Pedagogy / Tip: Using Google Calendar in Sakai

This shows how to use a Google Calendar in Sakai instead of the built-in calendar. The primary benefit is that you can get your course calendar on your PDA and desktop – and the students can subscribe to the calendar as well. Code is being worked on in Sakai to produce an ICS feed – but until your site has that Sakai code in production, this is a workaround.

If necessary make a Google account and make a calendar. You should keep course events on a separate calendar – I use a calendar for each course – it allows for easy cleanup when the course is completed.

Make a Google Calendar – set its access to public.

You do not need to make a new Google account SImply add a named calendar to your existing Google account. By “My Calendars” Click Add -> Create New Calendar. Make it public is the easiest way to go.

Then add the events to the new calendar – make sure to uncheck all but the new calendar under My Calendar so the new events go only on the new calendar.

Once you have added the events to the calendar go to the drop-down next to your calendar in My Calendars and select “Calendar Settings”.

In Sakai add a resource for an HTML Page – I name mine Misc/google-calendar.htm – I used Add / Create HTML Page from Resources tool.

Put something like this in the page:

<iframe src="
&ctz=America/New_York" style="border: 0"
width="600" height="600" frameborder="0"
If you want to subscribe to this calendar - here is the iCal link:

Get the two strings from the “Embed this calendar” in Calendar Settings and the ICS URL from the “Calendar Address” section. I control click on the iCal link in Google and Copy URL. Save this file in Resources. After you press the Create button make sure to name the page something like “google-calendar.htm” rather than “New HMTL Page”.

Once the resource is saved, click on it in Resources – this should pop up a new window – grab the URL of this resource. It should look like this:

You should see the calendar and the text below the calendar.

Go into Sakai under Site Info -> Edit Tools and add a Web Content Tool. Set the Title to be Calendar and the URL to be the copied URL of the HTML page you created above. Press Continue and then Finish.

Then go to the new Calendar page and press “Options”. Make the Tool title be “Google Calendar – Scroll Down for Subscription Options” – leave the Page title “Calendar” – this is the button text. Change the frame height to 750 pixels. Press “Update Options”. Remember that students will not see the options button.

Viola! You are done

If you want to have more fun and have a Mac desktop and iPhone follow these additional steps.

In iCal, go to Calendar -> Subscribe – enter the ics URL in the subscription box. Before you save the calendar tell it to auto-refresh every hour (or whatever you like) – just don’t leave it the default of never refresh. If all goes well you should see a new calendar in iCal with its own cute Apple color and a nice little check box to turn it off.

Connect your iPhone – start iTunes – Select the iPhone – go to the Info tab. Scroll down until you find “Sync iCal Calendars” – find the new calendar and tick the check box. Press “Apply” and the new calendar should be synced to your iPod.

Voila! – You have your course calendar in your pocket and so do the Students!