Answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding OAKS

How do I get an OAKS shell for my course?

All courses at the College of Charleston should automatically have an OAKS course shell.  When you log into OAKS you should see all courses for which you are responsible listed in the My Courses area of the homepage.  If you do not see one of your courses please contact the Helpdesk with your name and the CRN for the course that is missing from your list.  Please make sure that you are listed as the official instructor of record before contacting the Helpdesk.

Can I combine two sections of a course into one course so that I don't have to add content more than once?

You can.  This is called "crosslisting" courses.  This process combines the classlists of multiple courses into one course.  Within the Grades area these students will be differentiated by a new column containing their original section.  This allows you to add content, assignments, quizzes, etc. only once for all sections. IMPORTANT NOTE: When possible, try to add any special users such as Librarians, GAs or Content Assistants before you request the cross-listing. Also, you should cross-list your courses before students submit work.


To request a crosslisting, please complete the Request to Crosslist in the OAKS Request widget on My Home in OAKS. This process can take up to two business days to complete.

How long will classes be available in OAKS?

To comply with the College's Records Retention Policy:

  • student work will be kept for three years
  • faculty content will be kept for seven years
  • grade records in OAKS will be retained for three years

Current records retention policy (subject to change)

OAKS course content will be kept for seven years and student work will be retained on the OAKS server for three years.  The gradebook record will be retained for three years in the form of a tape backup.  Information on records retention can be found on the Registrar’s web site.

How often is OAKS backed up

OAKS is backed up incrementally every 15 minutes for database information. The file server and database are fully backed up each night, which includes all content and student work. 

As a faculty member do I need to backup my OAKS class myself?

OAKS is backed up on a regular basis so there is no need for you to make regular backups of your OAKS classes yourself.  If you wish to have access to course material for longer than two years you can backup up your class and download it to your hard drive.


  • From within the OAKS course click on Edit Course
  • Click on Import/Export/Copy Components
  • Click on the Export Components and click Next
  • Under Select Components to Export click the top checkbox to select all items
  • Click Next
  • Click Next again
  • Click Done
  • Click Click here to download the export Zip package

A .zip file will download to your computer.  This only backs up the instructor files and tools.  It does not contain any student work or grades.

How long can I access a class?

Faculty can access their OAKS classes for seven years.

How long can students access a class?

Students can access an OAKS class only for the current semester.  They are denied access when the term officially ends.  If a student is given an incomplete and needs access to your OAKS class you need to complete the Request OAKS Access for a Student with an Incomplete form available in OAKS.  This will give the student special access to the OAKS class for 60 days in order that they complete their course work.

I'm an Adjunct.  Will I be able to access OAKS when I'm not actively teaching?

Adjuncts will stay active in Banner from term to term unless they have a known end date. A majority of our adjuncts teach on an ongoing basis, for example they might teach each Fall, so we do not want to close them out in the Spring. Adjuncts should continue to have the Faculty tab in My Charleston even during the semesters in which they do not teach. Adjuncts will have continued access to the same two years of courses that full time faculty have in OAKS and can access those at any time.  If you do not, contact the Helpdesk to have the situation remedied. If an adjunct does not access MyCharleston after 90 days, their account will be disabled. You will need to contact heldpesk to have it re-enabled.

If I don't have a signed contract how can I activate my OAKS classes?

Unfortunately you will not have access to OAKS until your contract is signed and your paperwork is complete.

How does the OAKS email work?

OAKS email functions differently than the email we had within WebCT.  When you email students within OAKS it uses their CofC Email and sends it from your CofC email.  Since there is no internal email client a copy of sent email is not kept  in your Sent mail folder.  It is recommended that you make sure to copy yourself on all emails sent from within OAKS.

If you do not like this method of email you can achieve something similar to the old WebCT email using the Discussion tool.  To communicate with the class create a Topic that is public.  To communicate with students privately, use the group tool to generate a private threaded discussion for each student and communicate that way.  This will keep all communications within OAKS just like it did in WebCT.

I have a student aide/graduate student and I want him/her to help me create my OAKS classes.  Can they do this?

Yes.  You can easily add your assistant to help create content within your OAKS classes by adding them as a Content Assistant.  This role is allowed to create quizzes, discussions and assignments and add content.  This role will appear in the classlist and can be seen and contacted by the other students in the class.  This role CANNOT create any grade items in the gradebook, associate a discussion/quiz/dropbox with a grade, see the gradebook or grade any items within the class.

How to:

  • From inside an OAKS class click on the Classlist
  • Click Add Participants
  • Click Add an Existing User
  • In the search box search for the student/user you wish to add
  • When located click the checkbox next to his/her name
  • From the dropdown menu entitled Select a Role choose Content Assistant
  • If you have multiple sections then choose a section (is applicable)
  • Click Enroll Selected User button in the bottom right corner
  • Your student should now have access to your OAKS course.

Can I add another professor into my OAKS class for collaboration?

Yes.  You can easily add another professor to your OAKS classes.  When adding another user as an Instructor they will have full access to your class including grades.  If you wish them to only participate in discussions and assist with or view content then add them under the Content Assistant role instead of the Instructor role.

How to:

  • From inside an OAKS class click on the Classlist
  • Click Add Participants
  • Click Add an Existing User
  • In the search box search for the professor you wish to add
  • When located click the checkbox next to his/her name
  • From the dropdown menu entitled Select a Role choose either Instructor or Content Assistant
  • If you have multiple sections then choose a section (is applicable)
  • Click Enroll Selected User button in the bottom right corner
  • The user should now have access to your OAKS course.

Can I change or delete a users role in my class?

No.  End users do not have rights to change a user's role within their OAKS class.  You can request the change to be made or the user to be deleted by emailing the Helpdesk (helpdesk@cofc.edu) with the Name and CRN of the class as well as the user's ID.

What user roles are available in OAKS?

The following roles are available in OAKS:

  • Instructional Technologist - The instructional technologist role allows the staff of Teaching, Learning and Technology access to your course for the purposes of assisting with any problems or questions specific to a course.  The Instructional Technologist role has the same rights and privileges as the Instructor role.
  • Instructor - the instructor role has full rights to a specific course.  This role can create items such as quizzes, content, dropboxes, discussions, etc. as well as change the look and feel of the class by altering the homepage.  This role also has full access to all grading areas and can see and grade items.  This role is the only role that can submit grades directly to Banner when the grades integration is complete. Please note that only the primary Instructor of Record can submit grades to banner.
  • Content Assistant - the content assistant role allows a student employee or graduate assistant to help faculty with course creation.  This role can create and modify content, quizzes, dropboxes, etc. but cannot create any grade items that may be associated with these tools.  This role will appear in the classlist and can be contacted by students.  While they have full creation rights in the class this role cannot grade, see student work or see the gradebook to comply with FERPA regulations.
  • Librarian - the librarian role allows an instructor to add a librarian to assist their students with research.  The Librarian role can create widgets and homepages to allow them to add research lib guides.  This role can also participate in the discussion board and is viewable in the classlist meaning students can contact this person via email.  This role cannot see any student work or the gradebook, modify content or create anything other than widgets in the class.

There are few other roles that can be requested using the forms in the OAKS Request widget on the OAKS Homepage:

  • Grading Assistant - The purpose of the Grading Assistant role is to allow student employees to assist the faculty in grading course work.  This role can apply to any student employee who needs to grade student work in OAKS as part of their official job duties.  This role can grade OAKS online quizzes/test, discussion posts and dropbox assignments.  This role cannot create new grade items or attach existing grade items to a quiz or dropbox.  This role also cannot access the Grades area nor can they manually enter grades into the grade book.
  • Student with an Incomplete - This purpose of this role is to allow faculty to request extended access to an OAKS course for those students that have not sufficiently completed course-based assignments (e.g. students given a grade of "Incomplete") Extended access to the course will be granted for a period of sixty days, and will allow students full access to course tools and content so that they can complete assignments. At the end of the sixty day period the student will no longer have access to your OAKS course.
  • Guest Access - The purpose of the Guest role is to allow off-campus guests (NON-CofC people) to access OAKS.  This role can see Content, participate in Discussions, Groups (locker and discussion, but not dropbox), and  Chats.  This role cannot submit to the Dropbox, cannot see Quizzes or Classlist.  This role also cannot access the Grades area nor can they manually enter grades into the grade book.
  • Staff Access - The purpose of the staff role is to grant a staff member access to a class to assist faculty.  Staff users can use communication tools, see course content. No access to grading features, course design features.