Sending papers (or other files) to instructors in Sakai

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How do I send assignments or documents to my instructor?

Listed below are several different ways a student can send electronic documents to an instructor.

Before using any of the methods described below, BE SURE to check with your instructor. You must submit your assignments using the method YOUR instructor specifies.

ALSO, before sending, it is a good idea to save your document as RTF (Rich Text Format) so your instructor will be able to open it and read it in any word processor.

Email attachment

Some instructors ask students to send documents to them as email attachments. You can do this through your Durham Tech ConnectMail account. Or, you can use Sakai's Email tool (if it's available) to send a message to your instructor.

  • In your Sakai course, go to the course menu on the left and click on the Email tool.

Note: If you don't see the Email tool on the course menu, the tool is not available.

  • In the TO line, click Roles, then click Instructors, then check the boxes beside your instructor's name.
  • Type a meaningful subject line and message. (Be sure to follow any specific rules your instructor has set for email communication.) At a minimum, your message should include your name, the course and section, and the name of the specific assignment you are submitting.
  • Click Attach a file (just under the Subject line) to attach your file.
  • Click BROWSE, then locate and select your document.
  • If you're attaching multiple files, click Attach another file. Then, click BROWSE to locate and select another file.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and check the box beside Send me a copy, so you will have a record of the email.
  • DO NOT check the Add to Email Archive box when sending emails to your instructors that should remain private.

Note: Be aware that emails added to the Email Archive are visible to all site participants.

  • Click Send Email.

Note: A copy of the message will be sent to your ConnectMail email account for your records.

Digital Dropbox

If your instructor has specified that you should use Blackboard's Digital Dropbox, follow these steps to submit a file:

  • In your course in Blackboard, click on the Tools button in the left frame, and then click on the Digital Dropbox link in the right frame.
  • To send a file to your instructor's drop box, click the SEND FILE button.

Caution: If you click the "Add File" button instead, you will store the file in YOUR dropbox but it will NOT be sent to the instructor! The "Add File" button allows you to store documents in your dropbox for your own use---but it does NOT send documents to your instructor!

  • In the Title field, type a title for this submission. It's a good idea to type something that identifies the assignment, along with your name.
  • Click the BROWSE button, then locate and select your document.
  • If you want, you can type a comment to your instructor.
  • Click SUBMIT to send the file to the instructor's dropbox.

View/Complete Assignments

Some instructors use a special Assignment item in Blackboard to collect documents from students. If your instructor uses this, you will find a "View/Complete Assignment..." link wherever the assignment details are posted, which looks something like this: Assignments 1.gif

To submit a document using View/Complete Assignment:

  • In your course, locate the specific assignment item and click on the "View/Complete Assignment..." link below the assignment description. Then scroll down to section 2.
  • In the "Comments" box, you can type a note to your instructor if you like.
  • In the "Attach Local File" area, click BROWSE, and locate and select your document. Then click SUBMIT.
  • Beside "Currently Attached Files", you will see your document listed. (You can click "Add Another File" to attach a second file, if needed.)
  • Under section 3, click SUBMIT to send the document to your instructor.

Note: You can submit ONE TIME for each View/Complete item. If you need to re-submit your file(s), you must contact your instructor, who must "clear" your first submission.

How can I save my file so that my instructor will be able to open it?

If your instructor is unable to open and read files that you send him or her, it is probably because your word processing programs are not compatible. (For example, if you use Microsoft Works but your instructor uses Microsoft Word, then you may have problems opening each others' documents. Although the names are very similar, these are two different products and are often not compatible.)

It is a good idea to save your documents in a format that can be opened by ANY word processor: Rich Text Format (RTF).

Saving in Rich Text Format preserves formatting (such as bold, italics, bullets, numbering, tabs, tables, etc) AND allows the document to be opened in any word processor.

How do I save a document in Rich Text Format (RTF)?

  • First, type up your document and save it as usual.
  • Then choose File > Save As.
  • In the dialog box that appears, just underneath the file name, you will see a drop-down menu where you can select different file types. From this menu, choose Rich Text Format. After you choose this, the file ending will change to RTF.

When attaching a file to send to my instructor, how can I tell which is the RTF file?

By default, Windows hides the file extensions (3 letter endings of file names). Therefore, when you are attaching a file, it can be hard to tell which files are in rich text format (that is, which files end in RTF). The solution is to change your Windows settings to show file endings.

Follow these steps to set Windows to show file endings:

  • In Windows, open "My Computer".
  • From the Tools menu, choose Folder Options. Click the View tab.
  • Un-check the box beside "Hide file extensions for known file types".
  • Click Apply, then click OK. Close the "My Computer" window.

What characters should I avoid when naming files?

When saving a document that you plan to send or post in Blackboard, do NOT use any special symbols in the file name (such as: # $ @ * & ? and so on). If you do, others may not be able to open your file. The file name CAN contain letters, numbers, spaces, hyphens and underscore marks.

Example:  Don't use this file name --> assignment#3.doc
          Use this one instead --> assignment3.doc

I'm having trouble with Office 2007 files. What should I do?

Microsoft Word 2007 saves files with an (.docx) extension. Microsoft Word 2003 and older versions save files with an (.doc) extension. Even though the file extensions look similar, Microsoft Word 2003 and older versions cannot open (.docx) files without installing additional software called the Microsoft Compatibility Pack. The Microsoft Compatibility Pack allows you to open, edit, save and create files with (.docx) extension using Microsoft Word 2003 and older versions. The Microsoft Compatibility Pack includes a compatibility option for Excel and PowerPoint 2007.

See Microsoft’s website to learn how to download and install the free Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.

I'm using Office 2007. How can I save files so my instructor or others can open them?

If you are using Microsoft Word 2007, follow these steps to save your files in an older version (.doc) format:

  • First, type up your document and save it as usual.
  • Then choose the Office Button (colorful circle in upper-left corner) > Save As.
  • In the dialog box that appears, just underneath the file name, you will see a drop-down menu where you can select different file types. From this menu, choose Word 97-2003 Documents. After you choose this, the file ending will change to doc.

I put a file in the digital dropbox, but the instructor never got it.

First, check with your instructor to make sure he/she is using the Digital Dropbox. If so, then read on...

This situation occurs if you click ADD FILE instead of SEND FILE when you put the file in the dropbox. Follow these steps to SEND the file to your instructor:

  • Go into the Digital Dropbox for the course.
  • Click SEND FILE.
  • Beside "Select File", click the drop-down menu and choose the title for the document you need to send. (This is the title you typed when you first added the file to the dropbox.)
  • Click SUBMIT to send the file to your instructor.