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Why Use Courses?

There are many benefits to using Pepperdine University's official learning management system, Courses (powered by Sakai). This page highlights those benefits and services.

Robust Features

Faculty will discover a full toolbox within Courses, ranging from communication to document sharing to assessment. We also have the ability to integrate custom tools, such as Graziadio's Course Syllabus Search and third-party tools like Turnitin plagiarism detection and Collaborate/Elluminate live meeting software.

Tests & Quizzes: The tests and quizzes tool offers many settings and question types and also allow for quiz pools to be shared across your class sites rather than residing only within one site.

Messages: An archive of messages sent by faculty to the class or to individual students will be retained in Courses. Learn more...

Photo Rosters: Faculty can see photo rosters of their students within Courses.

Combine Courses: Faculty who teach multiple sections of the same course or cross-listed courses can add enrollment rosters to manage one central course site for all students. Learn more...

Storage: The storage space for each course and individual file size limits in Courses are larger than they were in Blackboard (1GB per course and 100Mb per file with Courses versus 250Mb per course and 50Mb per file with Blackboard). Learn more...

Increases Student Empowerment

Students will notice many new benefits in Courses. For example, faculty can delegate authority to students in the Forums tool and students can enjoy greater peer-to-peer collaboration within the blog and wiki tools. Students can even create their own project sites independent of a course for student organization work, extended group projects, or collaboration with students at other universities.

Innovation and Flexibility

The Courses interface is highly customizable and tools may be added, removed, reordered, or renamed by faculty members to suit their preference and course needs. Several new tools are available in Sakai, including blogs, wikis, podcasts, and online chat-rooms. Faculty can use these tools to foster student interaction and create online spaces for content creation and collaboration.

Because Sakai is an open source software product, schools and developers are constantly updating tools and building new features for faculty. These innovations are shared among the user community of 200+ educational institutions. The Technology and Learning group will use feedback from faculty to determine which tools to implement at Pepperdine.

Easy to Learn

In user satisfaction surveys, faculty and students alike said that Courses was easy to learn and easy to navigate. Read more in the Learning Management System Study Executive Summary 2009-2010.

Facilitating Faculty Sharing and Collaboration

In addition to course sites, faculty can also create project sites to support committee work and collaboration with peers. Read this testimonial by Michael Williams, assistant professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management to learn about his use of the Courses (then called Sakai).

Offers Ongoing Faculty Support

In order to maintain an efficient and useful learning management system, all faculty members are encouraged to call the Pepperdine Help Desk at (310) 506-4357 (HELP) when encountering difficulties. The Help Desk tracks user issues and can readily identify trends across schools and departments that may lead to more serious issues.

Courses is also supported by Seaver College technology liaisons and graduate campus lab managers. Faculty can also contact the Technology and Learning group to learn how Courses can be used to engage students. Throughout the academic year, the group will share best practices with faculty community. Please direct any questions or concerns to the Technology and Learning group via email at techlearn@pepperdine.edu.

Uses Single Sign-on

Courses is part of the University's single sign-on system. Single sign-on means that one login with a Pepperdine NetworkID and password provides access to all applications that use the single sign-on service, without having to log in repeatedly. Each single sign-on session lasts for two hours.