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FAQ

Please check out the new OWL-Space Helpful Hints page that is under development.

General Help
Site Admin Tasks
User Info
Troubleshooting
New Features
Tool Related Issues
Resources/WebDAV Issues
Email Archive Issues
Discussion Issues
Gradebook Issues

General Help

How do I post a public syllabus so that all students can view it?
Why does my course say “Unpublished Site” in the upper left hand corner?
How do I change the order of the tabs across the top of the page?
How do I reuse materials from a previous course site?
How do I print a copy of my Roster?
How do I shorten long URL on my site?
If I accidentally mess up my course site, can an old copy of it be restored?
How do I send an email to my class?
When are students added and removed from course sites?
How do I post information (such as syllabus, reading list, etc) so that any Rice students can see it?

Site Admin Tasks

How do I publish my site?
How do I request an OWL-Space site?
How do I add a TA to my course?
How do I make my site inaccessible to students?
How can I add students/collaborators to my site that do not have a Rice NetID?
How do I create a group?

User Info

How do I reset my password?
How do I change my email address that is used by OWL-Space?
I’ve accidentally unjoined from a course. How can I get back into the course?

Troubleshooting

Why am I getting a blank screen after I log in?
Why is the browser Back button not working right?

New Features

What are Lessons?
What is a Course Roster?
How do I create course Sections?
What can I do with Tests & Quizzes?

Tool Related Issues

How do I add a new Tool to my course?
How do I remove a Tool from my course?
Can I rename the tools listed in the left hand navigation menu?
Can I reorder/sort the tools listed in the left hand navigation menu?

Resources/WebDAV Issues

I posted a document to my Resources area of my course site and now it’s gone. What happened to it?
Why is WebDav not working?
Why do I get an error when I try to copy a folder to my OWL-Space course using Goliath on a Mac?
What are these files in my Resources section that start with ._ and are 1kb in size?
How do I move/copy files from one course site (or from MyWorkspace) to another course site?
Can I sort the files and folders in the Resources section of my course?

Email Archive Issues

Why can’t I send email to my course?

Discussion Issues

Is there a way for my students to post discussion messages in my course site anonymously?

Gradebook Issues

Why can’t my TA see the students’ grades?

 

General Help

NEW! How do I post a public syllabus that all students can view?

Posting a syllabus online allows students shopping for courses to learn more about your course. It also helps in the student advising process. Students can view information posted on OWL-Space that is marked as public by using the “Sites” tool in the left hand tool bar on the main OWL-Space page.

To post your syllabus you will need to first login to OWL-Space at https://owlspace-ccm.rice.edu with your NetID and NetID password. Then, choose the course you wish to access on either the top menu bar or the “more” pull down menu on the right hand side.

Your course site needs to be “published” in order for students to view any information that is posted inside. Course sites are published by:

  1. Click on Site Info
  2. Click on Manage Access on the top of the tool window
  3. Choose the Publish Site option
  4. Click Update

You have 2 options from here. You can either create a syllabus using the Syllabus tool or you can upload your syllabus (in word, pdf, etc format) into the Resources area.

To upload a file:

  1. Click on Resources in the left tool menu
  2. Click on the Add button in the middle of the page (located to the right of a folder with a name such as MATH 101 Resources)
  3. Click on Upload Files
  4. Click Browse and choose the file to upload
  5. Click Add Details for this item
  6. Choose “This file is publicly viewable.” under Availability and Access
  7. Click Upload Files Now.

To create a syllabus:

  1. Click on Syllabus in the left tool menu
  2. Click Create/Edit
  3. Click Add
  4. Enter a Title and Syllabus Content (this can be copied and pasted from a file)
  5. Choose Public View
  6. A file can also be added using the Add attachments button
  7. Once you are finished, click Post

To return to the main Syllabus page, click on the 2 circular arrows located to the left of the word Syllabus on the top gray title bar.

Once this is complete, you can then use the Sites tool to see how this information will be viewable to students. To do this, logout of OWL-Space. Click on Sites. Enter your course title (ex MATH 101) in the Search box and click Search for Sites. Click on your course title. The information you marked as public will be displayed here.

Why does my course say “Unpublished Site” in the upper left hand corner?

Before each semester, a computer script is run that automatically creates every course being taught. Because we do not know if a professor wants to use their OWL-Space course site, we mark the course as “Unpublished”. This allows the professor to access the course site, but the students can not access this site. To publish your site, just click on the “Publish Site” button. NOTE: This option has to be changed before the students see this site.

How do I change the order of the tabs across the top of the page?

There may be some course or collaboration sites that you access more frequently than others. The site listing across the top of the OWL-Space page can be reordered by following these steps:

  1. Select My Workspace in the top menu bar
  2. Click Preferences in the left navigation bar
  3. Click Customize Tabs in the menu bar at the top of the frame
  4. Drag and drop your sites into the preferred list
  5. Multiple boxes can be selected for moving using the check boxes
  6. Click Update Preferences

This allows an instructor to reuse course materials and keep a previously used site intact.

How do I reuse materials from a previous course site?

Materials from an old OWL-Space site can be reused in a new OWL-Space site. To do this, you’ll need to import the materials into the new site by following these steps:

  1. Select the site into which you want to add the materials
  2. Click Site Info
  3. At the top of the Site Info screen, click Import from Site
  4. Choose either “I would like to replace my data” or “I would like to merge my data” (if data already exists in the new course site)
  5. Check the box next to the site that contains the source material. You may choose more than one site depending on the option chosen for number 4. Then click Continue
  6. Under the name of the site(s) you selected, check the box next to each tool that contains your source material. If a box is grayed out, it means the corresponding tool is not available in that site. Then click Finish
How do I print a copy of my Roster?

The course rosters are automatically kept up to date in OWL-Space. If you would like to print out a copy of your course roster, do the following:

  1. Select your course in the top menu bar
  2. Click Roster in the left navigation bar (Add Roster tool, if not there.)
  3. Click Print from right top corner
How do I shorten long URL on my site?

The easiest way to to this is to use TinyURL. TinyURL is a web application that takes a really long URL and creates a very short URL for your use.

If I accidentally mess up my course site, can an old copy of it be restored?

Unfortunately, our backup system only allows for a system wide restore. This means that if something happens to the system, everything is saved and can be brought back up. However, there is no way to back up each individual course.

How do I send an email to my class?

Instructors can send an email to their class using OWL-Space in a number of ways. Two common ways are by using the Email Archive tool or the Announcements tool.

The Email Archive tool can be used to send email to the entire class. Each course site can have an associated email address (i.e., MATH-101-F06@owlspace-ccm.rice.edu). A copy of each message sent to the class email address from an instructor’s email client is also archived on the OWL-Space site. If you don’t see the Email Archive tool listed in your course, please add this tool by following the instructions listed below.

The Announcements tool can be used to send an email to the entire class or to a section of the class. To create an announcement:

  1. Log in to OWL-Space with your NetID and Password ( http://owlspace-ccm.rice.edu )
  2. Select your course in the top menu bar
  3. Click Announcements in the left navigation bar
  4. Compose the announcement
  5. Use the “Email Notification” drop down menu at the bottom of the page to choose whether to email the announcement to all students, or only to students that have chosen to receive emailed announcements
When are students added and removed from course sites?

The automated scripts that add students to the OWL-Space course sites are run Monday-Friday at 4:00am and 2:30pm. It should typically take less than a day for a student to be added to an OWL-Space course site.

It may take up to 5 days before a student is removed from a course site once they drop a course. This extra time allows time for manual intervention in the unlikely event that an communication error happens between the Banner system and the OWL-Space system.

How do I post information (such as syllabus, reading list, etc) so that any Rice students can see it?

When an Instructor or TA is posting materials online, the material can be marked as “public”. This allows anyone to view this material by using the “Sites” button on the left hand tool bar on the main OWL-Space page. Any information that is marked as “public” in a published course site, will be viewable here. This allows students shopping for courses to learn more about your course. It also helps in the student advising process. Information in the Resources, Announcements, and Syllabus tools can be marked public.

To mark a Resource as public:

  1. Click Add, Upload Files
  2. Click Browser and choose the file to upload
  3. Click “add details for this item”
  4. Click “This file is publicly viewable.”
  5. Click Upload Files now.

Note: This option can be changed at any time by clicking on Actions, Edit Details to the right of the file you wish to edit.

To mark a Syllabus entry as public:

Choose “Public View” when creating or editing a syllabus entry.

Site Admin Tasks

How do I publish my site?

To publish your site so that students can access it:

  1. Select your course in the top menu bar
  2. Click on Publish Now button at the top left corner
How do I request an OWL-Space site?

If you would like to request an OWL-Space course or collaboration site, please use the links on the left hand side of the page.

How do I add a TA to my course?

To add a TA to your course:

  1. Select your course in the top menu bar
  2. Click on Site Info
  3. Click on Add Participants on the top of the tool window
  4. Enter the TA’s NetID into the text box and click Continue
  5. Choose “Teaching Assistant” for the role of your TA and click Continue
  6. Click Continue
  7. Click Finish

PLEASE NOTE: This text box will only recognize NetIDs.

How do I make my site inaccessible to students?

If you would like your site to be accessible only to the Instructors and Teaching Assistants, you can “Unpublish” your site. This will remove this course from the students course listing until you “Publish” the site again. To change the Publish settings:

  1. Select your course in the top menu bar
  2. Click on Site Info
  3. Click on Manage Access on the top of the tool window
  4. Choose the Leave as Draft option. Choose the Publish Site option when you want students to access your site again
  5. Click Update
How can I add students/collaborators to my site that do not have a Rice NetID?

Please send an email to sakai@rice.edu with the names, email addresses and course/collaboration site name. Accounts will be created for these individuals and login information will be emailed to them.

How do I create a group?
  1. Select your course in the top menu bar
  2. Click on Site Info
  3. Click on Manage Groups on the top of the tool window
  4. Click Create New Group
  5. In the “Title” field, enter a title for your group (e.g., Project team 1). You may also add a text description.
  6. From the window on the left, select a site participant to add to the group, and then click Add to group. Repeat this step until you’ve added all the members you wish to the group. To select more than one member at a time, hold down the Ctrl key (in Windows) or the Cmd key (in Mac OS X), and select the members you wish to add.
  7. When you’re finished, click Update

User Info

How do I reset my password?

OWL-Space now uses the NetID and NetID password system (Single Sign On). If you have forgotten or need to reset the password, go to https://mynetid.rice.edu .

If you are not a member of the Rice community and only have an OWL-Space account, go to http://owlspace-ccm.rice.edu , click on “Reset Non-Rice Password” link from the navigation menu, and follow the direction.

How do I change my email address that is used by OWL-Space?

You can change the email address that OWL-Space sends messages to by:

  1. Select “MyWorkspace” from the top menu
  2. Click on Account
  3. Click on Modify Details
  4. Change the email address listed to the correct email address
  5. Click Update Details
I’ve accidentally unjoined from a course. How can I get back into the course?

Send an email to sakai@rice.edu, including your name, OWL-Space userid, and the course that you UnJoined from in the email message.

Troubleshooting

Why am I getting a blank screen after I log in?

If you receive only a blank screen after you log in to OWL-Space, just Refresh the page. This will log you in successfully.

Why is the browser Back button not working correctly?

The Browser back button in OWL-Space is designed to move backward to the Tool (the items listed on the left hand side menu) that you were using previously. If you are trying to go to the previous page within a tool, please click on the little up arrow that is at the top of the box in the center section of the screen. This up arrow should be located to the left of the title of the tool that you are currently using.

New Features

 

What are Lessons?

The Lessons tool is a lesson builder that allows instructors to build and publish learning sequences in their OWL-Space course. These learning sequences can be comprised of text, images, web links, files, etc. Learning sequences can be released automatically by OWL-Space based on start and stop dates set by the instructor.

What is a Course Roster?

A Course Roster is a pictorial listing on the individuals enrolled in your Sakai course or collaboration site. users can upload their picture and edit the information included in their Roster through the Profile tool in their MyWorkspace area.

How do I create Course Sections?

Note: To complete the procedures listed below, you need to be assigned a role that has the necessary permissions.

To create a section, follow these steps:

    1. In your site’s left menu, click Section Info. This will open the Section Info tool.
      Note: If you do not see Section Info on your menu bar, you may need to add the tool. For more information, see the “How do I add a New Tool to my course?” question below.
    2. Click Add Sections.
    3. From the drop-down menus, select the number of sections you wish to add and the category in which the section(s) will be placed. You may add up to 10 sections at one time; however, all these sections must be in the same category. To add different sections in different categories, add them one at a time. For the categories, you may choose from the following:
      • Lecture
      • Lab
      • Discussion
      • Studio
      • Recitation

 

      Note: The name of a category is the only thing that differentiates it from other categories; the categories are otherwise the same. For instance, a Lab section will function exactly as a Discussion section in the Section Info tool.

 

  1. In the field next to “Title”, give your section a name. If you don’t enter a title, the name of the category plus a number will be the default title (e.g., Lab1, Lab2, Lab3).
  2. Next to “Days”, select which days of the week this section meets.
  3. In the “Start Time” field, you may enter the time the section meets. Enter the time and minutes, for example, 8:00. Check next to AM or PM to indicate time of day.
  4. In the “End Time” field, enter the time the section’s meeting ends. Use the same format as for “Start Time”.
  5. Next to “Maximum Size”, enter the maximum number of members allowed in the section. If left blank, this field will allow any number of members.
  6. For “Location” enter a short location identification, up to 20 characters maximum.
  7. If you have chosen to add more than one section at a time, enter information for the other sections.
  8. When you are finished, click Add Sections. If you have changed your mind and do not wish to add the section(s), click Cancel.

Once you have created your section(s), follow the directions below to add site members to your section(s):

  1. In your course or project site, click Section Info.
  2. Under the section in which you wish to add participants, click Assign Students.
  3. From the list of work site members, select those you wish to add, and click the right arrow to move them to the box on the right.
  4. When you are finished selecting students, click Assign students. To cancel, click Cancel.
What can I do with Tests & Quizzes?

This tool allows you to create online assessments (i.e., tests, quizzes, and surveys) for delivery via a web interface to your students or other groups. You will use it mainly to administer tests, but you may also create assessments to gather survey information or informal course feedback.

You can include multiple question types in an assessment, including ones that require your students to upload files. You then can choose how to organize, deliver, and collect that assessment. You can choose to scramble questions so that they appear in a different order for each student. Questions can be organized into question pools, allowing you to re-use questions. You can also import previously created tests and surveys.

Most grading is done automatically, and grades can be posted automatically to an online gradebook.

Tool Related Issues

How do I add a new Tool to my course?

To add a new Tool to your OWL-Space course,do the following:

  1. Click on Site Info on the left hand side of the page.
  2. Click on Edit Tools on the top of the center window.
  3. Click on the box in front of the tool that you wish to add and click Continue.
  4. The next screen will ask for information about the Email Archive, News, and/or Web Content tools. If you did not want to make any changes to these tools, leave these options as they are and click Continue. if you are adding a News Feed or a Web Page, change the corresponding options and click Continue.
  5. This will bring you to the Confirmation screen. Please look over this page and make sure that the tools you wish to have are shown. Click Finish to accept these changes.
How do I remove a Tool from my course?

Removing a Tool from your course is done in the same location as adding tools. To remove a course:

  1. Click on Site Info on the left hand side of the page.
  2. Click on Edit Tools on the top of the center window.
  3. Click on the check box in front of the tool that you wish to remove and click Continue.
  4. The next screen will ask for information about the Email Archive, News, and/or Web Content tools. If you did not want to make any changes to these tools, leave these options as they are and click Continue. if you are adding a News Feed or a Web Page, change the corresponding options and click Continue.
  5. This will bring you to the Confirmation screen. Please look over this page and make sure that the tools you wish to remove are listed at the top of the window. Click Finish to accept these changes.
Can I rename the tools listed in the left hand navigation menu?

Yes, tools can be renamed by:

  1. Click on Site Info on the left hand side of the page
  2. Click on Page Order on the top of the center window
  3. Click on the pencil icon to the right of the tool you’d like to rename
  4. Change the name in the text box
  5. Click Save at the bottom of the page
Can I change the order of the tools listed in the left hand navigation menu?

Yes, tools can be reordered by:

  1. Click on Site Info on the left hand side of the page
  2. Click on Page Order on the top of the center window
  3. Drag and drop the tools into the preferred order
  4. Click Save at the bottom of the page

Resources/WebDAV Issues

I posted a document to my Resources area of my course site and now it’s gone. What happened to it?

Check your MyWorkspace Resources section to see if the file was accidentally uploaded here instead of to your course Resources section.

Why is WebDav not working?

On some computers, the WebDav address supplied by OWL-Space is incomplete. If you are having problems accessing your site using WebDav, try adding “/” to the end of the Internet Address. This address will looks similar to “https://owlspace-ccm.rice.edu/dav/group/db1d22e6-129a-46a4-005f-007a11e2c91f”. Be sure to include the complete address. Trying to access the site id only (i.e. something similar to “db1d22e6-129a-46a4-005f-007a11e2c91f”) will not work.  Be sure to try the alternate client option as well, these include anyclient and cyberduck.  Information and links for this clients can be found on the WebDAV page on OWL-Space.

What are these files in my Resources section that start with ._ and are 1kb in size?

Extra information is transferred to OWL-Space during a WebDAV (or Goliath) connection from a Macintosh. These files will have the same name as the files that you copied over, but will start with ._ and will only be 1kb in size. These files can be deleted from the Resources section of your course by clicking in the checkbox in front of the filenames and then clicking on “Remove Checked” towards the top of the page. Please be sure to only delete the files that start with “._”.

How do I move/copy files from one course site (or from MyWorkspace) to another course site?

To move or copy files from one course site (or from your MyWorkspace area) to another course site:

  1. Select the course that you want to move/copy the files to in the top menu bar
  2. Select Resources in the left hand navigation bar
  3. Click Show Other Sites at the bottom of the frame to view the files from your other OWL-Space sites
  4. You may need to click on some of the folders to get to the files you are wanting to move or copy (Clicking on the folder icon with the + symbol in it will display the folder’s contents)
  5. Click in the checkbox(es) in front of the file(s) you wish to move/copy.
  6. Click Move or Copy at the top of the page
  7. A link labeled Paste Moved Items will appear to the right of all of the folders. If you can’t see the folder that you wish to move/copy your files to, click on the Up arrow at the top left of the window
  8. Click the Paste Moved Items link that is to the right of the folder you want to move/copy the files(s) to
Can I sort the files and folders in the Resources section of my course?

By default, the files and folders in the Resources section are displayed in alphabetical order. The order can now be changed by clicking on Reorder under the Actions menu that is located to the right of the folder you wish to order. There are 2 methods of reordering files on this page. You can either use the arrows on the left hand side to move the items up and down. Or you can use the pull down menus on the right hand side to set the order.

Email Archive Issues

Why can’t I send email to my course?

There are 2 reasons that this could be occurring.

  1. You may not have permission to send email to this course. At this time, only Instructors and Teaching Assistants are allowed to send emails to all of the individuals in an OWL-Space course.
  2. The email address you are sending from may not match the email address associated with your OWL-Space account. To check this:
      1. Login to OWL-Space
      2. Click on the course that you are trying to send email to.
      3. Click on Email Archive on the left hand side of the page.
      4. Check the email address listed. If this email address is not the same as the one you are using, it can be changed in the Account section on your MyWorkspace area

Discussion Issues

Is there a way for my students to post discussion messages in my course site anonymously?

Unfortunately, there is no option for anonymous discussion postings in OWL-Space at this time.

Gradebook Issues

Why can’t my TA see the students’ grades?

In the new versions of OWL-Space, a TA can only see the grades for the students that are assigned to their Course Section. If you have not set up a Course Section, please see the section below entitled “How do I create Course Sections?”. This will step you through creating sections and adding students to the sections. Be sure to add your TA to the correct section as well. Please Note: If you only have one section and have a TA that needs to access the gradebook, send an email to sakai@rice.edu and the section information will be automatically completed for you.

Other Issues

Please email sakai@rice.edu if you have questions that are not covered here.

Acknowledgements

Some page content courtesy of Sakai Knowledge Base.