Category Archives: Middlebury Community Interest

Notes: March 14, 2017

1. WordPress review

Recap recent history of review prep. MIIS has its own instance of WordPress separate from Midd. College. WordPress has grown quite a bit — 1000s of websites in our instance. WordPress has been difficult to keep up-to-date at times in the past; is WordPress sustainable going forward, or should we be looking at other ways to keep it functional? We’ve had the idea that MiddCreate should be part of the solution. MIIS has not been invited into subsequent meetings, but Bob has seen the charter. One thing they’ll be discussing will be creating one instance including MIIS, will MiddCreate be part of that environment? Last time we were talking about WordPress, a lot of time has been spent on supporting WordPress. Is there a way to re-think WordPress/MiddCreate as a blogging/website creation environment?

Some schools have taken the use of WordPress and separated it by use: individual and academic instances. Some have departmental WordPress sites to support projects, and there are some boutique sites with custom programming/theme. These have separate needs, can we separate them out?

It becomes a different conversation if we’re all going to be brought under the same instance. You could bundle functions/use cases in MiddCreate as well. Communications may want to rein in some of these admin uses.

If we’re paying attention to what other schools are doing, why are we not paying attention to how other schools are using domain of one’s own? Not just for personal use, it’s more nimble than that.

In past conversations, we didn’t have domain of one’s own, so it may become part of the conversation going forward.

ITS has not touched MiddCreate; they helped with authentication, security review and contract negotiations, but they haven’t been involved since then, don’t know how they’re supporting it, if they are at all.

2. Canvas Assessment

This was brought up by FLAC (Faculty Library Advisory Committee), they want to know what’s being done with assessing Canvas, looking at differences with Moodle, etc. Looking at any difference to help desk, tickets to Instructure, etc. Two most common questions have to do with assignments (unpublished); and enrollment, which has more to do with Add/Drop process than with Canvas itself. Other than that, not sure what else to assess Canvas on at this point. For undergrad Canvas is supplemental only, so uses of Canvas are varied; without standards, we don’t have anything to assess Canvas on other than tickets and increase in adoption. Canvas is being adopted at a faster rate than Moodle across Fall and Spring terms. It might also be a little early to ask the question. Feedback has been positive, acknowledging that some adjustments have been necessary. Instructure has also been undergoing some changes as they grow as a company.

3. Hypothes.is

Jeremy is going to be on campus in a couple of weeks for a possible workshop.

4. Future meeting agenda items

Joe will put a call out on Slack for future meeting agenda items.

Notes: Moodle Archving

Guest – Billy Sneed

  • We’re transitioning away from Moodle, but we’re still somewhat reliant on it, even though we’ve migrated to Canvas.
    • We can’t totally turn Moodle off. Need to think thoughtfully about what we still need access to in Moodle and for how long?
    • How do we keep from disrupting policy and practices?
  • Project request was submitted (Billy S. here to speak more to that)
  • What do we still rely on Moodle for?
    • Faculty need to offer course content evidence up to 7 years back, specifically class activity online. They are being evaluated on how they interact with students online and what students get out of the course.
    • No one in the public needs to see any Moodle content, students shouldn’t need access either.
    • Content backups (MIIS). Not student data, just faculty content.
    • We’re still in transition, migration of course sites is not complete. Faculty need to have access to all their Moodle content so they can migrate it over in the future if they need it
    • Tenure review process
    • User access management: tenure review committee and faculty would need access
    • MIIS doesn’t have tenure review, we have contract review.
    • Relatively small group of faculty get reviewed for tenure at Midd.
    • Could we use some sort of non-public archival tool?
  • There are challenges in moving content from Moodle to Canvas.
    • Process strips out user data.
    • We may not be able to do this with future versions of Moodle, either. So even if we maintain a Moodle instance, that may not solve the problem.
  • Why did we decide to have Moodle be a hosted service?
    • We have the resources for this, $ or otherwise
    • What’s the cost benefit analysis of a hosted instance or an internally maintained instance?
    • It was a political decision – maintaining an instance of Moodle for archival purposes would also be a political decision
  • We can’t just export it and keep the data because we need to be able to see how the interaction with students played out
  • Another solution: desktop virtualization system
    • Adjust authentication settings
    • One administrator account
    • If anyone needs to review anything, they can pull up the Moodle instance ONLY via that local computer
    • If there is only one machine and it’s physically located on the College campus, this wouldn’t serve Monterey
  • We need to comply with the policy and keep Moodle pages with student data available for 2 years, the need changes for years 3-7
    • December 2018 is when we’ve told the community Moodle archives will no longer be accessible
    • Beyond that point, Moodle instance does not need to be accessible to more than 2 or 3 people (Joe, Bob, Amy S). Then we can just add people when they need access for review process.
  • We like the idea of a phased approach. One plan for years 1-2 and then emergency/auxiliary access beyond that
    • Not sure, but it will be difficult at best to maintain a piece of software like this on a virtual machine for this extended amount of time
    • Could AWS host this and handle the patches? Is there a way to fire things up in a hosted environment as needed?
  • Moodle is a PHP application
    • That’s a lot of data…
    • This is why promoting services like Panopto/Google Apps is going to be super important going forward
    • Not an obvious win, but could be doable
    • Reticent to commit to 7 years, chances are it’s going to break. The more time, the greater the fragility
    • Can it be kept up to date for 2 years? 7 years? It’s going to break, then what happens?
    • From the web applications side of things, it would be yet another application to maintain, but after initial setup, it won’t need much network. While it’s live, we’ll need to monitor for Moodle security issues that come up and apply patches in a timely manner. Not hard, more of the same, low usage. Probably easier to maintain than most of our other services. Would be a couple days work to get a new VM set up. Then monitoring the mailing list and setting up security patches.
    • How much data are we talking about, storage wise? 590GB
    • Annual maintenance as of 2015 for 1 TB was $1800 – just for storage (licensing, support, maintenance) doesn’t include staff time or other support pieces
  • Immediate needs…
    • We need to make sure we are covered for when the “no” gets vetoed.
    • How can we treat this as an education opportunity? Can we direct faculty make screencaptures of their courses? No administrator actually wants to go digging around in a Moodle page
    • Anyone can install their own Moodle instance on Middcreate
    • Faculty need to be more accountable for their data, but they have an expectation that everything will be available.
    • There needs to be some shift of ownership to faculty who will need this information, but it’s going to be a slow shift. Policy says the data will be accessible for two years, not beyond that.
  • Technology changes – we have no guarantee of what’s going to happen/Canvas’ longevity
  • How do we change the culture? Use these two years (until Dec 2018) to work with faculty to move their Moodle data where they need it to go
    • About 35-50 faculty at Midd
    • To change the culture, we have to constantly keep to policy
    • Ties into the growing need for education around how people interact with and take ownership of their data (digital literacies)
    • A lot of the time, we don’t take threats seriously until we have to
    • Set clear expectations and timeline
    • Communicate with list of relevant faculty
    • We would need to look at faculty over the past 5 years who are going through the tenure process
  • Would still advocate for paying remote learner to host the service through Dec 2018
  • Service availability is what makes things complicated – just downloading and storing static data would not be a problem.
    • Maybe that’s what we do after 2 years? We’ll export and keep the data, but faculty won’t be able to interact with it via a live service
    • In those 2 years, there needs to be good and repetitive communication with faculty about what they might to do to maintain access to the course interaction beyond those 2 years (Moodle hosted on Middcreate, screencapture of course pages, etc)
  • Time frame for moving content out of remote learner to wherever it will go?
    • Our RL contract is up in August – we’d need to have the new location up and ready to go in August – that’s our deadline
    • How long does web team need to make this happen?
      • Theoretically, it would take 1 person 1 week to get things up and running. But, web team is going to be short-staffed and has a substantive project pipeline. Other projects and staffing could make things take much longer.
    • Push for us to reach a decision by April 1 – this is not a joke (Joe)
    • Joe commits to getting the numbers to the group by the end of this week or next week. Joe will work with Billy on the numbers.

 

Notes: Moodle Archving

Guest – Billy Sneed

  • We’re transitioning away from Moodle, but we’re still somewhat reliant on it, even though we’ve migrated to Canvas.
    • We can’t totally turn Moodle off. Need to think thoughtfully about what we still need access to in Moodle and for how long?
    • How do we keep from disrupting policy and practices?
  • Project request was submitted (Billy S. here to speak more to that)
  • What do we still rely on Moodle for?
    • Faculty need to offer course content evidence up to 7 years back, specifically class activity online. They are being evaluated on how they interact with students online and what students get out of the course.
    • No one in the public needs to see any Moodle content, students shouldn’t need access either.
    • Content backups (MIIS). Not student data, just faculty content.
    • We’re still in transition, migration of course sites is not complete. Faculty need to have access to all their Moodle content so they can migrate it over in the future if they need it
    • Tenure review process
    • User access management: tenure review committee and faculty would need access
    • MIIS doesn’t have tenure review, we have contract review.
    • Relatively small group of faculty get reviewed for tenure at Midd.
    • Could we use some sort of non-public archival tool?
  • There are challenges in moving content from Moodle to Canvas.
    • Process strips out user data.
    • We may not be able to do this with future versions of Moodle, either. So even if we maintain a Moodle instance, that may not solve the problem.
  • Why did we decide to have Moodle be a hosted service?
    • We have the resources for this, $ or otherwise
    • What’s the cost benefit analysis of a hosted instance or an internally maintained instance?
    • It was a political decision – maintaining an instance of Moodle for archival purposes would also be a political decision
  • We can’t just export it and keep the data because we need to be able to see how the interaction with students played out
  • Another solution: desktop virtualization system
    • Adjust authentication settings
    • One administrator account
    • If anyone needs to review anything, they can pull up the Moodle instance ONLY via that local computer
    • If there is only one machine and it’s physically located on the College campus, this wouldn’t serve Monterey
  • We need to comply with the policy and keep Moodle pages with student data available for 2 years, the need changes for years 3-7
    • December 2018 is when we’ve told the community Moodle archives will no longer be accessible
    • Beyond that point, Moodle instance does not need to be accessible to more than 2 or 3 people (Joe, Bob, Amy S). Then we can just add people when they need access for review process.
  • We like the idea of a phased approach. One plan for years 1-2 and then emergency/auxiliary access beyond that
    • Not sure, but it will be difficult at best to maintain a piece of software like this on a virtual machine for this extended amount of time
    • Could AWS host this and handle the patches? Is there a way to fire things up in a hosted environment as needed?
  • Moodle is a PHP application
    • That’s a lot of data…
    • This is why promoting services like Panopto/Google Apps is going to be super important going forward
    • Not an obvious win, but could be doable
    • Reticent to commit to 7 years, chances are it’s going to break. The more time, the greater the fragility
    • Can it be kept up to date for 2 years? 7 years? It’s going to break, then what happens?
    • From the web applications side of things, it would be yet another application to maintain, but after initial setup, it won’t need much network. While it’s live, we’ll need to monitor for Moodle security issues that come up and apply patches in a timely manner. Not hard, more of the same, low usage. Probably easier to maintain than most of our other services. Would be a couple days work to get a new VM set up. Then monitoring the mailing list and setting up security patches.
    • How much data are we talking about, storage wise? 590GB
    • Annual maintenance as of 2015 for 1 TB was $1800 – just for storage (licensing, support, maintenance) doesn’t include staff time or other support pieces
  • Immediate needs…
    • We need to make sure we are covered for when the “no” gets vetoed.
    • How can we treat this as an education opportunity? Can we direct faculty make screencaptures of their courses? No administrator actually wants to go digging around in a Moodle page
    • Anyone can install their own Moodle instance on Middcreate
    • Faculty need to be more accountable for their data, but they have an expectation that everything will be available.
    • There needs to be some shift of ownership to faculty who will need this information, but it’s going to be a slow shift. Policy says the data will be accessible for two years, not beyond that.
  • Technology changes – we have no guarantee of what’s going to happen/Canvas’ longevity
  • How do we change the culture? Use these two years (until Dec 2018) to work with faculty to move their Moodle data where they need it to go
    • About 35-50 faculty at Midd
    • To change the culture, we have to constantly keep to policy
    • Ties into the growing need for education around how people interact with and take ownership of their data (digital literacies)
    • A lot of the time, we don’t take threats seriously until we have to
    • Set clear expectations and timeline
    • Communicate with list of relevant faculty
    • We would need to look at faculty over the past 5 years who are going through the tenure process
  • Would still advocate for paying remote learner to host the service through Dec 2018
  • Service availability is what makes things complicated – just downloading and storing static data would not be a problem.
    • Maybe that’s what we do after 2 years? We’ll export and keep the data, but faculty won’t be able to interact with it via a live service
    • In those 2 years, there needs to be good and repetitive communication with faculty about what they might to do to maintain access to the course interaction beyond those 2 years (Moodle hosted on Middcreate, screencapture of course pages, etc)
  • Time frame for moving content out of remote learner to wherever it will go?
    • Our RL contract is up in August – we’d need to have the new location up and ready to go in August – that’s our deadline
    • How long does web team need to make this happen?
      • Theoretically, it would take 1 person 1 week to get things up and running. But, web team is going to be short-staffed and has a substantive project pipeline. Other projects and staffing could make things take much longer.
    • Push for us to reach a decision by April 1 – this is not a joke (Joe)
    • Joe commits to getting the numbers to the group by the end of this week or next week. Joe will work with Billy on the numbers.

 

Notes for Core Team Meeting: Hypothes.is

February 28, 2017

Guests: Jeremy Dean and Nate Angell

The ACTT Core Team met with Jeremy (Director of Education) and Nate (Director of Marketing) from Hypothes.is ( https://hypothes.is ). This followed A two-week “facilitated online experience” using Hypothes.is was led by Sean and Jeremy from late January to early February, and Joe, Sean, and Jeremy had a previous conversation about Middlebury adopting Hypothes.is.

What is Hypothes.is?

  • All-purpose annotation tool.
  • Can be used for fact-checking.
  • Non-profit, open model.
  • Brings back the idea of an annotated web, dropped in early Mozilla projects.
  • Text is highlighted and links to annotations, which can be text, urls, audio, and video.
  • Uses the W3C adopted standards for online annotation.
  • Groups can be created to filter annotations. Ex. MiddAnnotate
  • Can be used as a commenting feature in a document.
  • Adding annotations requires an account.
  • Can be installed as a Chrome browser plugin.

Plugins and Integrations

  • There is a plugin for WordPress
    • Creates an experience similar to CommentPress
    • Is not theme dependent.
  • Canvas plugin
    • Can be used within Canvas, inline with pdfs.
    • Can be an assignment submission type
      • Can be assessed in the SpeedGrader.
  • Plugins are not browser-dependent.
  • Can be self-hosted, not recommended.

Challenges and Questions

  • What happens when content changes?
    • Answer released next week.
    • All annotations are saved.
    • If content changes, annotations will appear in an “orphans” tab.
    • Annotations can be loaded using Internet Archive.
      • Robot.txt files can block archiving.
  • Diigo is similar, can you import content?
    • If it uses the W3C standards
    • Annotations can be exported.
    • Currently, import and export for Hypothesis are supported via API. John Udell has an export utility that uses API: https://jonudell.info/h/facet.html
  • Browser limitations.
  • Content behind a pay-wall has limitations.
  • Some answers are available in the FAQ ( https://hypothes.is/faq/ ).

Middlebury and Hypothes.is

  • Some faculty and programs are using Hypothes.is.
    • Accounts are not tied to Middlebury authentication.
  • Course use vs. Institutional adoption
    • Agreement is currently between the faculty and student for course use.
    • Institutional adoption would involve:
      • Integrating with existing systems (Canvas, WordPress, etc.).
      • Using Middlebury authentication credentials
      • Require adherence to security and data standards.

 

Next Steps

  • Jeremy will share Education Offering documentation with team (DONE).
  • Joe will share Data Classification Policy with Jeremy (DONE).
  • Team will have a follow up meeting to discuss.
  • Jeremy will keep the Team informed on Hypothes.is development.

Many accounts require password reset due to recent phishing attack

Almost 100 people fell victim to a “phishing” email purporting to announce an “Important Meeting”. In order to protect the rest of the Middlebury account holders, the accounts which were compromised were disabled, and will need a password reset. If you have trouble logging in to your Middlebury account, it is likely that you are one of the victims of this attack. Please visit go.middlebury.edu/activate and reset your network password. This is an important warning to all that we should be extremely cautious about clicking on a link in an email. Although these phishing emails are well disguised, there are clues that they are not valid, so please think twice before clicking on any link in an email. More helpful hints on how to protect yourself can be found here:
http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/technology/infosec/education

Vermont Online Library now available to anyone in Vermont

The Vermont Department of Libraries now provides access to the Vermont Online Library (VOL) to anyone accessing the internet from an IP address located in Vermont.

The VOL includes resources for school-age children, career explorers, automobile repair and maintenance from and much more from the Gale-Cengage family of resources. The Department of Libraries has taken on this expense so that public and academic libraries throughout the state can provide rich online resources to all of their patrons.

(Note that anyone traveling outside of Vermont who is not associated with an academic institution needs to arrange access to these resources, if possible, with their public library. These resources are incorporated into Middlebury’s library holdings; Middlebury students, faculty, and staff can access these from outside of Vermont by authentication through a link on a library website such as a search in Summon or through the library homepage.)

Voice Mail Messages not Accessible to Unified Messaging Users

Since sometime Monday, January 30, we believe no new voice mail messages have been received by the 250 unified messaging users in our system.  Messages may have been left, but the users cannot access via either email or phone, nor is there any notification.  Our vendor is working on the issue.  In the mean time, to be assured you receive a phone message, you can open a ticket with the Help Desk to request your voice mailbox be converted back to a standard voice mailbox until the problem is resolved.

ProQuest downtime this weekend

Virtually all ProQuest resources will be unavailable from 10 pm Saturday, January 28th until 6 am Sunday January 29th (Eastern time zone). Some of the Middlebury resources that will be impacted are listed below. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  • ProQuest platform (search.proquest.com) (includes many full-text journals and newspapers)
  • ProQuest Congressional (congressional.proquest.com)
  • Chadwyck-Healey US databases (includes Early English Books Online)
  • eLibro (Spanish language e-books)
  • ProQuest Digital Microfilm
  • Ancestry
  • RefWorks
  • Books In Print
  • Book-cover illustrations in Summon and Midcat listings