Category Archives: LIS Staff Interest

Course Hub Upgrades, Tuesday (MIIS) and Thursday (Midd)

This week we will be upgrading the Course Hub sites from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 before the beginning of the fall semesters. These upgrades will cause the Course Hub sites to be offline for approximately 2-3 hours while the database and configuration are upgraded.

The planned schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, August 18th from 8am – 11am EDT (5am – 8am PDT) –
  • Thursday, August 20th from 7am – 10am EDT (4am – 7am PDT) –

During these upgrades, direct access to Moodle, WordPress, SANSSpace, or other curricular tools will still work however new course spaces will not be able to be provisioned until the upgrades complete.

Polycom Workshop

I will be offering two workshops on how to use the Polycom videoconferencing system in DFL145.  If you or your group are interested in using Polycom for meetings, or if you’d simply like a refresher, please sign up on the Google Doc here.  The Doc can be edited by anyone at Middlebury with the link.

We will be going over videoconferencing basics, which number to call for meetings, how to send content to the remote participants and more.

The workshops will be on Friday, August 21st at 1:30p and Thursday, August 27th at 11a.  The workshop should only take about 30 minutes maximum.

If you’re not able to attend either of the sessions but interested in learning how to use the system, please e-mail Mack Pauly (


Weekly Web Updates – August 10, 2015


Tweaks and Fixes

  • The WordPress “Agency” theme had an error that prevented it from working when activated on a site which we have resolved.
  • Fixed an error that occurred when Jetpack and the WordPress Video plugin tried to embed a SlideShare presentation.
  • Captions in the pop-out window for images on the Middlebury Drupal site will now be left-aligned and there will be only one close window button.

New Survey Tool: Qualtrics

As of July 2015, Middlebury has adopted Qualtrics as its on-line survey platform for faculty, students and staff.

  • Qualtrics is currently considered the industry-leading provider of online survey software.

  • It is already being used by members of Middlebury as well as in other educational institutions for administrative, academic and research purposes. For example, Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, Hamilton, Pomona, and Wesleyan are among peer institutions that offer site wide access to Qualtrics.

  • It offers powerful features, such as 90 different question types, the ability to add multimedia to surveys and panel management that set it apart from KeySurvey, our current software.

  • Finally, the switch resulted in significant savings for the College.

Our previous survey platform, KeySurvey, will be available until the end of September and users are strongly encouraged to export their surveys and data before September 30th.

To create a Qualtrics account and learn how to transition from KeySurvey to Qualtrics, go to or contact Bill Koulopoulos (

Best Practices for Polycom Meetings


  • When you send the calendar invite for a meeting, include the Polycom number that participants should dial.
  • Each room that has a Polycom unit also has a Virtual Meeting Room assigned to it. If you are having a meeting in a room equipped with a Polycom unit, use the Virtual Meeting Room number assigned to it (you can look it up at go/videoip). For example, if you are meeting in Davis Library 145, the local and remote participants can dial 710145 using Polycom.
  • If you are holding a meeting that does not take place in a room equipped with videoconferencing, use your own Virtual Meeting Room number (you can request a Virtual Meeting Room just for you by creating a Web Help Desk ticket).
  • If you are meeting one on one with someone using Polycom, you can look up the person’s number in the Polycom Contacts and click to call the person from there.
  • If you are not the owner of a VMR and / or not in the room a particular VMR is reserved for, please don’t use it.
  • Have a backup plan!  Sometimes things don’t work as expected.  We’re happy to work with you to resolve the problem, but if you have something like Skype ready, you’ll still be able to have your meeting.
  • You can send content (a PowerPoint, website, etc.) using either the Polycom software or a Polycom unit.  If you’re meeting in a room with a Polycom unit, you should send content to that unit instead of also calling in from your laptop.  For directions on how to send content from the software and to a unit, please see #6 on our FAQ.


Calling Directly: Polycom Alias or IP Address

Other Polycom users can be called directly or call you using either their Polycom alias or IP address.  Using the analogy of a telephone, the alias and the IP are both like a phone number.  Other users can dial that number and you must manually answer to connect the call.  When dialing directly, you are only able to connect to one other party.

  • Each Polycom unit has a unique number which is called an alias.  That number can be found on the home screen of any Polycom unit.
    • For software users, the alias is a four digit number.
    • For Polycom units, the alias is a six digit number, generally in the format of 802XXX with the Xs being the room number.  E.g., DFL 145 is 802145.
  • The IP address is also on the home screen Polycom units and looks like this: 140.233.18.XXX.  There’s no need to give out the IP address rather than the alias — the alias is a shortened version.

Both of these numbers can be found on the home screen of any Polycom unit or in a laminated sleeve in the room where the unit is located.  They can also be found at go/videoip


Virtual Meeting Rooms (VMRs)

Instead of calling another site directly, you could use a virtual meeting room.  Back to the phone analogy, a VMR is like a phone conference room.  Each participant in the call dials the same number.

There are benefits to using a VMR instead of calling directly:

  • Both groups do not need to be ready at the same time.  One group can call in at the beginning of the meeting and the other can call in 5 minutes later if they’re running late.  In this scenario, if calling directly, you’d have to continually call the far side until they answer the call.
  • More than one other party can join the call.  We can allow up to 40 users on our “bridge” at any time.  That could mean one meeting with 40 users or 8 meetings with 5 users each.

Systems Maintenance Sunday, Aug 9th

During our regular maintenance window this Sunday, Aug 9th  from 6 am – 10 am we have the following activities scheduled:


  • The wireless controllers will be updated on the Vermont campus
    • Between 6:00am and 7:30am all wireless access points on campus will be rebooted, resulting in up to 15 minutes of wireless connectivity downtime throughout the Vermont campus, Bread Loaf and the Snowbowl.


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






Billy Sneed

ITS – Central Systems & Network Services

Middlebury College

Online Training Site of Interest

See the Library Journal article “Colorado State Library Expands Online Training Site” for information on technology training materials that may be relevant for the Library and ITS.


“The Colorado State Library (CSL) is continuing to build out its Library Creation & Learning Centers website, a free online resource where libraries throughout the state and beyond can access interactive technology and customer service training modules for staff, Maker space programming ideas, curated links to digital creation software, and more.”

“Using Articulate Storyline authoring tools, Faccioli also created a new series of interactive online training modules that communicate several key concepts from the in-person workshops, including how to conduct a technology reference interview; how to assess staff proficiency with technology; how to create resources to help with common questions; how to use effective one-on-one technology training techniques; how to deal with challenging patron situations in a positive way; how to tailor training techniques to the needs of adults; and how to design technology training classes for groups.”

Includes a Technology Proficiency Checklist for the really basics skills and instructional materials that would be helpful if ITS ever offers a basic computing class for staff.