Category Archives: LIS Staff Interest


The Canvas Pilot

Our current Learning Management System (LMS), Moodle, was adopted back in 2011. Four years later we are reflecting on whether Moodle is still the best LMS to serve the growing needs of Middlebury. This fall we are doing a pilot to evaluate Canvas and determine whether we want to continue with Moodle or move to Canvas. You can learn more about Canvas and Middlebury’s evaluation by following this site –

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Banner INB, Hyperion EPM 11 Reporting and Degree Works are Down

Tuesday, September 15th
We are currently experiencing a disruption of the site-to-site connection between the Middlebury campuses and the Ellucian data center where our Ellucian Banner, Hyperion Reporting and Degree Works systems are hosted. This disruption began at approximately 12:38pm ET.

The disruption appears to be on the Ellucian side of the network connection. We are currently in contact with the Ellucian Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and they have mobilized their response staff to address this issue.

At this time the following systems are DOWN: Internet Native Banner (INB), Hyperion EPM 11 Reporting and Degree Works.

The Self-Service Banner (SSB) is UP as this connection works across the public internet.

We regret any inconvenience this service interruption is having on your day and will have this issue resolved as soon as possible. I will send out another message once all services are restored.

Web Workgroup Updates – September 14, 2015

We’ll begin with a couple of notices about browser compatibility. First, while we try to support every major browser, a reminder that editing in Drupal with Internet Explorer (including version 11) is not supported at this time due to an issue with the pop-up window used to add images. If you notice any issues viewing the Drupal site in IE 11, or in any of our other systems, please let us know.

Next, many people using Chrome 45 have noticed an issue with the admin menu. Here are instructions on disabling a Chrome feature that is causing the problem. This is anticipated to be resolved in Chrome 47.

New Features

On pages with multiple Google Calendars you can now link to a specific calendar by adding “#1” to the end of the URL, using the number of the calendar in the dropdown list, starting with zero, that you want to select. For example, to get the Helpdesk Hours on the Library Hours page, you can go to since “#0” is Davis Family Library, “#1” is Armstrong Library, “#2” is Special Collections, and “#3” is the Helpdesk.

There is a new version of Monster Menus available. We have not applied this to the live site yet, and likely won’t during September. We want to test to ensure that there aren’t any issues that would impact our live sites, especially the Course Hub during the first weeks of classes. There are some interesting features in this version:

  • Recycle bins have changed substantially, with regard to what happens when a single node is displayed on more than one page:
    • Nodes are removed (or moved to the recycle bin) only from the current page. If recycle bins are being used, there is a new option to remove the node from all pages at once. Emptying a bin containing a node that appears on other pages does not permanently delete the node from pages outside of the bin.
    • When a page is moved to the recycle bin, and a node from it also appears on a page not being deleted, it remains visible on the page outside the bin. If the page is permanently deleted, the node remains intact.
  • Automatically clear specific Drupal anonymous page cache entries whenever a page or node is updated, so that anonymous users don’t see stale content. It can also clear Varnish’s cache, if used, under the same circumstances. This eliminates the 5 minute wait after you update content, in most circumstances.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • We fixed an issue with the “Site Banner” images on department and office sites. By default, the images in raw File Upload nodes link to the image file. For File Uploads placed in Site Banners, we overrode this so that they would link to the department homepage. However, if you entered a custom URL in the File Upload that the banner should go to instead of the department homepage, this did not get consistently applied. Your custom URL values will now override both built-in link URLs.
  • The Category Sticky Posts plugin in WordPress failed to load one of its dependencies, which caused other site features to break. There should no longer be any conflicts when using this plugin.
  • Some of the “Add User” links in the WordPress admin interface took you to the internal WordPress “Add User” page, rather than the custom one we set up to ensure that the user accounts are added from our directory so we can use our Central Authentication Service. any internal WordPress users created this way wouldn’t be able to log in. All of the links now go to the correct form.

Internet Explorer 11 update instructions

Good afternoon,


These instructions are required for Hyperion EPM 11 reporting workspace users.


The block on installing Internet Explorer 11 will be removed in the evening on Friday, September 11th.  The automatic check for updates to Windows runs every morning.


The next time you are prompted to restart your computer, you must follow these instructions.


  1. Please restart your computer.
  2. Once the computer has restarted, manually check for Windows updates by performing the following steps.
  3. Go to Start -> Control Panel. Type Windows Update in the ‘Search Control Panel’ box (located in the upper right hand corner).

  1.  Click Windows Update


  1. On the Windows Update screen, click Check for updates.  Wait for Windows update check to finish.


You will see a page similar to this (the actual number of updates may be different).  Important updates will be selected for you already. The Internet Explorer 11 updates will be important updates.


  1. Click Install Updates.  


  1. Restart your computer if prompted after the installation completes.


  1. Repeat steps 2 through 7 until no more Important Updates are found.  You may need to check for Windows updates multiple times.


Systems Maintenance this Sat & Sun, Sep 12th-13th, 2015

During our regular maintenance window this Sunday, Sep 13th, 2015 from 6 am – 10 am we have the following activities scheduled:

  • We will be upgrading the hardware for our DNS and DHCP servers. While there is always risk involved during systems maintenance, there is no expected service outage as we leverage system redundancy during the upgrade process.

ITS, in collaboration with functional staff from across the college, has tested Internet Explorer 11 against our primary business systems, including, but not limited to, Banner INB, Banner Web, Nolij Web – Document Management System, Hyperion reporting and the college’s main website.

Internet Explorer 11 will be available for installation beginning Saturday, September 12th. Detailed installation instructions will be required for Hyperion reporting workspace users – these instructions will be available Friday, September 11th and sent to all faculty and staff via e-mail.

We appreciate your patience as we continuously strive to keep our systems functioning optimally.

Improved Filtering of SPAM and Phishing Email

ITS has begun enabling new, proactive anti-spam and anti-phishing email filters intended to improve the filtering of unsolicited and unwanted messages, by leveraging external reputation-based lists of email servers that have been flagged for sending spam and/or malicious email.

We’ve had the new filters in “Tag” mode since October 2014, so we’re confident that they are accurate and we’ll be closely monitoring incoming mail queues during the days after the change. Still, there is a possibility that someone trying to sending you email will have their message blocked, if their email servers have been flagged for sending spam and/or malicious email. The sender, in such cases, will receive an email advising them that their message could not be delivered.

If you encounter such as scenario, (i.e. a legitimate sender is trying to email you, but the message is being blocked by Middlebury’s email servers), or you have noticed legitimate messages recently having been incorrectly tagged as [SPAM?], please contact the ITS Help Desk at and we will help you identify and resolve the issue.

General questions about this change may be directed to

Weekly Web Updates – September 7, 2015

New Features

You can now add flashcards to your WordPress site. Enable the “Middlebury Flashcards” plugin on your site and then use this shortcode:

[flashcard front="bonjour" back="hello" width="130" height="130" font_size="20" text_color="#FFFFFF" bg_color="#000000"]

Only the “front” and “back” attributes are required. The values shown in the example will be used for the default values if those attributes are not supplied.

If you are using the “subscribe2″ plugin in WordPress you may have noticed that you get copied several times on the emails that are sent out when you publish a new post. This is because the plugin will use the”FROM” email as the “TO” address when sending to a large “BCC” list of subscribers. You can now change the default “FROM” address to “no-reply@” the current site domain.

If you’ve ever wanted to get an RSS feed of a single node on the Middlebury Drupal site, you can now do that using this address: and replacing the ‘%’ character with the numeric ID of the node.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • When new course sites are created in Moodle via the Course Hub, we now set the start date of the course to the last Monday prior to the start date listed in Banner.
  • The Course Hub now handles any type of parsing error in the updates it gets from various resources and will not stop syncing updates after the first error. Additionally, the Course Hub’s sync process is now given sufficient time to complete.
  • The information shown in Middlebury Drupal profiles from the Online Directory was being cached “permanently” which meant it only got updated after we made a code change. It will now be updated every three hours, in line with our process to sync other user data from the Directory. Note that this means edits to your office hours may not show up right away, but will appear by the end of the day.
  • The “miis_alumni” view in Drupal, which is used on the MIIS website to display lists of stories related to alumni in various programs, can now be displayed with or without a pager element at the bottom of the list. This resolves a minor SEO issue where the view was included on pages with a lot of other content and the pager was creating a series of pages where most of the content was the same, in the eyes of search engine spiders.
  • The site slogan on the MIIS website was updated from “Be the Solution: Areas of Study” to “Professional Graduate Degrees for Global Action”.
  • Middlebury’s Study Abroad programs in the Course Information Database now include “Middlebury” in their program title.
  • When librarians save new versions of the Library Quick Search widget, the old version is now purged from the block, page, variable and theme caches in Drupal.
  • We have removed new visual styles applied to the President of the College site last month.
  • There’s a new version of the header graphic for the ArtsMail newsletter.

Accessibility Fixes

  • The image button for the List Manager subscription form in Drupal now uses the proper “alt” attribute to contain the text for the button, rather than the incorrect “value” attribute.
  • All instances of the “b” and “i” elements in Drupal theme code have been replaced with “strong” and “em”, respectively. In addition, any instances of those elements in user-supplied content will be replaced with “strong” or “em”.
  • If the image rollover for the links in the global Middlebury Drupal footer doesn’t load, the links will be underlined to visually indicate that they are links.
  • The HTML element in all of our Drupal sites will now include the “lang” attribute in addition to the “xml:lang” attribute. The latter is not recognized by all screenreader software.