web browser since you may lose your work.
  • Wait for each page to load completely. Wait for each page of the exam to load completely. If you start writing or selecting answers before the page finishes loading, you may lose some of your work.
  • Do not open other browser windows or tabs.  Do not open the Courses site or other websites in multiple tabs or windows, else you may receive a "data discrepancy" error and lose your work. One window/tab only is recommended.
  • Be mindful of your time. During your online exam or quiz you should pay attention to the assessment deadline, any timer, and the main assessment timeout.
    • DEADLINE: Some assessments are configured to allow submission after the deadline, others are not. If you start an assessment at 2:45 PM and the professor set a hard deadline of 3:00 PM, then you only have 15 minutes to complete the assessment.
    • TIMER: On timed exams, the clock doesn't stop ticking. Once you start a timed assessment, you must finish within the time limit.
    • TIMEOUT: While the system timeout is two hours, an assessment timeout is one hour. To keep your login session active, you must click an exam button, such as "Save and Continue," "Table of Contents," or "Submit for Grading" to save your progress and keep your session alive.
  • "Save" as you go. During the test, use the "Save" button at the bottom of the page to save your current progress. In the event that your internet connection is disrupted or you accidentally close your web browser, this will allow you to return to your last save point while the exam is still open. 
  • Write short answer or essay questions in a word processor, or text editor, and then paste into Courses. As a best practice, we recommend that you compose and save your written work frequently in a word processor. This way you'll have a backup copy of any short answer or essay questions in case of a problem with your computer or your network connection.
  • You must click "Submit for Grading" to receive credit for your test or quiz.


  1. Click "Tests & Quizzes" in the left tool menu.
  2. Below "Take an Assessment," click the title of the test or quiz you wish to take.
  3. Review the details carefully.
    • Read any introduction your professor may have entered about the assessment.
    • Pay attention to the due date and whether the quiz, test, or survey has a timer. If a timed assessment, you must submit your test within the time limit or else it will be automatically submitted when the test time expires.
    • If your professor has enabled the "Honor Pledge," you must select the checkbox to accept that you will neither give nor receive any aid on the assessment. 
  4. Click "Begin Assessment" to start your test or quiz. 
  5. Answer each question, clicking "Save" or "Next," to move through the assessment.
    • If all questions appear on a single page, be sure to scroll down and click "Save" frequently to save your progress.
    • If your professor has enabled the feature, you can use the "Mark for Review" checkbox for your personal reminder to review the question before submission.
    • At the right, use the "Question Progress" sidebar to see the questions you've answered, not answered, or marked for review.
  6. Click "Submit for Grading" to finish.
  7. Read the "Assessment Submission Warning" and then click "Submit for Grading" again to confirm.
  8. Review or print the final submission details page.
  9. Click "Continue" to return to the main "Tests & Quizzes" page.

 Zoom in Courses

The Zoom Pro tool allows you to access online class meetings scheduled by your professor.

Online Meeting Tips:

  • Be polite and respectful; show up prepared and on time to your online session.
  • With your computer or mobile Zoom application, be sure to check for updates.
  • Join a Zoom test meeting to verify your connection and audio.
  • Use a headset or at least headphones/earbuds to reduce audio feedback.
  • Reduce any other internet usage during your class or meeting; focus your bandwidth on your session.
  • Close unnecessary browser tabs and applications.
  • Mute your microphone if you are not speaking.
  • Reduce background noise or disruption during your online session, if you will be speaking.
  • If you will be presenting, practice sharing your screen ahead of time (before your session).


  1. Log in to Courses and navigate to your class site.
  2. Click the Zoom tool and select "Recording Details" next to the meeting you wish to view. (See Image A below.)
  3. Select the desired recording type, e.g. video or audio-only format only. (See Image B below.)

Image A: Student Zoom Pro Tool in Courses (Accessing Recording Details)

Zoom Recording Details Window

Image B: Recording Details Page (Accessing Recording Type)

Zoom Format Window



Please refer to the Zoom Training Guides.

 Add Your Name Pronunciation

In Courses, students may now upload an audio recording of their name pronunciation and input accompanying phonetic details. This data will be available for instructors in the Roster tool.

Note: to successfully make a vocal recording of your name pronunciation, you must have a functioning microphone on your computer. If necessary, be sure to enable/plug-in your microphone and install the latest hardware drivers to your computer.


  1. In Courses, click the "Home" site and select "Profile" in the tool menu.
  2. On the "My Profile" tab, locate the "Name Pronunciation" section.
  3. Hover your mouse cursor over the area (or tap the heading on mobile) to reveal the "Edit" button, and then click "Edit."Hovering over the "Name Pronunciation" section will reveal the "Edit" button.
  4. (Optional) In the "Pronouns" field, select a desired pronoun option in the drop-down.
  5. In the "Phonetic Pronunciation" field, input a textual guide corresponding to the pronunciation of your name. Examples include:
    • kris-TEEN BEAR-it
    • j-AHN BUCK-ing-ham
    • j-ORE-dan lot
  6. For the Name Recording field, click the red "Record" button.Click the red "Record" button to begin the recording process.
  7. Important: your web browser may prompt you to "Allow" courses.pepperdine.edu to use your microphone. Be sure to click "Allow."At the top of your browser, you may be prompted to allow your microphone to record. Be sure to click "Allow."
  8. Clearly speak your name into your microphone and click "Stop" when finished. Note: there is a maximum recording time of twenty (20) seconds.Once you have finished recording, click the "Stop" button.
  9. Using the recorder, click the "Play" button to preview your recording.You can preview your recording by clicking the play button on the recording interface.
  10. If you wish to re-record your name, follow steps 6–9 above.
  11. When finished, click "Save Changes."

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