Author Archives: Matthew La France

Using GO (2013)

What is GO?

GO is an aliasing and redirection application. Don’t let the jargon intimidate you, just think of it as a way to make and use shortcuts to College resources. If you’d like to visit a GO shortcut when you’re connected by VPN or on campus, simply type it into your address bar in your web browser. For instance type “go/lisblog” and hit “enter” to get to the LIS blog. If you’d like to see a list of shortcuts that are currently available type “go” and hit “enter” to visit the “Gotionary”. Go is also available as a text box at m.middlebury.edu for mobile devices, or as an optional panel on your portal page.

go

Tip: When off campus add “go.middlebury.edu” to any GO shortcut in lieu of “go”.

Browser Quirks

If you’re using Chrome or Safari you may find a search is triggered instead of a redirect. There are multiple ways to circumvent the integrated search feature when using GO.

Safari

  • Add a slash at the end of your GO link. Example: go/lisblog/
  • Alternatively, put “http://” in front of your GO request. Example: http://go/lisblog
  • If you prefer to select from options, look for the “Go to Site” option in the drop-down that appears below the address bar.

Screen-Shot-2013-09-20-at-11.07.28-AM

Chrome

Chrome will permanently disable the search behavior for any request starting with “go/” if you follow these steps:

  • Type a code in and hit “enter”. A search results page will appear.
  • Below the address bar it should say “Did you mean to go to http://go/…” Click on that to follow the link to the go/shortcut. After that Chrome should automatically resolve any go shortcuts.

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GO Shortcuts as Permalinks

You can use a GO shortcut as a link URL for any page internal to middlebury.edu. Example: <a href='http://go.middlebury.edu/lisblog'>LIS Blog</a>. You’ll want to use a GO shortcut rather than a direct link for any resources you are linking to that could change location. As long as the shortcut admin updates the shortcut when a content location changes you won’t need to update any of your links.

Tip: Don’t forget to use the full url “go.middlebury.edu” so that users from off-campus will be able to use the link.

GO eased the launch of the new site by allowing links in content to be easily updated en-mass. GO has also become central to our search strategy as GO shortcuts are provided as suggestions and automatic-redirects when you enter search terms on the main site.

For additional information see: http://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/GO

Kurogo Higher Ed User Conference

I recently attended Modo Labs’ Kurogo Higher Ed User Conference hosted at UMASS Amherst where I was able to meet and speak with Modo Labs staff as well as Kurogo users from other institutions. Kurogo powers our mobile web presence and desktop portal.

2013-04-02 15.50.00

Modo Labs’ current offerings, Mobile Campus, and Kurogo, are being renamed as follows:

Mobile Campus -> Kurogo Campus Professional
Kurogo -> Kurogo Campus Community
and -> Kurogo Core

The latest version of Kurogo Campus Community, 1.8, was announced and released during the conference. The 1.8 version includes a number of new enhancements already present in Kurogo Campus Professional. Highlights include a desktop interface similar to our desktop portal view, as well as a lot of behind the scenes enhancements like better theming and config handling.

Modo Labs laid out a road map of Kurogo including the following information:

- Community Edition 1.8 out today!
- 1.9 (mostly updates for the Campus Professional version) 2013 late Q2
– Improved admin panel/self admin
– New templates
- 2.0 Q3 2013 for both Community and Professional versions.
– Revamped frontend based on UX widgets
– Data Retrieval via JSON, RSS, SOAP, which is attached to the widget, which is then attached to the module.
– JQuery bundled in project.
– Able to include an individual screen/page as a native app.

I attended the developer track session in the afternoon where we went over the creation of a custom module, in this case, to pull questions from Stack Overflow. The custom module included the creation of 4 main classes: Module, Model, Retriever, and Parser. This session helped me to better understand the current module structure.

I look forward to continuing to support our instances of Kurogo as the platform grows and develops.

New Portal and Mobile Site Features!

Some new features have been added to the desktop Portal and mobile site.

- Accordion style dining menu. Based on user feedback we’ve made it easy to see the menu information all at once and to compare venues from a panel on the desktop Portal. Depending on the time of day, it defaults to expand a different meal category by default.

- Post module. This module presents avenues to post information to feeds that the Portal consumes. You are encouraged to contribute to these platforms with relevant content which will be featured in the Portal.

- GO module. This module is intended for mobile. It provides a text box for entering GO shortcuts so you are able to take advantage of GO shortcut redirection more easily on your mobile device.

Please visit: http://portal.middlebury.edu/ or http://m.middlebury.edu/ to use these features.

Many thanks to those who have provided feedback via the feedback form and those who have provided support and guidance in the development of modules for the Portal.

New GO Feature, Add or Remove Admins from Multiple Shortcuts

A little feature has been added to GO today, the ability to add or remove an admin from multiple GO shortcuts.

You’ll find this feature under the “View/Edit” tab of the self-service admin interface. There is now a field for entering a single admin username. The user will be added or removed as an admin of any codes you check before hitting the corresponding submit button. A handy “check all” box allows you to make an addition for all shortcuts that you are an admin of.

You are not able to remove yourself as admin from a shortcut if you are the only admin via this feature. Instead you are prompted to add another user as an admin to discourage the orphaning of GO shortcuts.

I hope this feature makes the administration of your GO shortcuts easier and more enjoyable!

New Media Consortium Summer Conference


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

I attended the 2012 New Media Consortium’s summer conference located in Boston at the MIT campus for the first time, accompanied by Joe Antonioli. It was an invigorating several days of talks around new technology and education. I want to introduce you to some of the great speakers and ideas that I encountered. The embedded videos are short but get to the core of many of these ideas. Please take at least a few minutes to scan them and watch further if you find them interesting.

I began the conference with an entire morning session with Dr. Jeff Borden of Pearson called “Personalization : How Far Can (Should) We Go?” He advocates encouraging creativity, giving students safe places to fail but holding them to mastery. He cautions that too much personalization can be a bad thing, when “filter bubbles” over-personalize our experience, but data can provide invaluable feedback to both educators and students. He covers a lot of the same material in the following short video from a different conference. It’s worth watching.

This video, clips of which were shown during Kaltura’s presentation “Enhance Your Online Learning Environment with Video”, highlights the profoundly transformative effect that technologies as simple as YouTube can have. Just the first 7.5 minutes of this video will get this point across:

Several of the talks I attended were about game based learning and gamification as powerful tools for engagement and active learning.

In “Just Press Play: A Unified Game Layer for Education” Andrew Phelps (Rochester Institute of Technology) introduces “Just Press Play” an achievement/badge based system which provides a scale of accomplishment for students to engage in a range of activities and track what they have experienced.

Brett Bixler’s 20+ ways to Add Game-like Elements to Your Learning Designs

During “Which? The Academic Technology Card Game” David Thomas put forth the simple idea “Time is valuable. Entertainment values your time.” We played a card game that “inadvertently” got us talking about academic technology. It sparked inquisition and discussion and it really was fun. The following video is his short TEDx talk “What Makes a Place Fun?”

Helen Keegan urges us to take risks to get people curious. She used a “pedagogy of deception” when creating a fictional person whom the class followed via social networks.

My takeaway was that there really are opportunities to do things in new ways now, genuinely new ways that don’t simply transplant old practices into new technology, that are worth exploring. The message seems to be, take risks, encourage creativity, and get students engaged in learning by leveraging the new social, mobile, visual, storytelling, and gaming technologies.

More to engage with:

New Media Consortium Summer Conference presentations playlist Includes Joichi Ito’s opening keynote.

Tweets (Some top tweets from our own Joe Antonioli!) (click the all link for the full list)

iTunesU contains many of the talks

New Portal Customizable Links and Feeds

We’ve just finished adding some new features to the portal and mobile site. You can now add to, and remove links from the links module. In addition, there is a new module “My Feeds” which will generate an aggregate (combined) feed of any feeds that are added to the module. Details are available in the documentation that is available on the wiki.

Usability Surveys on LIS Web Pages

The LIS web team is at it again! In a effort to improve the user experience on the LIS website we are conducting usability testing. For a few weeks you’ll find obtrusive mint green boxes in the corners of the Library, Helpdesk, and LIS pages. These are very short usability surveys. Simply click on “Give Feedback” and then answer each question by clicking the location you’d go to find various pieces of information on each page. Each survey contains only a handful of questions so please participate when you have a moment.

Weekly Web Development Round-up November 4, 2011

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.
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