Using the Roster tool to access student pictures

Credit: Pacific High School Class of 98 on Flickr.

Did you ever try remembering the name of a student in your class but couldn’t? Students may need to contact classmates for group work, ask a question, or get some help. Instructors want to get to know their students and engage them in discussion. Calling a student by his/her name in or out of the classroom can make a lasting impression. But for classes with large numbers of students, this can seem daunting. Sakai can help!

Besides providing a list of names in a site, the Roster tool in Sakai, allows for pictures to be displayed. But how do the pictures get there?

With the June 2011 upgrade, a new tool called Profile is available to all users of Sakai. The Profile tool allows each user to create a page displaying pictures, interests, URLs to web pages or social media personas, and more. The tool has to be enabled by each user, as described in the Sakai@UD help pages. Profile also allows users to make “connections” and send messages to one another, regardless of whether they share classes together or not.

Anyone who has completed their profile and allowed their picture to be shared with everyone (My Workspace > Profile > Privacy) enables the picture to be visible in any site for which they are a member (as long as the Roster tool is enabled in the site). In Roster, any participant can click  Pictures in the Tool Options bar and switch to Pictures from Profile to see who has shared their profile picture in Sakai@UD (instructors see everyone; students see only those who are in the same group or roster section as themselves).

Each person controls the picture they add to their profile. Be aware that someone might decide to use an avatar to represent themselves, as is commonly done in other social media services.

Mathieu Plourde

Québécois, Project Leader, LMS, IT Client Support & Services, University of Delaware. Instructional Designer, Educational Technologist, Open Education Evangelist, Huge Wiki Geek, 2009 Sakai Fellow. Ed. D. student.

2 Comments

  1. Question: Pictures of students are already available (though not so conveniently accessible) under Faculty UDSIS. So why not automatically incorporate those same student pictures into the class rosters on Sakai so that instructors can opt to see a list of names with faces? That would make it easy for to begin learning who is in our classes early on in the semester. Why all the extra steps? (Am I missing something?)

  2. Hi Seth,

    Indeed, the pictures are available in UDSIS. Some schools using Sakai have opted to populate the Roster tool with them. I am not sure what the UD policies are regarding the use of the official student pictures. The Roster tool would allow other students in their classes to see each others’ picture, so I’m not sure Sakai is the best way to go.

    Contact me directly if you want to discuss this more, or help us investigate. mathieu at udel dot edu

    Mathieu

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