Site Administrator's FAQ

What help and guidance is available?

A: This FAQ is an excellent source of information!

There is a special WebLearn Guidance Site which contains a variety of searchable guides (the 'step-by-step' guides are the most comprehensive); a copy of this FAQ is found on the Guidance Site.

The Guidance Site should always be the first place to look for information.

There is pop-up help on every page although some of this information is out of date. Users should always refer to the 'step-by-step' guides first.

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What browsers are recommended?

Fully supported browsers:

  • IE 11
  • Safari 7+
  • Firefox 29+
  • Chrome 35+

Partially supported browsers:

  • IE 8,9,10
  • Safari 4,5,6
  • Firefox 3.5+

Unsupported browsers:

  • IE 7 and earlier
  • Safari 3.2
  • Firefox 3.0

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How do I get permission to create a sites?

A: You must be a particpant within an appropriate Administration Workspace to be able to create sites.

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How do Administration Sites work?

A: First of all one should read these two step-by-step guides:

Here is a summary of the basic points:

  • an Administration Site is said to manage one or more (regular) sites;
  • particpants within Administration Sites are the only WebLearn users who are able to create new sites;
  • Administration Sites have 2 roles: admin and member;
  • participants with the member role:
    • can create sub-sites of any site where they have the maintain role;
    • cannot visit the Administration Site;
  • participants with the admin role:
    • can create sub-sites of any site where they have the maintain role;
    • can visit and 'maintain' the Administration Site and therefore can:
      • add tools;
      • make changes to the participant list;
      • assign roles to participants;
    • have automatic maintain rights in a site that is managed by the Administration Site without actually being a member of the site in question.

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There aren't enough characters available for me to name my site correctly

A: We have to be prescriptive regarding the length of site names. Currently (Aug 08) 30 characters are allowed. This is to prevent unwieldy naming and also because the site name must appear in a tab across the top of the screen and within the Sites list. It is our experience that departments, courses or projects with long names usually have a common abbreviation which everybody understands; it is recommended that this is used instead.

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What's the difference between a course site and a project site?

A: Course sites are tied to specific courses. For Sakai to handle course sites, it must be connected to a course information system which is used to provide details of individual courses and of the associated staff, students and 'demonstrators'. The courses (and their participants) are automatically created within Sakai.

WebLearn does not have any course sites.

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What is the ''Public Index Of Sites''?

A: This is a publicly visible list of sites but it does not mean that general members of the public can access your site (although they will be able to see that the site exists). The site will be able to be found by the Find Sites tool (Sitebrowser) located on the Welcome (front) page and within the WebLearn Guidance Site.

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How do I find a site?

A: A published site can be found so long as it has not been denoted as private. The Worksite Setup tool in My Home allows sites to be located as does the Find Sites tool (Sitebrowser) located on the Welcome (front) page and within the WebLearn Guidance Site.

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What is a joinable site??

A: If you are not 'manually' adding members the you should ensure that your site is joinable. This allows users to both join and leave at will. Site Participants are sent notifications and announcements so there are benefits to joining a site.

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How do I get people to join a site?

A: If a site is set to be Joinable (either during site creation or via Site Info > Manage Access) and the site is only available to Site Participants, (in other words is not available to Anyone) then if a user tries to visit the site they will be presented with an option to join.

If the site is available to Anyone then (obviously) they will be able to visit the site anyway and because of this they will not be asked if they wish to join. Note that someone can only join a site if they log in, i.e. they must be an Oxford user, or an external user with a pre-existing WebLearn account. If so, then they can join the site via Site Info. It is also possible to provide a prominent "Click here to join this site" link on the home page. The URL is constructed as follows<<siteid>>

where <<siteid>> is the long complex 'site identifier' that is generally hidden from the user interface.

An easy way of finding out this identifier is to look at the 'web address' of the root folder in Resources. This is found via the Actions menu, click on Edit Details and then copy the web address from near to the bottom of the page. The <<siteid>> is contained within the URL and looks like cc2c88fe-a0fe-44d6-0046-89493362b2ac.

For this example the URL to join the site is:

There is also a manual method for students to join sites:

  • go to My Home
  • click the Membership tool on the left
  • on the Membership page, click Joinable Sites
  • from the list of the Joinable sites, click on the site to join

  • the user will now be a member of the site.

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Can I temporarily prevent individuals from accessing a site?

A: If a user's status is set to 'inactive' then they will no longer be able to access the site. If it is thought that access will be required again in the future then this option makes more sense that removing the person from the site.

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Can I keep a site hidden until I'm happy with it? / What is the difference between a 'published' and 'unpublished' site?

A: A site only becomes visible when it is published. You can create an unpublished site and then reveal it by using the 'Manage access' option of the Site Info tool. Unpublished sites are always available to people with the 'maintain' or 'contribute' roles but cannot be seen by the 'access' role.

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Can I hide sites from other 'Maintainers'?

A: If the status of a maintainer is set to 'inactive' then they will not be able to access the site. One maintainer should always be left 'active'!

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How does a user change their password?

A: If the user has an Oxford SSO account then they change their password here: .

If the user is an external user then the password can be changed via My Home > Account > Modify Details or via the Other Users login page (!reset-password).

There is a useful blog post entitled How do non-Oxford users reset and change their WebLearn password?

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When do completing students lose their SSO accounts?

A: The OUCS Registration team say: "From 2009, SSO accounts will keep working for 6 months after card expiry so leavers can access OSS Self-service to check exam results, get transcripts and so on. The status changes from undergrad or postgrad to leaver and that status is used to preclude them from some services."

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How do I prevent a site that I'm a member of from appearing in my ''Sites'' list?

A: This can be achieved by using Order Sites link in the Preferences tool which is found within My Home.

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Can a site be located in more than one place within the hierarchy?

A: But of course. This was an oft-requested feature with Old WebLearn and so was added to the design of the hierarchy in New WebLearn. Use Bring Site to make an existing site a sub-site of the current site.

Note that this does not make a copy of the site, there is still only one version of the site in the system. The permissions, participant list, maintainers and tool list are identical throughout WebLearn

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How do I present quick navigation links from a higher level sites to other sites within my hierarchy?

Rather than expecting users to have to navigate the hierarchy from a departmental home page in order to get to a commonly accessed site a few levels further down, administrators often like to have a table of 'quick links' to speed up the process.

A: Two things you can do:

  1. Add the links to the site's home page by creating an HTML page within resources using the WYSIWYG HTML editor; you may even like to hide this page from non-administrators (this is explained in the Resources section). When you are adding the links, make sure you have target="_top" in the hyperlink.

  2. Attach the lower level sites to the top site layer using the Bring Site admin option. (A site can exist at more than one place in the hierarchy.) There's 2 drawbacks with this at the moment:

    1. you cant change the ordering of the subsites, that's coming later
    2. if the subsites themselves have subsites (or will have subsites) these wont show up if you visit the site using the links from the top level site.

This may sound odd but a site itself isn't aware of the hierarchy. It's just a site floating around in the system; the hierarchy tree is the thing which contains the links between sites so plonking a site at a particular point in the hierarchy doesn't copy any links - how would it know where to get the links from if the site is already used in more than one location?

So to be on the safe side create an index page with hyperlinks and use target="_top" in the tag.

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How do I get rid of a 'Missing Site'

Contact the WebLearn team at stating the URL of the missing site.

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How can I change the last part of an existing site's URL?

A: You can temporarily 'remove' the site from its place in the hierarchy and then use 'Bring site' to bring it back - this process provides the opporturnity to rename the site title and the URL fragement. Do this as follows:

  • Log in to WebLearn and locate the 'Arrange Site' link which can be found at the left bottom of the page.
  • Remove the site from the hierarchy, but DO NOT delete the site - Click 'Arrange Site' > Remove Site > Confirm Remove site (very important: DO NOT tick the check box to 'Also delete the site'!).
  • Once the site is removed from the hierarchy, you are back to the parent site.
  • Bring the site you removed back, which will allow you to rename the URL: in the parent site, click on the link ' Bring Site' > 'Select Site' ; search for your site by name.
  • On the next page, click the radio button next to the site, then click 'Select'.
  • On the next page, you can provide a new title and/or URL for the site. Once you have done so, click the 'Reuse' button.

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How can I tell where else a site is being used?

A: Clicking on the Arrange Site link will display a list of the other locations where the site is used.

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What is the Overview tool?

A: The Overview tool is by default the index page of a site: it is the first thing that one sees when visiting a site, it will contain a main panel plus 'synoptic' views of certain tools present on the site - these displays appear on the RHS of a page. (These tools are: Calendar, Chat, Forums, Announcements; it is not possible to alter this behaviour.)

The contents of the main panel can be modified by clicking on the EDIT link at the top of the tool area: either use the WYSIWYG HTML editor to create a front page or enter the URL of a file to be used as the front page which should be stored in Resources in the box marked Site info URL. Why not add a picture (also stored in resources) to brighten up the front page?

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Can I change the Overview tool?

A: You may change the order of elements in the tools menu by using the Page Order tool inside Site Info, the tool which is at the top of the list will be the first page of a site. If you do change the ordering then, if it seems appropriate, you may hide or remove the original Overview tool.

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How do I create a nice front page to the site using the Overview tool?

A: There are a number of ways to achieve this:

  1. clicking on the EDIT link at the top of the Overview tool allows one to create a web page using the WYSIWYG HTML editor that will appear as the 'index page' of a site.
  2. use the Resources tool to create a HTML page via a WYSIWYG HTML editor and then use the access URL of this page (obtained via the Edit Details page) in the Site Info URL field of the Overview tool.
  3. use the Syllabus tool to construct text and use the Page Order tool to put the Syllabus tool first in the list; you may optionally delete the Overview tool.

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What is the ''Site Info URL''?

A: This can be used to display a file stored in Resources as an alternative to using the WYSIWYG HTML editor on the Options page of the Overview Tool. The advantages of doing this are that all files in Resources are searched by the Search tool whereas the Overview page text is not. If anything is placed in the Site Info URL box then it will override anything typed into the WYSIWYG HTML editor area.

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How do I get rid of the mini ''Calendar'' and ''Forums'' panels from my Overview Page?

A: Many users complain that the Calendar and Messages / Forums panels do not look very good on the Overview Page. There is no way to remove them but there is a fairly acceptable work-around.

What you can do is:

  1. Copy the Oveview Page HTML text into a new HTML file (index.html) in Resources.
  2. In Resources alongside the newly created page select, Make Web Content Link.
  3. Go into Site Info > Page Order Tool and
  4. Move the newly created Web Content link to the top of the list by dragging and dropping.
  5. Either hide or remove the Overview Tool (click the light bulb icon so it goes grey or click the big red X).
  6. Remember to save your changes

Then you'll have an Overview page with no side panels.

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How do I add members of a course (or of a department) to a site?

A: You can add an automatically updated predefined group of users to a site via the Add participant Group button in Site Info tool.

The unit groups contain all members of the university associated with the unit. Typically this doesn't include undergraduates although postgraduates do seem to be included.

There are a large number of groups available - these are automatically generated from data gathered from OSS, the Card Database and the OUCS Registration Database. This is by far the best method to add a collection of users.

You can add as many groups as you like to a site, if a person is a member of two or more groups then they adopt the most permissive role. In other words, if they are added as a member of 3 groups and each group is assigned a different role (access, contribute, maintain) then they will be assigned the maintain role as this is the most permissive.

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Is there a maximum number of participant groups that can be added?

A: Yes, the maximum number is 100, however, adding a course group actually adds two groups as the 'suspended' group is always added!

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How do I add individuals to a site?

A: (You must have the appropriate permissions to do this.) Go to the site to which you want to add people and click on Site Info. Then click on Add participants - you should see two boxes, the first is for entering Oxford (WebAuth SSO) Usernames (or Oxford Email addresses), the second for external users. All Oxford Usernames implicitly have an associated account, any entries in the 'External' box will have accounts auto-generated.

To find out an email address use the Oxford University contact search page - this is available via the Oxford University home page.

All users have a role within a site: project sites have 3 roles access, contribute and maintain - maintain and contribute are an admin roles ('manager' or 'owner'), access is a 'user' role.

Once details have been supplied and the Continue button pressed then the role must be chosen. The next screen will select whether the user should be informed of membership by email and the final screen will actually add the participants.

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What should I do if the 'Participant Group' contains erroneous members?

A: First of all you should contact either the Card Office (staff), OSS (students) or (general) and explain the problem.

If people are missing then in the short term individual members can be added 'manually' via the Add participants link in Site Info.

If people are present who shouldn't be then they should be set to be Inactive in Site Info - they cannot be removed via WebLearn.

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What message do 'external users' get regarding their WebLearn account?

A: If an external account is created by adding a hitherto unregistered email address to a site, the following message is sent to the address:

You have been added to WebLearn ( by Fred Bloggs.

Your password is 222347672 You can later go to the Account tool in your My Home site to reset it.

By using this account to login to WebLearn you are agreeing to abide by the University of Oxford's Regulations Relating to the use of Information Technology Facilities. See:

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Is there a limit to the number of site participants?

A: In theory there is a limit. Some tools start to work slowly with a large number of users. We did an experiment and added 6,500 users to site which contained Wiki, Announcements, Email Sender, Resources, Web Content and Home, and everything seemed to work just fine. If you do have a large number of participants, then it is worth checking the performance before getting students to use it!

The University of Cape Town have a site with 30,000 users and confirm that the following tools are fine: Announcements, Resources, Chat, Polls, Forums, Evaluation System, Site Info (though slow).

Valencia have sites with 2000+ users and found performance issues with Dropbox, grading assignments, Markbook.

Texas State have a site with 1,300 users and confirm that in addition to the above they have no problems with Forums. Tests and Quizzes (which we don't offer here) does not work very well.

At Unisa (University of South Africa) there are sites with over 1000 members, they report problems with the following tools:

  • Dropbox - finding a specific box without a search on the page or re-ordering option
  • Sign up - lecturers' view is slow with the view of participants
  • Site Info - default view extract all participants; slow for adding new participants on large sites
  • Sitestats - resources view; reports for many events

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How do I tell users who to contact if they have a problem?

A: People with the 'access' role can see the top section of the Site Info page which means they can see the Site Contact and Email section, so make sure that these fields are up to date.

All sites now have a Contact Us link on the left hand tools menu. This provides options to report a Problem with Content (with a drop-down list of site maintainers), Ask for help, Report a technical problem and Suggest an improvement.

To help the users to be able to find a contact name, it is recommended that a department's home site is made so it is accessible to all Oxford users - Site Info > Manage Access > All Oxford Users -- or better still, any user, logged in or not - Site Info > Manage Access > Anyone (includeing non-logged in).

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Under Internet Explorer, users complain that they see a pop-up message saying 'This page contains both secure and nonsecure items', how do I get rid of this?

A: Firefox does not exhibit these problems, however, if you must use Internet Explorer, for pages that don't involve entering personal data, it is almost certainly safe to click Yes and agree to view the non secure items; however, this message is very annoying and it would be best if didn't appear in the first place.

The message is caused by using http instead of https when referring to a piece of content that is included on a WebLearn page; typically this is an image (or maybe an iframe). (All WebLearn pages use the https protocol and it is including http content on an https page that causes the problem.)

To clarify, this only applies to things that get included within a page; so, if you're wanting to include an image on the page, (including the Worksite Logo (if you have one),) and want to avoid users getting the warning message, make sure you refer to it using https instead of http. This does not apply to hyper-links placed on a page.

It is possible to stop IE prompting every time it encounters a page containing mixed content. To do this click on Tools > Internet Options > Security > Internet / Custom Level then scroll down to the Miscellaneous section (halfway down) and click Enable alongside Display mixed content. Then click OK to save. This will enable mixed content for all sites.

For Internet Explorer 8 the procedure documented on this website works: - this screen cast may also help:

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How do I see what the site looks like to a student?

A: There are two ways to do this. Either click on the Switch to access role link near to the top of the screen left hand side. This works for most tools but in some situations, eg, the Sign-up tool, the view isn't exactly the same as a person with a true access role would see.

The second method involves creating a separate user account. If you have a non-Oxford email address, then you can add this in the second box on the 'Add participants' page (within Site Info) and get a second username; make sure this username has the 'access' role for the site. The password will be emailed to you. You then need to login to the system in using the 'Other Users' link. (If you want to remain logged in as both users, you need to use a separate browser for each account.) The external account can be re-used in other sites by following the same process of adding the non-Oxford email account.

Switching to an access user will not work correctly for unpublished sites as access users cannot see them. If you do this you will need to logout and login again.

Please note that it is not currently possible to switch to either the All logged in users (.auth) or Non logged in users (.anon) roles.

To view a site as a non logged in user, either open another browser and without logging in navigate to your site or, alternatively, logout in your current browser.

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Can I remove the 'users present' display on a site?

A: Yes .... and no! The display of this information can be suppressed but only by the central team. If you would like take advantage of this facility then please get in touch with us stating the site URL and the name of the site.

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My Overview Page has ugly scroll bars, can I get rid of them?

A: On the Home page, click on the 'options' link. The resultant configuration page should have a drop down list with a label "Frame Height". The scroll bars can be removed by increasing the number of pixels. Remember though that if you make the browser window thinner then the page will get longer so you have to judge an 'average' setting so most people will not see scroll bars but also will not have acres of white space at the bottom of the page!

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How do I temporarily remove users from a site?

Use the Site Info tool: the front page of the tool lists participants and their roles and whether they are active or inactive (ie, mothballed). Status can be changed on this page and will take effect when the Update button is pressed.

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How do I add tools to a site?

A: Assuming that you have the appropriate access rights, click on Site Info and then click on Edit tools, you may then select which tools should be available. Some tools such as Web Content (link to website) or News (RSS feed display) can appear multiple times; for each instance you should supply a Title and a URL.

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How do I change the names of the tools?

A: This is not recommended as the help information refers to tools by their default names and changing them means that users may not be able to finf the relevant help information; however, if you want to ignore this 'health warning', enter the Site Info tool and click on the page order link at the right-hand end of the menu-bar at the top of the tool area. The first icon next to the tool name allows the name to be changed.

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How do I change the order of the tools?

A: Enter the Site Info tool and click on the Page Order link at the right-hand end of the menubar at the top of the tool area. Tools can then be dragged and dropped into the desired order.

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How do I hide a tool from normal users (access role) / make it only visible to managers (maintain role)?

A: You can hide a tool from normal users (access role) by using the Page Order tool. Enter the Page Order page via the Site Info tool and click on the light bulb icon next to the tool of interest.

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Participants with the maintain and contribute role can see a tool but access role users cannot, what's going on?

A: This probably means that the tool has been hidden using the Page Order tool. Enter the Page Order tool via the Site Info tool and click on the light bulb icon to change its state from dimmed to bright.

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How do I copy material into the current site from elsewhere in WebLearn?

A: There's a number of ways to do this.

  1. When setting up a site you can choose to 'Reuse material from another site' - this actually copies material from the specified site.
  2. Use the Import from site facility in Site Info. For this to work you need to have enabled any tool that you want to reuse (copy) content from another site.

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When I make a copy a site, the list of participants is not copied

A: This is the intended behaviour and is not a bug.

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How do I archive a site?

A: You can make a copy of the site from within Site Info but if you want a copy to be saved on your desktop the we would recommend a tool called WebZIP. WebZIP extracts all the content and structure from the WebLearn site to your local PC and keeps it in the same display format. You have to use WebZip to view the zipped site but at least it gives you a complete backup of your site(s) in case of problems.

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How do I delete a site?

A: Visit My Home and enter the Worksite Setup tool. Locate and select your site and then click Delete. Your site will have been 'softly deleted', that is, it is placed in a 'recycle bin'. It will be finally removed after a period of 90 days.

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How do I restore a deleted site?

A: Visit My Home and enter the Worksite Setup tool. Change the View to Softly Deleted Sites. Select the site to restore and click on Restore.

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How do I find out who can access my site?

A: The 'Site Info' tool allows maintainers to see who has access. There are three areas to look at

  1. The section in the table at the top entitled Can be accessed by, this list the various 'card statuses' that can access the site (but are not participants).
  2. The 'Participant List' is a list of usernames which shows who has the access, contribute and maintain role access; all 'active' users can access the site and undertake any activity that is allowed by the permissions setting of each individual tool. (Most tools have a 'Permissions' page which outlines who can do what.)
  3. The 'Role Descriptions' section lists the roles who can access the site. Almost all sites will allow named members of the access, contribute and maintain roles; some will have been configured to allow either All logged in users (.auth) or Non logged in users (.anon) access. Unless permissions have been changed, these last two 'roles' will only be able to visit the site, read content (from 'Resources'), view the site calendar and read announcements.

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What is the difference between the ''access'', ''contribute'' and ''maintain'' roles?

A The maintain and contribute roles are very similar. The maintain role is allowed to change tool permissions and add site participants and create new sites (so long as they are a member of an Administration Site) but otherwise the roles are almost identical. The contribute role is meant for staff members who are expected to author content, modify forum discussions, make announcements and the like but who are not actually site maintainers.

The access role is for student-type access, if 'students' are required to author content or moderate Forum discussions then the permissions for the access role should be modified in the tool itself.

In general students should never be given the contribute role.

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How do I give a role extra rights on a specific site?

A: Let's consider the example of giving a 'access' rights to upload content into the Resources tool in Site X.

Go to the Resources tool and click on permissions. A grid will be displayed, tock the box under create in the 'access' row. This will allow accessors to upload / create material in Resources. If this facility is only required in a subset of folders then select "edit folder permissions" in the Action menu, in this case it is not the whole of Resources that is affected just the folder to which the permissions apply (plus any sub-folders of that folder).

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How do I configure a site so that all Oxford users with a single sign-on account (i.e. all Oxford staff, all Oxford students, or other Oxford cardholders) can access it?

A: In Site Info, click on the Manage Access link. This will present options to choose what types of Oxford users can visit your site when they are logged in with their single sign-on.

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How do Oxford card statuses match WebLearn site access settings (in Site Info > Manage Access)?

A: Here is a list of Oxford card statuses (on the left) and the corresponding site access setting in WebLearn:

staff: University Staff, Department staff, All Oxford Staff, All Oxford Users
college: College Staff, All Oxford Staff, All Oxford Users
senmem: Congregation, All Oxford Staff, All Oxford Users
visitor: Academic Visitors, All Oxford Users
undergrad: Undergraduage Students, All Oxford Students, All Oxford Users
postgrad: Postgraduate Students, All Oxford Students, All Oxford Users
student: Visiting Student, All Oxford Students, All Oxford Users
cardholder: Cardholders, All Oxford Users
virtual: Virtual Access Users, All Oxford Users
retired: Former Staff, All Oxford Users

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How do I make a site public (and available to Google, etc)?

A: To achieve this use Site Info > Manage Access and select the Anyone option under Additional Access. The site will now be available to anyone who knows the URL.

It is often the case that the site may contain sensitive material which should not be visible to the world at large. If you wish to restrict certain folders in Resources to site participants only then go into Resources, click on the folder you DON'T want visible to the world, then select Edit Folder Permissions and un-tick the Read permissions in the Anyone row. Repeat this procedure for all other folders that you DON'T want Anyone to be able to view.

If you want this situation for EVERY folder in resources and are unlikely to want to change this situation then you can actually click on Permissions at the top of the very first Resources screen and un-tick Read for Anyone this permission (or lack of it) will cascade down through all folders.

In a similar way, you can go through other tools and either stop Anyone being able to do things (like post to a discussion forum) or alternatively, allow Anyone to do things that they currently cant so - all dangerous permissions have been blocked.

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Will all tools work with non-logged in users?

A: No. As mentioned above, tools which allow content to be created (except maybe the wiki) should not be available to non-logged in users (except in read-only mode); however, only the following tools are accessible to non logged in users:

  • Announcements
  • Calendar
  • Resources
  • Email Archive
  • Wiki
  • Tests
  • Overview Tool
  • Surveys (assuming Login is not required!)

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What are Internal Subgroups?

A: An Internal Subgroup is a subset of Site participants.

Internal Subgroups allow a site maintainer to make certain information available to a particular subgroup, e.g. an Announcement, Assignment, or Signup event. This allows different teaching materials and activities to be directed to different subgroups of site participants.

Note that not all tools are 'Group Aware'!

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What are Participant Groups?

A: You can add a group of participants in bulk if the group already exists on the OAK LDAP system: Site Info > Add Participant Group. Browse the tree of Course Groups or Unit Groups, or search for a group if you know part of its name. Members added in bulk can only be removed as a group ('Remove' appears next to the 'Add Participant Group' button). You can make an individual member inactive by changing their status on the members list in Site Info to 'Inactive'.

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I have added a Participant Group but some students that I know to be on the programme of study are missing from the list.

A: OSS (and, we assume, SITS) allows a student to be registered on more than one programme of study. Similarly a staff member who is registered on a programme of study will have staff status as well as their student enrolment on OSS. Unfortunately the Oak LDAP which provides WebLearn with Participant Groups only allows a student to be associated with one programme of study, and their primary university card status overrides any other affiliations. As a result, Participant Groups may need to be supplemented by the manual addition of missing users. We apologise for this and are working with the Registration Team to provide a fix for this problem.

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What is 'Group Awareness'?

A: A tool is said to be 'Group Aware' if it understands the concept of an internal group.

Oliver Heyer: A little history and another caveat/clarification: the first use case to push group awareness in Sakai arose from the need to limit a Teaching Assistant's (TAs) grading rights to the students in his or her assigned sections. (Each course may have a number of TAs, each looking after a different set of users.) This is different from, say, allowing the TA to create Markbook items exclusively for those sections, something the Markbook still does not handle within its own UI. This distinction is probably at the root of most of the confusion over the meaning of "group awareness" from tool to tool.

Jim Eng chips in: The Resources tool is group-aware. The UI enables an 'admin' to restrict access to a folder or resource to one or more groups within the site. If it's a folder, access to every folder or file within that folder is limited to members of the group(s), meaning that users are not allowed access to those items unless they belong to the group(s). If a folder is assigned to more than one group, an item within that folder can be further limited to some subset of the groups with access to the parent folder.

Permissions are assigned based on a user's role within a group. For example, an instructor could create a folder in resources named "G1" and limit access to members of Group1. The instructor could then change permissions on that folder granting "" to students. Together these actions would allow student members of Group1 to create new items in the folder and access the folder and its content. Users who are not members of Group1 would not see the folder. If a member of Group1 sent some a URL for an item in the folder to a member of the site who is not a member Group1, that other member would get a permissions error when trying to access the item.

This is a quick thumbnail sketch. There may be other significant details I'm forgetting.

This may help:

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What tools are Group Aware?

A: The following tools are Group Aware:

  • Announcements
  • Assignments
  • Calendar
  • Email Sender
  • Forums
  • Lessons
  • Markbook
  • Messages
  • Resources
  • Sign-up

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Can I export a list of people in an internal group?

A:Yes! The Site Members tool will allow a CSV export of members of a particular internal group.

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How can I track what students are doing?

A: The Site Stats tool will allow students to be tracked.

Note Tracking only starts after the Site Stats tool has been added, if you want tracking then add the tool when you create the site.

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Can I track what non logged in users have read?

A: If a site grants 'visit' and '' permission to non logged in users then '' events are tracked by the Site Stats tool. Access by non logged in users can be seen by switching to the 'Reports' page and selecting either 'Events' or 'Resources' from the 'What?' section and '[anonymous access]' from the 'Who?' section, clicking on 'Generate Report' will show access figures.

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Can I track site visits by non logged in users?

A: WebLearn does not record site visits by anonymous internet users, it will only record visits by logged in users, however, there is a way around this as WebLearn DOES record "read" events for anonymous users and this can be used as a very rough estimate.

Instead of entering HTML text into the description box of the Overview Tool (Home > Options > descriptions), set up the Home page to display an HTML page in Resources and place all the HTML which would have gone in to the description into this HTML file. This can be achieved by putting the Access URL in the "Site Info URL" box (Home > Options). The HTML page could be placed in a hidden folder to prevent people from accidentally stumbling across it.

The number of non logged in people who have read this file will give an over-estimate of anonymous site visits. It's an over-estimate because a 'hit' will be recorded each time the home page is viewed rather than each time the site is visited.

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Can I track what non site members do?

A: If a site allows the '.auth' role to visit and read content, then non site members can access tools and resources in a similar way to site members. Their actions are tracked in the same way as site members, that is to say their usernames are recorded alongside the things they do. Note how this is different to how '.anon' visitors are treated.

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This is the HTML editor that is found in Resources (and many other places). There is a 'Getting Started' guide to be found by clicking on the help link within the editor. The official user guide may also be useful: CK Editor Users Guide

I do not see a WYSIWYG editor. What's going on?

A: The WYSIWYG editor will only work on the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 5.5 onwards : Windows
  • Firefox 1.5 onwards : Windows, MacOS, Linux
  • Netscape 7.1 onwards : Windows, MacOS, Linux
  • Opera
  • Safari
  • Chrome

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How do I create accessible content?

A: It is a requirement that all learning material be written in such a way that users with a disability are able to access it. The following guidelines could be useful: and JISC / TechDIS have just produced a useful resource

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What are the keyboard short-cuts for the WYSIWYG HTML editor?

A: This from the FCKeditor help site:

  • CTRL+A highlights the whole editing area
  • CTRL+B changes your font to bold.
  • CTRL+C copies the highlighted area to the clipboard.
  • CTRL+I changes your font to italic.
  • CTRL+L opens the Link window.
  • CTRL+SHIFT+S saves the document.
  • CTRL+U changes your font to underlined.
  • CTRL+V or SHIFT+INSERT pastes the data from the clipboard
  • CTRL+X or SHIFT+DELETE cuts the highlighted area.
  • CTRL+Y or CTRL+SHIFT+Z starts the redo function.
  • CTRL+Z starts the undo function.
  • CTRL+ALT+ENTER fits the editor in the browsers window.
  • CTRL+TAB shows the source code (for advanced users).

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How do I increase the size of the Edit window?

A: Click inside the edit window and hit CTRL+ALT+ENTER. To return the window to its normal size, click inside the edit window and hit CTRL+ALT+ENTER again.

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How do I spell check my text?

A: If you use Internet Explorer (which is not necessarily the best browser to use with WebLearn) then the internal spell checker will be active. To invoke, click on the 'Spell Check' button - this is a 'Tick' with 'ABC' overlaid.

Firefox (version 2 or 3) has a built in spell checker but this only works when looking at your text in 'Source' view. To do this click on the 'Source' button; badly spelled works will be underlined in red. you may like to download the UK dictionary pack from:

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How do I copy text from a Word document (or email message) into WebLearn?

A: There are a few options here.

Use this wonderful website to clean up the text: This removes extaneous 'garbage', but maintains hyperlinks.

If you are on a PC, there is a nice free utility called PureText, which removes formatting from text - it runs in the background and instead of pressing Control-V to paste, you press Windows-V if you want to strip out HTML tags. Free download from . (Thanks to Sonya Powney (Learning Resources Developer, The Royal Veterinary College) for this information.)

The WYSIWYG editor has a special 'Paste from Word' facility - this is a clipboard icon with the 'Blue W' Word icon overlaid. This will retain formatting including which fonts to use. Whereas this may initially sound like a good idea, the text will use MS Word fonts which may not be available to all users, also the pages will almost certainly look different to other pages in WebLearn as a different style will be used. If a particular font is not available then the editor may try to be clever and may import font definitions into WebLearn - this may have the effect of dramatically increasing the page that is being created; some font definitions could exceed 50MB this may mean that the resultant web page may not save (as it is too large) or if it is saved, it may take hours to download via a standard modem.

The best approach is probably to paste the Word-formatted text as 'Plain Text' - this is invoked by clicking on the clipboard icon which has a 'Big T' overlaid - and then add the formatting later. (NB: There is a Windows utility called 'Pure Text' available from which allows on-the-fly removal of formatting from material stored in the Windows clipboard; if this utility is installed then one can use the normal 'Paste' facility in the WYSIWYG editor.)

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I copied text from MS Word (or elsewhere) and pasted into the WYSIWYG editor but now it is poorly formatted, what can I do?

A: To tidy things up, what you could do several things (See this blog post for more information):

  1. Visit your site and copy the offending text with your mouse, open up 'Notepad' (or equivalent) on your PC (Start > Programs > Accessories) and paste this text into it. This will convert it to plain text and remove all word formatting. To be on the safe side, save this file to your desktop.

  2. Back in WebLearn, open the editor in order to access the offending text then click on the Source button in the WYSIWYG editor. Delete all the text and then copy everything from Notepad and paste into WebLearn. Switch back to the regular WYSIWYG view (by clicking Source again) and add paragraph breaks. Check all the text is there then save.

Your text should now be separated into paragraphs and be in the correct font. You will need to add other required formatting using the WebLearn editor.

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How do I display a Twitter feed within an HTML page?

A: First of all, it may be more appropriate to use the News tool to display a Twitter feed, see later for an explanation of how to do this. This would give an entry in the LHS tools menu which, when clicked, displays a page of Tweets which are generated on the basis of the URL that was used.

To display Tweets within an HTML page do the following. At the place where you want the Tweets to appear, switch to the Source view of the HTML page (using the button on the top row of the WYSIWYG) and paste in the following:

 <ul id="twitter_update_list">
   <li class="skip">&nbsp;</li>

Once this is done, one must add some JavaScript to the page - this code will fetch the Tweets from Twitter and will embed them dynamically onto the page. Paste the following JavaScript onto your page and then change your_twitter_username_here to reflect your actual Twitter username. count=5 means displaythe last 5 items.

 <script type="text/javascript" 
 <script type="text/javascript" 


You can also (optionally) place a link directly to your feed on Twitter itself:

<a href="" target="_blank">follow me on Twitter</a>             

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How do I include a 'Web Form' within WebLearn

A: This can be achieved by creating a complete web page outside of WebLearn, say, using a package such as Dreamweaver or any other popular HTML page authoring application. Once the form is complete (and has been tested), upload it into Resources, then copy the 'access URL' and use this URL as the target of a Web Content link (or perhaps in the Site Info URL within the Overview Tool. As this file will be a complete page (complete with HTML headers and footers) you should not edit it using the WYSIWYG HTML editor within WebLearn, if you need to modify the form you should change it on your desktop and use the Upload new version facility in Resources to replace the incumbent.

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I'm getting some odd HTML in my document which I didnt type in

If the following code appears in the the WYSIWYG editor window

< input type="hidden" id="gwProxy" >< !--Session data-- >< /input >

< input type="hidden" id="jsProxy" onclick="jsCall();" / >

Then it is probaby due to a Firefox Add-On called "Browser Highlighter" - apparently some people enjoy using it for ebay searching. It also seems that this add-on is silently added by Skype without asking the user's permission:

It would seem to be impossible to remove. As far as we know it is only Windows clients that are affected. See

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Where are attachments stored?

A: Attachments are actually stored within Resources in a special hidden folder. It is not possible for site maintainers to enter this folder, but the folder does inherit permissions in exactly the same way as other folders within Resources - in other words it obeys the permissions set at the root of the Resources tool (via the Permissions link at the top of the main panel).

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How do I change the order of the forums and topics in the Forums tool?

A: Easy! Click on the Organise link at the top of the main panel. This will take you to a page where the order of the individual forums and their topics can be specified.

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Why do the access users in my site not see the Forums I have created?

A: Empty Forums will not be visible to access users, since they can do nothing with them! You need to create at least one Topic in each Forum, in which the Post New Thread link will become visible. Users will then see the Forum and the Topic and be able to start posting threads and messages.

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How does the Forums notification work?

A: The Watch option has 3 settings.

The default option is 'Notify me by email when a thread that I have contributed to receives a new message'. The other options are 'no notification' and 'Notify me by email whenever a new message is posted'.

A user can change their individual setting by clicking on the Watch link at the top of the Forums page. It is not possible for a site maintainer to stipulate what the 'watch-level' is on their site.

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What's the difference between these three tools?

A: The Messages tool allows a 'tutor' (maintainer to send a note either as an internal system message or as an email. For emails, the 'from' address used will be, users cannot reply to this address.

The Email Sender enables a message to be sent to all members of a site or a subgroup of members; the from address is the email address of the sender. The message can optionally be added to the Email Archive - in this case the message will be visible to all site members regardless of whether they were original recipients recipients or not.

The Email Archive behaves like a regular email maillist.

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Can I send email to all students / staff in a site?

A: The Email Sender allows bulk emailing of site members, options exist to restrict the message to participants who have a particular role or are in a particular (sub)group.

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How do I set up an email list for the site?

A: If you create an instance of Email Archive then you will be prompted for an email address. It would be sensible to choose the same (succinct) identifier used when creating the site via the sites tool. Once this tool has been set up Sakai can be used as an Email 'list-server'.

The site can be mailed and all participants will receeve the message (as per the setting in their 'preferences'). All messages sent to the site will be archived within the Email Archive tool.

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Can I set up an Email Archive / Email Sender for a subset of site members?

A: Yes and no! The way to do this would be to have a separate 'subsite' solely for this purpose, then you could have a separate site participants list for this site. If you do this you could consider removing the Overview tool and putting Email Arhive at the top of the tools list using the Page Order tool.

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Can I 'ZIP up' old Email messages and remove them from the archive?

A: No, but the work-around is to create a new archive for each academic year with the same site participants list.

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How do I create a new folder?

A: Enter the Resources tool and click on the Add menu next to a folder name. (The top level folder will include the name of your site plus 'Resources'.) This will give you a drop down list where you can create a new folder.

TIP In order that the URL of your folder is succinct we suggest that when you create the folder you give it a succinct name; that is to say, when you create a folder which will contain, say, minutes of the departmental IT committee for the 08-09 year, supply the name it_cttee_08-09.

Doing this means the URL will contain it_cttee_08-09 but this has the drawback that the resources menu doesn't show a particularly 'user friendly' identifier for the folder. To supply a more descriptive 'display name' select the Edit Details option from the Actions menu and change the name; this will NOT change the folder name (that is fixed) but it WILL change the display name. In our example you could change the display name to be "Minutes of the departmental IT committee for the 08-09 year"!

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How do I upload a file / create a new HTML document?

A: Enter the Resources tool and click on Add next to a folder name. (The top level folder will include the name of your site plus 'Resources'.) This will give you a drop down list where you can upload file, create a link or HTML document etc.

TIP In order that the URL of your file is succinct we suggest that when you create the file you give it a succinct and contextual name; that is to say, when you create an HTML page, say about the breeding habits of the lesser spotted turbot, you supply the name turbot.html in the Name box on the Create HTML Page. (This would replace the default New HTML Page which both contains spaces and doesn't have an extension of .html.) Doing this means the URL ends with turbot.html but this has the drawback that the resources menu doesn't show a particularly 'user friendly' identifier for the file. To supply a more descriptive 'display name' select the Edit Details option from the Actions menu and change the name; this will NOT change the filename (that is fixed) but it WILL change the display name. In our example you could change the display name to be "The breeding habits of the lesser spotted turbot"!

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What are the guidelines about scanning sections books and journal articles and uploading them for use by students on course?

A: The University of Oxford has an arrangement with the Copyright Licencing Authority (CLA) which means that staff members can scan parts of book for use in teaching - so called fair dealing; this is either 5% or a chapter. The following links may help.

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I want one or more students to be able to upload into Resources, what should I do?

A: Many people think that giving the students the contribute role is the solution but this is the equivalent of 'using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'. The contribute role is almost as powerful as the maintain role - students will be able to access all Drop Boxes, mark assignments, add and remove users from the site and so on.

The solution is to create a new folder in Resources then in the Actions menu alongside the folder, select Edit folder permissions and tick new, revise.own and delete.own alongside the access row. This will give access users rights to upload into this folder. It may be wise to call the folder something like 'student upload area'.

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How do I give a single student (or small group of students) permission to upload into one folder within resources but leave all other students with just read access?

A: We don't think that this can be done in new WebLearn.

There are a few non-ideal workarounds:

  1. Could this done achieved via the drop box? All students can have a drop box which they can upload to but access users cannot see an other access user's Drop Box.

  2. Alongside the desired folder, click on Edit Folder Permissions and give users with the access role new, revise.own and delete.own permissions. This would give ALL access users permissions to upload material.

  3. Create an internal group (Site Info > Manage Groups. Then create a folder and use Edit Details to stipulate that only this group can access the folder, then give the access role new, revise.own and delete.own permissions. Once all files have been uploaded, remove these 3 permissions and remove the group protection on the folder.

  4. Create a subsite and give the uploaders the 'contribute' role.

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What's the maximum sized file I can upload?

A: The web interface has a maximum upload size of 100MB. Files which are larger than this must be uploaded using WebDAV. See this blogpost about WebDAV and other utilities for uploading large files.

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What's the maximum sized file that can be stored?

A: It is not possible to store files of larger than 2GB. There is no way around this but the situation will change with version 2.8.

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How can I transfer very large files to other users?

A: In this case do not use WebLearn, use OxFile instead.

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How can I optimise audio files for the web?

A: We would recommend encoding all audio files in mp3 format. We would recommend encoding in mono at 64kbps (unless stereo is essential). It is always prudent to check the quality of the encoded file before uploading!

There is an open source sound editor called Audacity which can be highly recommended although one must also download the LAME mp3 encoder separately.

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I'm trying to create a Web Link in Resources but the URL is too long (> 255 characters). What to do?

A: This is a limitation but there is an easy solution. Instead of selecting Add Web Links (URL) choose Create Text Document, type the URL in the box on one line with no trailing spaces. Save the file and give it an extension of .url. Then return to Edit Details scroll down and click Change File Type and change the type to text/url. The file will now behave like a web Link. Note: When creating a link this way you need to make sure that all the characters are 'escaped', which means that special characters must be replaced by their equivalent 'escape' code, e.g. spaces need to be replaced with %20. (You can google to find a list of URL escape codes.) If you don't do this then you will get a 404 error when following the link.

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What is the URL of a file/folder in resources? (What is the ''access URL''?)

A: It's possible to use a special URL in order to link/refer to specific files and folders in the Resources tool (this is not the URL of the resources tool itself, which is displayed in the browser address bar). Typically the access URL will display a page listing folders and files without the surrounding Sakai navigation. The access URL can be obtained via the Edit Details option corresponding to the file/folder of interest. To copy the URL do not select the displayed URL with the mouse and copy - this will not always work due to the way HTML compresses consecutive spaces, instead place the mouse over the URL and right button click then select 'Copy Link Location' or 'Copy Shortcut' from the pop-up menu; this will then allow you to paste the correct URL from your clipboard.

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Is there a simpler interface to Resources?

A: TIP if site members who have the access role are not expected to create anything in the Resources area then we would recommend that the Resources tool is hidden (using the Page Order tool) and a Web Content tool is created with the URL being the access URL of the topmost folder in Resources. This will provide a much simpler 'Files and Folders' view onto resources. In addition, any descriptions of resources (or meta data) will be displayed along with the display name. (Resource descriptions are entered via the Edit Details link under the Actions menu alongside a resource. There is one drawback in that the names of hidden folders are displayed (but cannot be accessed without the appropriate permissions).

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What type of documents can be found by the Search tool?

A: The software uses the Lucene search engine and the POI Office Reading Utility. At the time of writing the following document types are searchable: PDFs, HTML, .txt, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

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How do I stop a resource opening in its own browser window?

A: By default, the generic Resources browser will open a resource in a new tab, there are three ways to change this behaviour.

  1. Create a Web Content link (in Tools menu) which has a URL which is the access URL of the resource in question.
  2. Create a Web Content link (in Tools menu) which has a URL which is the access URL of a folder within resources - a primitive resource browser (with Resource Descriptions) will open allowing access to all resources.
  3. Create a HTML page with explicit links to required resources (using access URLs) and ensure that the target="_top" attribute is set on the hyperlink.

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I want to display a web page displaying 'foreign characters'

A: Files containing non-standard characters must be encoded using UTF-8; ISO-8859 encoded files cannot be used. It is possible to convert between the formats using a program such as 'iconv'.

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How do I inform users that a new resource has been uploaded?

A: It is possible to send notification that a resource has been uploaded; this will either be sent to all site members or just to the groups who are allowed to see the resource. This is the Email Notification field at the bottom of the upload form.

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How do I inform users that multiple new resources have been uploaded?

A: If, say, more than 5 resource have been uploaded then it may be better to make a site-wide announcement, (Use the announcements tool or maybe send an email using the Messages tool). This would be better than sending an individual message for each new resource.

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How do I inform an Internal Sub-group that a new resource has been uploaded?

A: Email notification within Resources is not group aware. In other words, if the notification option is selected when a file is uploaded to a folder that is only accessible to one or more groups, then all site members are sent a message regardless of whether they have access to the file or not. Under these circumstances, we would suggest that a manual notification be made using the Announcements tool.

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How do I upload multiple files (in one go)?

A: Either place all files into a ZIP archive, upload this archive into WebLearn and then unZIP (remembering to delete the ZIP file if so desired) or WebDAV from one's desktop (there are instructions at the top of the resources page).

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How do I expand a ZIP archive?

A: Once a ZIP file has been uploaded into resources there should be an item in the Actions menu to Expand ZIP archive, this will extract all files creating any folders that may be necessary to do this. We have noticed that very large ZIP files (say over 300MB) sometimes silently abort during uncompression, this is generally due to high memory requirements and is worse at times of high system load. There are two work-arounds:

  1. either unzip the file before 9am or as late in the evening as you can manage
  2. use a webdav client such as Cyberduck ( and then use the Synchronize option from the File menu.

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What isWebDAV?

A: WebDAV is a way of making a Resource area available as a 'Network Drive' on your desktop. It means you can treat a resource area just like a normal folder / directory on your PC: you can edit documents that reside within WebLearn without having to download, edit and then re-upload; you can do drag and drop operations.

Full instructions on how to set up your WebDAV connection to a particular WebLearn site are given in the site's Resources - click on Upload-Download Multiple Resources (WebDAV) at the top of the screen.

You should use your Oxford SSO credentials at the webDAV login screen. Windows machines may suggest as a username: this is incorrect - you should not include the part.

External users may use their external WebLearn username and password.

If you are attempting to upload a large number of files (say 1000+) then you are advised to use Cyberduck ( and then use the Synchronize option from the File menu. This is especially pertinent as there appears to be a problem with uncompressing large zip files.

See this blogpost for more information about using WebDAV and other utilities for uploading large files.

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I can't save files from Outlook into a WebDAV folder, is there an alternative?

A: Things seem to work OK if you use the web interface to your email (OWA). For some reason, some versions of Outlook don't cope with webDAV.

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How do I reorganise (i.e, move, rename, delete, copy or reorder) my resources?

A: There are a number of options for reorganisation. Resources can be placed in folders (directories). It's also possible to copy, move or delete a selection of items by selecting resources using the tick box located just before the title of the resource, the links at the top of the resource menu can then be used to carry out the desired operation.

The Actions menus which are found after the resource title allow resources to be copied, renamed, moved, deleted, replaced or duplicated. The Actions menu which relates to the containing folder also allows items to be reordered on screen or have the behaviour of their access control altered for certain individuals or groups. (Note that the Rename option changes the display name not the file name.)

If the display title of a resource is changed then the old name will still show up in search results. The get around this problem the site will need re-indexing. To do this click on the Admin link at the top of the search tool, then Rebuild site index

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How do I delete a folder that contains something?

A: WebLearn will not allow you delete a folder if it has contents. There are three ways around this.

  1. manually delete everything starting at the lowest level, one everything has gone the folder can be deleted.
  2. use webDAV to delete the folder just as you would a folder on your desktop.
  3. hide the folder (via Edit Details) then nobody can see it!

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Howe do I recover a file or folder that has been accidentally deleted?

A: Easy! Click on the Restore link alongside the folder that used to contain the file or folder that has now vanished. Items remain here for 90 days.

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How do I change the (file) name of a resource?

A: The filename of a resource cannot be changed through the web, one must use 'WebDAV' to access the file which can then be renamed as normal. The Display Name of a resource can be changed though - this is the identifier that the user sees in the Resources tool. By default the Display Name is the same as the filename. Our tip is to use a short succinct filename with the appropriate extension (.html, .doc etc.) and then use Edit Details to supply a readable Display Name.

The renamed file does get indexed correctly and will be listed if it contains one or more instances of the search term but there will also be an erroneous You do not have permission to view this search result, please contact the worksite administrator message displayed. This is because traces of the now-renamed document still exist in the system (in error), Search tool will try to display a link to this document which of course no longer exists.

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How do I restrict access to a folder to a subset of site participants?

A: Click on the Edit Details link next to the folder, on the resultant page it is possible to specify that the folder is only accessible to one or more specified Internal Groups.

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I have a folder restricted to two or more Internal Subgroups, can I create subfolders that are restricted further?

A: No. Once restricted to a set of Internal Subgroups all subfolders will be visible to to this same set of groups.

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How do I include a file in the Resources tool which cannot be browsed by users? In other words, how do I create a folder which is hidden, but the contents (e.g. images) are visible to users?

A: Create a new folder. Alongside this folder, select Edit Details (Properties). Select the option 'Hide this folder but allow access to its contents'. Scroll down and click Update.

This folder is hidden from access users, so they cannot see it when browsing, or enter the folder. But they will be able to access its contents if given the appropriate URL, or if it's an image displayed on a page, for example.

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What is the 'hidden' permission on the Resource permissions page?

A: If a folder is hidden and the hidden option is selected within permissions for a particular role, then that role can see the folder although it will be greyed out.

Not having the hidden option selected means that that role cannot see the folder. To summarise, ticking Hidden means the folder is not hidden! Hmmm! (Having the label as View hidden would be a better idea!)

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Can I make a read-only / read write folder for my students?

A: Yes. As a maintainer, one can use the Edit Folder Permissions from the Actions drop down list. This gives a fine grained grid which specifies what a person with the access role can do within a folder. Access users can be given rights to upload new files or edit existing ones or not be allowed to either.

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Can I give each student their own private folder in Resources?

A: Yes and no! The Dropbox tool has been designed for more or less this purpose. Dropbox creates a private folder per person although maintainers can also see the folder & contents. These folders aren't searchable (by the Search tool) but that's OK as they are supposed to be private! If a person wants a truly private folder then they should use their My Home. If a person wants the private areas to be searchable then the folder shouldn't be private in the first place. In this case one folder in reources should suffice and the the 'revise.own', 'delete.own' etc. permissions in Resources should be used.

The Dropbox folders look like they're part of resources but are not actually visible via the Resources interface. The folders are available via WebDAV - they have a different URL to the main Resources area.

An alternative approach could be to set up one (internal) group per site member and then set up one folder per person (protected by this group) in Resources. This would work but will take a certain amount of time to set up.

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What do the folder access permissions mean?

A: In the "Resources" area, for each folder, site maintainer can grant different rights to the people who have "access" status. The following are the explanation of each right:

  • new - Add new resources

  • read - View and download resources

  • revise.any - Modify any resources

  • revise.own - Modify own resources

  • delete.any - Remove any resources

  • delete.own - Remove own resources

  • all.groups - Allows participants to see all resources, even those assigned to specific groups

Access rights cascade down through folders. If the permissions at the top level (ie, root folder) are set to say, for example, that a somebody with access rights can create a new document, then that right cascades so that every sub-folder will also have that right: this cannot be changed.

TIP The best idea is to keep the default permissions on the root folder (access right holders can read but cannot create or edit) and then to create sub-folders which have less strict rights. An example could be to create a folder called 'student reports' and assign new, revise.own and delete.own rights to accessors.

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How do I make some resources on a private site publicly visible?

A: Create a folder within the Resources tool (using 'public' as the title of the folder is a good idea). Then select 'Edit details' from the actions drop down list alongside the 'public' folder and then select This folder and its contents are publicly viewable. from the "Availability and Access" options. If a file entitled "spuds-r-us.pdf" is placed in the folder then the url will be "<site id>/public/spuds-r-us.pdf".

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All files in ''Resources'' are public (or and I can't find a way of changing this), what can I do?

A: This has probably happened because the Admin Site that manages the site is question has been made public. This is a very bad idea: go to the Site Info tool of the Admin Site in question and click on Manage Access, make sure the site is set to have No additional access.

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How do I import data from EndNote / RefWorks?

Reading lists can be imported into the Citations tool. Sakai will accept files in RIS format (this is also known as RefMan or Reference Manger format). Both EndNote and RefWorks can generate RIS files, to do this select the RIS output style and then export as a TXT (text) file. The resultant file will import into WebLearn.

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How do I ZIP a resources folder?

A Select the Compress to ZIP archive option from the Actions drop down menu. A file with an extension of .ZIP will appear in the current folder. Note that you cannot ZIP the top level folder in your Resources area.

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I tried to ZIP a folder but it didn't work?

A: There are a couple of issues with the ZIP tool; all have been reported as bugs.

  1. You cannot ZIP the top level folder in your Resources area. Sorry!
  2. It appears folders with large documents in them are not ZIPped.
  3. If you've already ZIPped a folder then the existing ZIP file will not be overwritten; delete it before trying to ZIP again.

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Why don't permissions that I have removed/added at the top level in Resources cascade into group-protected sub folders?

A: We think this is due to a bug: when a folder is assigned to a specific sub-group, a copy of the default permissions is attached to it at the time the folder is created; these folder-level permissions cannot be changed. The solution is to first modify the root folder permissions (blue link at the top of the page entitled 'Permissions'), then create a new group-protected folder, which will now inherit the modified permissions. Move files into the new folder, delete the old folder and, if necessary, use WebDAV to change the underlying name of the new folder to be the same as was previously used by the now deleted old folder.

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What is a Drop Box?

A: Site Participants with the 'access' role each have their own Drop Box which is created for a user the first time they visit the Drop Box tool. It is a folder that is shared between the participant and all other site members with the 'contribute' and 'maintain' roles.

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Who can see a Drop Box?

A: Everybody can see their own Drop Box; participants with the access role cannot see anybody else's Drop Box. Participants with the maintain and contribute roles can see ALL drop boxes. In general a Drop Box is created for a user the first time they visit the Drop Box tool

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I'm trying to use WebDAV to to access my student's Drop Boxes but the folders are incorrectly named

A: This is a known bug. At the moment there is no obvious way of identifying which drop box belongs to which user. Sorry!

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What content is searched?

A: The following tools are searched: Resources, Forum (from v2.8) Chat, Email Archive, Announcements, Wiki; attachments within these tools are also searched provided that the attachment itself is able to be indexed (see elsewhere). Note that indexing of newly created content does not occur immediately, there will be a short delay.

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How are the search results ordered?

A: A bit of Googling reveals: the ordering is "based on location of the search term (title, beginning of sentence, etc.) and proximity of terms if more than one term is searched for." (

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I'm getting messages about not being allowed to access files returned by search, I think this is incorrect?

A: This message occurs in three different situations.

1/ The resource that has been found is protected in such a way that access is only granted to a selection of people. The message is perfectly correct, to gain access one should contact the site owner (via Site Info) and ask for permission.

2/ The message pertains to a file that has been moved. This may happen is a file is moved from one folder to another or if a file or folder has been renamed. To remove this message, click on the Admin link within the search tool and Rebuild Site Index. The rebuilding process will take a short while, the admin page will give details of progress although it may be necessary to refresh the information page. The offending search result should now no longer be listed.

3/ The message is displayed due to a bug. We are investigating why the message is displayed and, in the meantime, apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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What is the difference between 'Rebuild Site Index' and 'Refresh Site Index'

A: We think that 'Rebuild' destroys the site index and recreates it from scratch. We're not sue what 'Refresh' does, if anybody finds out can they please let us know!

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How do I create poll questions for a classroom situation so that students can't see the results while the poll is running?

A When creating each poll question in advance, set the option "Results are visible" to "never". You as the site maintainer will be able to see and display the results at the end of the classroom session. Thereafter, change this option (per question) to "always" so that students can review the results later for revision purposes.

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I'm running an on-line questionnaire, which tool should I use: ''Surveys'' or ''Tests''?

A: In almost all cases we would recommend using Surveys.

Tests does not allow public surveys - it always requires respondents to be site participants and the results cannot be exported or analysed.

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Can the Survey Tool be used for the purposes of collecting arbitrary data / form information?

A: Yes! Surveys will allow you to create fields (questions) that allow for free-text responses, multiple- choice / answer, etc. Remember that all surveys are anonymous so remember to collect the respondent's name and email address if it is needed.

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Can people partially fill in a survey and return to it later

A: Yes so long as the option Respondents may change their answers is selected whilst setting up the survey.

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How do I find the URL of my survey?

A: In the Survey tool, click on My Surveys and copy the URL of the web link next to your survey.

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I have the ''maintain'' (or ''contribute'') role but cannot respond to some surveys

A: Unless the option "All roles can respond" option is selected then users cannot always respond to surveys assigned to sites where they have the maintain (or contribute role).

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How do I upload and use a photo as part of a question on a survey template?

A: Click on the 'image' icon within the WYSIWYG editor. After clicking on "Browse server" in the ensuing pop-up window, you need to navigate to a site where you have the rights to upload a file. You do this by clicking on the folder icon in the column on the left-hand side and then selecting one of your sites. You must do this as it is not possible to upload a file into the location that is displayed by default.

The best approach is to create a folder within My Home and then make it publicly accessible (via the 'Edit Details' page). This the folder that will be used to house your images; you may like to make an 'images' sub-folder within the public folder; this will keep things neat and tidy.

This approach has the drawback that the images are visible to the general public, but other options are a bit convoluted because, at the template stage, you never really know which users are going to need access to the image.

The general public will only be able to see your images if they know the URL of the public folder but this URL is very obscure and it is almost impossible that anybody would be able to guess it.

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I added images to my survey but respondents cannot see them

A: To be on the safe side make all images used in templates public. This is because you never really know who will be responding to the survey; anybody who responds will need to have access to any images used so making them public is the easiest option. If the images are sensitive then making them available to all logged in users is an adequate approach.

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How do I add my own scales?

A: Click on the link at the top entitled 'My Scales'

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When I try to assign my survey to a site, some sites are greyed out

A: Such sites do not have any users with the access role and therefore do not have any users who could respond to the survey.

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I have assigned my survey but now I want to add some new recipients, how can I do this?

A: You can modify the assigned groups:

  1. find the survey on the 'My Surveys' page
  2. click on the entry in the 'Recipients' column
  3. click on the link "Modify assigned groups for this survey"
  4. for ad hoc groups, edit the group and add new member(s) and save
  5. assign the group and finish
  6. (or instead of the last two bullet points) merely assign a new group

The newly added members can now take the survey. This holds even if you add a group based on site membership.

If you edit a site participant list (in a site) and add a new member then they cannot take they survey unless you reassign it to the newly expanded group using the above method.

If you edit the group (either site or ad hoc) and remove original members then they can still take the survey and are still on the list of potential respondents (along with any newly added people). So you cannot remove people from the recipient list once they have been added.

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How can I see who has not responded to my survey? I want to email them to remind them to respond.

A: Ah ha - you don't need to know their names as the system will automatically email them for you. The Surveys Tool makes a big splash about being truly anonymous and there is no way at all to find out who said what. If you need to associate names with a particular response than include a free text field to collect them.

You can see a list of who has and who has not responded by clicking on the Responses or Response Rate columns on the My Surveys page.

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Some users with the ''access'' role on my site cannot see the survey

A: If a user is added to the site with which the survey is associated after the survey has been set they will not be in the group that is expected to respond however they will be listed within the list of who has responded.

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How can I easily ask the same set of questions about each lecturer on a course?

A: If you set the category of a question to be Lecturer then that question is repeated for each participant with the maintain or contribute roles.

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But what if there are other people with the ''maintain'' role on the site who aren't lecturers who I don't want surveyed

A: Use Site Info set them to inactive then create the survey then set them back to active.

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When I add an item in the ''Lecturer'' category and look at the questionnaire template I see ''Instructor 1'' and ''Instructor 2'' and not the names of the lecturers

A: This is because you are seeing a preview of the survey and not the actual survey. There are two 'sample' instructors, "Instructor 1" / "Instructor 2", put there to give the general idea that those questions will be categorised in that section.

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What happens if I specify that users must login to WebLearn but use an ad hoc group containing people without WebLearn accounts (by specifying a non email address)?

A: As these people do not have accounts they will not be able to login so will not be able to take the survey. This is a known bug.

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What is the Question Bank?

A: Every user has a Question Bank and all questions used in Templates are stored in it. To access, select Existing Question when adding a to a template.

Confusingly, only questions that are created by clicking the Add button on the Edit Template page can be reused via the Question Bank, if a Template is copied then none of the questions on the copy will be added to the Question Bank.

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What happens when you edit an existing question?

A: Adding an Existing Question to a Template and then editing it in the template means that the original question is changed in the underlying Question Bank, and thus in all existing Templates which include that question. This may be counter-intuitive and may have an undesirable side effect if one plans to re-use an existing Template which contains the now-modified question. The possible benefit is that if a spelling or content error has been made in one question in one template, this can be corrected in one place and will be carried over to all existing templates.

Such a question is not changed in existing surveys. In other words the original question is no longer available in either the Question Bank or the Template, for future re-use anywhere else, but remains unchanged in surveys which included the original question.

If a Template is copied and a question edited on the copy, the question is not changed on the original. We would agree that this is confusing!

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How do I change American date formats (mm/dd/yyyy) in the Survey settings?

A: Step 1: Check the language setting on your computer: MAC users: go to System Preferences > Language and Text > select British English (not English) (Choose 'Edit List' to select British English if it does not appear in the existing list). Windows users: go to Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > select English (United Kingdom). Restart your browser if you changed these settings.

Step 2: Check the language setting in your Browser: Firefox: go to Tools > Options (Windows users) or Preferences (MAC users), then Content panel > under 'Languages' select 'Choose' > select English/United Kingdom (en-gb). Internet Explorer: go to Tools > Internet Options > under 'Appearance' select 'Languages' > select English/United Kingdom (en-gb). Restart your browser.

Step 3: Check the language setting in WebLearn: My Home > Preferences > Language > select English (United Kingdom).

Note: this is ONLY for the Surveys tool and is due to a bug in the code for this tool.

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What happens when you edit an existing Template?

A: Create a new Template; create new survey based on that template. Edit a question in the template. There is NO CHANGE to that question in the existing survey.

Copy a Template; edit a question in the new template then create new Survey based on that template. Again, if you do further edits to questions in the template, there is no change to the existing Survey.

The confusing thing is within My Surveys > Edit. Under Survey Settings, there is an Edit link, which allows you to edit questions in your Survey via a temporary sort-of 'buffer copy' of the template. This is in fact editing a particular question in this survey only, which reflects nowhere else.

Advice to users: Do all your editing in the Template, and then, as the final action, create your Survey. If you have to change a particular question a particular survey, you can do it via Edit Survey, but this change is reflected nowhere else, and the edited question cannot be used anywhere else.

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I want to share the responses with colleagues

A:There are two different situations here.

  1. If a survey is to be assigned to one or more sites then selecting "Maintainers / contributor are able to see the results" then this effectivelty shares the results within the site(s) wothin people holding the abovementioned role.
  2. If a survey is to be assigned to an ad hoc group there is no way to do this automatically the best suggestion is to export the results (in CSV or Excel format or as a PDF) and either email the files to your colleagues or store the files within the Resources tool on a WebLearn site.

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What format are the results in?

A: You can either view a PDF summary of the reports or download as a CSV or XLS (Excel) file; use the View results link on the My Surveys page.

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How can I split the responses from multiple response items in the exported data?

A: If your survey contains multiple response items, i.e. items which allow more than one response, the multiple responses from an individual are exported in a long string all in one cell. Further intervention in Excel is required to split the responses into separate cells: In the Excel file, choose the appropriate column and then >Data >text to columns and select 'commas'. This will create the requisite extra columns.


  1. You need to make sure you have spare columns to the right of the column being split, or the data in other columns will be replaced by the split column data set. Alternatively you can specify a destination for the split data, such as Column Z.
  2. If there are commas in the text of the options in the Weblearn survey question, this solution will treat them as delimiters and also split them.
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How can I get numerical responses to questions?

A: Surveys always presents its results as text. If you had a rating scale or multiple-choice question with the following responses: Strongly Agree = 4, Agree = 3, Neutral = 2, Disagree = 1, Strongly Disagree = 0, then the results file would contain the text "Strongly Agree" and so on.

To get numerical responses, place the above scale in the question or as a block of text and specify the responses as 4,3,2,1 and 0. In this way numbers will appear in the export of the results.

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How can I complete a survey multiple times without overwriting the results?

A:There is no easy way to achieve this. You could create the survey with "No login required", and make it public (i.e. don't assign it to any group of respondents). Then you can use the weblink and complete the survey yourself multiple times, and all data will be saved (Remember to click Save each time!). However, depending on your browser settings (e.g. cache, cookies etc.), the browser will probably remember the data you previously entered, so you would need to clear the cache each time or close the browser down between entries.

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What is the ''access URL''?

A: This is a special URL which should be used when referring to the page - this is not the same URL that is seen by default in the browser address bar. Typically this URL will display the page without the surrounding Sakai navigation. This URL can be located by entering Info then clicking on Public view; copy the URL from the browser address bar.

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How do I make a specific wiki page the home page of my site?

A: In the wiki, click on the Info link at the top. Then copy the URL of the Public View. Go to Site Info > Edit Site Information and paste the URL into the box labelled Site Info URL then append ?breadcrumb=0 on the end to get rid of the breadcrumb trail. Then press save.

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How do I set up a wiki where only maintainers can edit

First of all turn off 'Edit' privileges, then turn off 'Page Create' permission to stop comments being added.

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How do I link to Resources?

A: Ian Boston: The Wiki has a rudimentary editor that allows you to create links to any file in Resources. The icon has a page with a link on it (well, looks like an 8 lying on its side), or, you can do it by hand, e.g.,

  • {link: Syllabus|worksite:/subdirinresources/syllabus.pdf}.

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How do I have more than one instance of the wiki tool in a site?

A: Harriet Truscott and Ian Boston:

You can't really have more than one wiki in a site, although you can, to some extent, make it appear as though you have multiple wikis in a site. All that is being done is that a different home page for the second wiki is being set which can then be linked to via a URL or Web Content link.

The crucial issue is that you can't have different permissions on the 'second' wiki, which stops easily you having one wiki which is student editable and one wiki which is not. This can probably be managed, but by changing the permissions individually on each page. This is a bit of a performance but does have the desired effect.

More explanation: each wiki page has a global name that you can use to reference it. Each wiki tool when added to a worksite is configured with its Home Page as a wiki page. Think of wiki space like a global filing system of all wiki pages in a Sakai instance. If you create a wiki link with a / in a new sub folder or sub space is created... eg

  • [lab_experiment12/]

will create a new wiki space called lab_experiment12 with its own Home page (and all the other default pages). You will see the full global name of the page on the info tab in the wiki tool. When a wiki tool is added to a site it connects to the Home Page of the default wiki space for that site. You can configure a wiki tool in a worksite to point to any other wiki space (using its global name). it doesnt even have to be in the same site, but check permissions so that your students can at least read the pages that are there. So you can add as many as you like, each pointing to different wiki spaces you just need to change the Home Page configuration setting to the global name of the page you want the wiki to start at:

  • use Admin Workspace : Sites : select site : pages : select page : tools : edit wiki

Scroll down and then edit the Home Page settings.

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How do I get rid of the breadcrumb trail?

A Append ?breadcrumb=0 to the end of the Access URL.

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How do I delete a wiki page created in error?

A One cannot actually delete a wiki page, the best option is to simply remove all links to the offending page.

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How do Groups work within the Wiki?

A: Ian Boston: One can add some groups or sections, then use the {sakai-sections} macro on a wiki page and you will get a list of links to subsites, each one bound to the section and the permissions on that section; however, the only place you can edit the permissions on the section that relate to wiki is the Admin Realms tool. The Page Info page in Wiki and the permissions editor in Wiki don't correctly represent the permissions in the group or section.

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Where can I see all announcements that are relevant to me?

A: The Announcements tool in My Worksite summarises all pertinent announcements.

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I have made an announcement but cannot see it listed on the site's home page?

A: Assuming that the announcement really has been made then lack of visibility may be a problem connected with timed release and / or the number of days an announcement is displayed.

The default user option (on a site's 'home page' under announcements) is currently to only show announcements made in the last 10 days; this figure should be increased if you feel it is too short; perhaps s figure of 30 days (a month) may be more suitable.

The date used in calculating whether to show the announcement is either the date the announcement was made or, if set, the 'Beginning Date'. So if an announcement is made today (5 Jan 2009) but has the 'Beginning Date' (start date) set to 1 Dec 2009 then it wont show for the majority of users as it falls outside of the 10 day time-out period. The advice is to only use Beginning Dates when setting a release for the future (not in the past).

The announcement will vanish either by the 'Ending Date' or after the 'Number of days' specified in the Announcement options whichever is the sooner.

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Events appear in users' calendars when they haven't signed up to a session

A: This is the default option of the tool: all proposed sessions appear in the site calendar regardless of whether the person logged in has signed up or not. To counteract this, expand the Other Default Settings section and unselect the option to publish the meeting to the Calendar tool.

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I am prompted to enter a user ID to sign up a student, what should I enter?

A: This only appears for the maintain and contribute roles if a very large number of people have been added to a site. The students will always see the normal access role view which displays a great big Sign Up button. The ID which needs to be entered is an internal WebLearn identifier - if you really need to sign up students yourself then please get in touch with the central team. This (obviously) is a known issue and is currently being addressed.

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I've added a new internal group to my site but I can't modify an existing sign-up event and make it visible to this new group

A: This is a known limitation. It is done this way there is no clear way (no consensus) on how to handle the signed-up people, who belong to a group that is removed

Currently, you could do the following:

  1. copy the meeting and give the copy the same name
  2. add the additional group(s)
  3. elect to keep the same attendees
  4. elect to Announce Availability to 'All potential participants' (see below)
  5. publish the new meeting
  6. remove the old meeting.

Students who had been signed up for the original event will receive an email about its cancellation. Therefore, be sure to announce the availability of the new meeting to 'All potential participants' – they should still be signed up to the new meeting.

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Is the sign-up tool group aware ?

A: Yes, the sign-up is group-aware and it has already used the calendar tool's group awareness. You can publish meeting to a specific group and it will be only visible to this group in Sign-up and Calendar tools.

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Is group awareness integrated between the Sign-up tool and the Calendar tool?

A: Yes - both tools are group aware. In creating a group-specific meeting in the Sign-up tool, the group allocation is automatically passed to the Calendar tool. So if you publish a meeting to a specific group, it will be visible only to this group in both tools.

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How do I create a number of morning & afternoon events that occur over a number of days, such that any user can sign up for all or none of these?

A: It is awkward, however, the following works:

  1. create 1 recurring afternoon event and 1 recurring morning event.
  2. for each of these events the start and end time refer to the *first* event of a recurring series.
  3. set the meeting frequency to 'Daily'.
  4. The 'Until' end date is *inclusive*.
  5. for meeting type, select 'Multiple Slots', # of slots to '1' and the number of participants to "total required / max.".

Any given user in the access role can then sign up to anywhere between none and all of these morning & afternoon events.

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How do I make my calendar visible outside of WebLearn?

A: Click on the 'Subscribe' link and click the 'Generate' button to set up your own private calendar URL. This URL can be used as a subscription link in your email client. You no longer have to export the calendar. There is a 'How To' guide in the guidance site that explains how private URLs can be used.

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I have subscribed my Google calendar to a WebLearn calendar but some (WebLearn) events are out of date?

A: It appears that there are some caching issues with Google Calendars: we think that Google only looks for event IDs that have appeared or disappeared, so it only recognises new / removed events; events that have just been edited do not generally seem to be picked up. You can 'force' an update within a day if, instead of changing the date / time or location of an event, you actually delete it and then add it in again with up to date details. This means that last-minute changes will not appear in a Google calendar and will need to be flagged up to students in an alternative way - Email; WebLearn Announcements Tool or even the University's SMS Text Messaging service which allows you to text students in the same way as you would send them an email - 3p a message.

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How do I import dates into my calendar?

A: The import link at the top of the Calendar tool will allow you to load calendar information from a file; the default format for calendar data is 'iCalendar' or iCAL format - this relates to a file with the extension *.ics.

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How do I get term dates into my calendar?

A: In the Calendar tool, click on the subscriptions link at the top of the page, the tick the box next to Oxford University Term Dates. The term dates should now appear in your calendar.

The WebLearn-compatible term dates calendar that is used is to be found at (or webcals://; please do not try to use any other 'term dates calendars', WebLearn is very fussy about the format of such files.

In theory, subscribed dates will not be visible in a users personal (My Home) calendar whereas imported dates will be. If a user is a member of 10 course sites which have all imported term dates then the poor user will see 10 different instances of the term dates on his calendar! This will be quite annoying. Unfortunately, there is currently a bug which means that subscribed calendar dates are treated in the same way as imported dates so at the moment the user will see see multiple copies of term dates. In the fullness of time this will be fixed and everything will behave as it should.

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When I import some of my "Event Types" are not recognised and appear as "Activity"

A: You must use the event types given below; use the first term (but don't include the quotes):

  • "Academic Calendar" = Academic Calendar
  • "Activity" = Activity
  • "Cancellation" = Cancellation
  • "Class section - Discussion" = Online Discussion
  • "Class section - Lab" = Lab Session
  • "Class section - Lecture" = Lecture
  • "Class section - Small Group" = Seminar
  • "Class session" = Class
  • "Computer Session" = Computer Session
  • "Deadline" = Deadline
  • "Exam" = Exam
  • "Meeting" = Meeting
  • "Multidisciplinary Conference" = Conference
  • "Quiz" = Online Test
  • "Special event" = Special event
  • "Web Assignment" = Web Assignment
  • "Tutorial" = Tutorial
  • "Workshop" = Workshop
  • "Submission Date" = Submission Date
  • "Formative Assessment" = Formative Assessment

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What are subscriptions?

A: If you have the URL of an iCAL feed from an external calendar (such as a Google calendar) then you can 'overlay' dates from that calendar on top of a worksite Calendar - this doesn't actually import the dates but just displays them on the calendar.

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My Subscription doesn't work

A: There is an external calendar subscription feature in WebLearn, but, unfortunately, it has some limitations:

  • doesn't support full event days;
  • doesn't support events not defined with <VEVENT>;
  • doesn't support re-occurring events;
  • doesn't support events without end time

Most of these issues are limitations of the library used (ical4j) and the ical import feature from the Calendar tool.

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How do I transfer dates from my WebLearn calendar to another calendar?

A: As a site maintainer your can 'export' your calendar data as an iCAL feed. To do this click on the Export link and then supply a name and tick the 'iCAL' box and press Save. Clicking on the export link once more will take you to a page which displays the calendar feed URL. This feed can then be used in any other calendar (either inside or outside of WebLearn. In general attachments will not be transferred.

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Do dates from my WebLearn site appear in the 'My Home' Calendar of site participants

A: Yes! And moreover subscribed calendar dates also appear.

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How can I add an event that is longer than 24 hours?

A: In the Calendar, go to Add in order to add an event. Complete all the details for the event, including a start time of 12:00 am and a duration of 23h 55m (i.e. a full day event). Scroll down and click on Frequency. Make the event frequency daily, then you get the option to specify the end date.

Can I change it so that the calendar week starts on a Sunday instead of a Monday?

A: WebLearn is set to British time zones and formats, which means that the week starts on Mondays. This cannot be changed by an individual user. It can be confusing, because if you have subscribed your calendar to the Oxford University term dates, then those are displayed starting on a Sunday! (which also cannot be changed.)

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Can I edit questions after a test has been published?

A: No, not directly. Once a Test has been published, the questions are locked, so any changes you make to the questions in the question pool will not be reflected in the test, even if you unpublish the test and subsequently re-publish it. If no students have yet taken the test (or even if a small number have done so -- their results will remain in the original test), click the icon on the far right of the list of tests to duplicate it. Any changes you have made to the questions BEFORE duplicating the test are reflected in the duplicate test. You can then unpublish the original test.

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Can I edit the feedback part of a question after a test has been published?

A: No. Once a Test has been published, the questions (and all their components) are locked, so any changes you make to the questions in the question pool will not be reflected in the test, even if you unpublish the test and subsequently re-publish it.

You can provide additional feedback to the student when marking the test using the Marking option which allows the marker to add feedback to each question on an individual basis either by entering text in the comments box or attaching a file. You can either mark by question (e.g. all student responses to Q2), or by submission (i.e. one student at a time).

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Is there any easy way to copy a Test Question pool between sites?

A: Yes. Use the Import from Site within Site Info; you must have already added the Tests tool to the target site.

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How can I export marks from the Tests tool?

A: Note that it is not currently possible to export responses from the Tests tool; it is currently only possible to export the marks.

Click on the Marking option and then on the title of the relevant Test:

  1. In the Viewing drop-down box, change the pagination to "all" so that every student gets listed.
  2. Scroll down and click on Export CSV.
  3. Save the file to your computer and open it in Excel.

If all respondents are site participants then you can also use the Markbook tool. Add the Markbook tool to the site and then select the option to feed marks into Markbook.

If the Tests tool is configured for use by non site members then the Markbook cannot be used as it only reports on participants. (Configuration of the Tests tool for this usage must be performed by the central team - please ask for help if you need this facility.)

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How do I display an Oxitems RSS Feed (Newsfeed) within a Page on a Site?

A: It is NOT possible to position a WebLearn News tool in the RHS column of the front page so this effect must be achieved by other means.

If you want to display an Oxitems feed then you should use the Oxitems JavaScript library.

The following HTML code should ideally be placed in the <head> block of your page. If you are creating an HTML via the Resources tool then the code can be placed within the body of the page - it is good practice to paste this at the top of the page so it is easy to spot. Be sure to use the https protocol instead of http when specifying the location of the output_newsfeed function - this will prevent Internet Explorer issuing warnings about 'secure and non-secure items' appearing on the same page:

To insert this code onto you page you will have to switch to the Source view of the WYSIWYG HTML editor and paste the text onto the page.

Define the location of the JavaScript library:

<script type="text/javascript" 


And then, at each point in the web page where a newsfeed is to be displayed, include lines like the following, (remembering of course to use the identifier of your feed instead of oucs/weblearn-news):

<script type="text/javascript"> 

      JavaScript is not enabled.  Either enable it or use this link: 
      <a href="">WebLearn news</a>. 


For more information on the above, visit the help page within the !Oxitems area of the OUCS website:

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How do I display a general RSS Feed (Newsfeed) within a Page on a Site?

A: If you want to display a general RSS feed (as opposed to an Oxitems feed) the use either UKOLN's RSS-xpress Lite (NB this doesn't display Atom feeds) or Google's AJAX feed displaying web service: Both these services will supply JavaScript for you to paste onto your page (via the Source view of the WYSIWYG HTML editor).

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What is the maximum file size that the Assignments tool will accept for a student submission?

A: The maximum file size is the same as for any file upload into WebLearn, which is currently 250 Mb.

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Are Assignments counted towards a site's quota?

A: No, however, they are actually stored in a special folder in resources but this folder cannot be accessed via the normal route nor does it count towards the quota.

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Who is entitled to use the Turnitin service?

A: Oxford University's Turnitin licence covers use by Oxford University staff members (administrators, academics, college staff and visiting staff ) to screen papers, essays, dissertations or theses written by students registered for a course or programme of study at Oxford University. If you are using the WebLearn Assignments tool integration with Turnitin, make sure that your site does not include students who are not registered at Oxford University.

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Can a student resubmit an assignment?

A: In the Assignments tool, the maintainer can set the number of resubmissions allowed (from 0 to 10). If the student has submitted, then they need to remove that submission before they can browse and attach a new file to submit. Each submission will go via Turnitin, if that option is selected. For each assignment submission, the Turnitin Originality report will be overwritten by the newly generated one. Therefore, the student should download the first Turnitin report before they resubmit, if they want to go over the first one later.

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Can an instructor elect not to have a particular paper stored in the Turnitin database/repository?

A: No, via the WebLearn Assignment tool, if the Turnitin option is selected, one cannot opt to exclude submitted papers from the Turnitin repository. Using Turnitin directly, the instructor can opt in advance for student papers not to be stored in the repository.

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I have duplicated an assignment and Turnitin is not working

A: This is a known issue:

  1. When you copy an assignment the Turnitin setting is lost
  2. Two assignments cannot have the same name on a single site - in general, only the first assignment will be routed via Turnitin.

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No Turnitin report was generated. What could be the reason?

A: There are a number of restrictions when using Turnitin. The nature of these restrictions are such that you are unlikely to encounter any of these in practice; however it is worth being aware of them in case you have any problems. The scenario when you are most likely to run into them would be when you are testing Turnitin for yourself with artificial sample data.

  1. Turnitin distinguishes users on the basis of e-mail address. Therefore, once an e-mail address has been associated with a particular user it can not be associated with another one.
  2. The name of the WebLearn site containing the assignment must be greater than 5 characters.

  3. Document submissions must be over 100 characters in length.
  4. Assignment durations should not be too short. For example, you may well encounter problems with duration of just one day. (For testing purposes, you will still be able to examine many of the aspects of the Assignment + Turnitin workflow (such as creation, return and viewing of originality reports, etc) by setting a duration of 5 - 7 days).
  5. You must choose At tachments only for the type of student submission.
  6. Turnitin accepts the following file types for submissions - MS Word (*.doc), WordPerfect, RTF, PDF, Postscript, HTML and plain text.

  7. Currently, although re-submission can be enabled in WebLearn, any re-submitted assignments will not be sent to Turnitin.

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When I attempt to unpack a ZIP file of student's assignments I am challenged for a password.

A: This appears to be a Windows problem possibly to do with long file names. Instead of using the inbuilt ZIP file utility in Windows try using either WinRAR, 7-ZIP or WinZip instead; also try unzipping to your desktop and moving at a later date.

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Can I archive last year's assignments, they are taking up too much space on the screen

A: Assignments cannot be archived but they can be deleted, however, the best approach may be to use a special sub-site especially for conducting assignments. If your course is Old English then call the sub-site "Old English Assignments 2009-10" so that students can spot it out of context in the Sites list. Each year you can detach the incumbent and create a new site for the next year.

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Do student essays remain in the system after a student has left?

A: Yes BUT the the essays are not accessible via the UI and the download zip file won't contain the former student's submission so to all intents and purposes they are lost! Therefore we recommend that before the students complete the course (or leave the University), the site maintainer should use the 'Download All' function to download all student submissions and store them in a local archive.

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Can I archive the student's essays and tutor comments on my desktop?

A: Yes. Feedback / comments added via the web interface appear in the student's folder in the ZIP archive of essays which can be downloaded. The feedback is stored in a file called comments.txt.

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I am using the Gradebook with the Assignments tool. How can I exclude the mark for a particular assignment from the total grade calculation?

A: Follow these two steps:

  1. In Gradebook, manually create a 'Gradebook item' (i.e. a column) for the assignment that should NOT be included in the overall mark – it presents you with the option whether or not to include this 'item' in the calculation of the Course Grade.
  2. Create the new Assignment, and select the option to 'Associate with existing Markbook item'. This will create the link between the assignment and the Gradebook item (column) – meaning that the marks entered in the assignment will automatically appear in the respective Gradebook column (which was created without inclusion in the total grade calculation).

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How do I give other people access to My Home?

A: My Home is a private facility and acts like a dashboard. The Resources tool is private by default but individual folders can be made public. To achieve this, click on Edit Details in the Actions menu and select the 'public' option underneath the 'Availability and Access' section. Any subsequent sub-folders will inherit this setting and will also be public. The URL of the folder is to be found at the bottom of this page; you cannot state the URL shown in the browser's address bar.

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Who is my Local WebLearn coordinator?

A: There is a list here:

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I am a Local WebLearn Coordinator and am leaving the university. Could you please advise me what needs doing?

A: First of all you should tell us the name of the new person. Then you should visit your Administration Site, click on Site Info and add the new user with the admin role.

If appropriate you should click on Edit Site Information and replace the contact person with the new WebLearn Coordinator.

Then you should remove yourself from the Administration site.

You should then point the new person in the direction of the guidance offered on the sign up form and also the step by step guide:

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What is the difference between the ''Admin'' and ''Member'' roles?

A: The Admin role is more powerful than the Member role.

The Admin role can visit and 'maintain' all sites that are managed by the Administration Site. A participant with the member role has to be a site participant in order to visit it it, and (as usual) has to have the maintain role within a site to be able to configure it. In addition a participant with the member role in the Administration Site is able to create sites from with any site where they have the maintain role.

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What can the ''Audit'' role do?

A: This is a role which give the participant rights to audit or view all sites managed by the Administration Site. Specifically, a participant with the Audit role may:

  • visit all sites managed by the Administration Site (including unpublished sites)
  • read announcements
  • read assignments and student submissions
  • see the site calendar
  • read chat transcripts
  • see all files in resources including hidden material
  • read the email archive
  • see all site member details
  • read all wiki pages
  • see all 'sign-up' meeting details
  • use Site Stats tool
  • see site membership (in Site Info)

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Can I make my ''Admin Site'' public or available to all logged in users?

A: Technically you can but this is a very bad idea indeed; it will have the side effect of making all the sites which are controlled by the Admin Site in question either public or available to all logged in users.

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What tools support archiving?

A: At the time of writing (Jan 2008) Ian Boston tells us:

  • Assessments: no
  • Markbook: no
  • Dropbox: no, performed by content
  • Assignments: yes
  • Chat: yes
  • Calendar: yes
  • Citations: no
  • Content: yes
  • Forum: yes
  • Announcement: yes
  • Mail Archive: yes
  • News: yes
  • Poll: yes
  • Preferences: no
  • RWiki: yes
  • Site: no
  • Syllabus: yes

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