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: http://www.middlebury.edu/middlebury-node-rss/%/rss.xml 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.

External Apps

Canvas has a library of external services that can be used in a course space. Some of these services are free, faculty and students need only create an account. Others require licensing. The ability to add integration with these services can offer faculty and students flexibility for classroom activity. There are a few services available...

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Faster Helpdesk Ticket Updating

In the past when you responded to an email from the Helpdesk about a specific ticket, someone had to find your ticket, and copy your email into it so the technician assigned to your issue would see the lastest information. As of Wednesday, 09/09/2015, this can be a much faster process. When you reply to an email from the Helpdesk about your ticket, it will automatically be added to your ticket, and the assigned technician will receive notification that there has been an update from you. This method will only work if you reply to an email from the system. If you send an email to the Helpdesk about your ticket that does not have the correct subject line format, the system will create a new ticket, which may delay the resolution of your issue. The emails from the Helpdesk system look like this:

From: Helpdesk [mailto:ticket_update@middlebury.edu]
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 3:29 PM
To: Your Name
Subject: Ticket 499799 Open –> The description of your issue

We hope that you will find this new functionality easy to use, and that the progress of your tickets to resolution will be faster.

Interested in learning more about Banner? Join the Ellucian eCommunities.

Are you interested in learning more about Banner?  Have questions about best practices?  Want to connect with colleagues at other Banner schools to learn how they have addressed challenging problems?  Consider joining the Ellucian eCommunities.

Some of you may remember the older Sun Guard Higher Education ListServ and Banner Commons that used to allow Banner schools and users to communicate, collaborate, and stay connected.  These have largely been replaced and augmented by the new Ellucian eCommunities system which is now integrated with the Ellucian Support Center.

The Ellucian Hub can be used to get to all Ellucian resources.   If you’ve used their “Action Line”, you have a Hub account.  If not, you will need to have an account created.

Main URL to access the Hub:  https://ecommunities.okta.com

To sign up for Hub account:  https://clientapps.ellucian.com/signup

For help if Hub password has been forgotten: https://ellucian.okta.com/reset-password

To access eCommunities directly without going to the Hub: https://ecommunities.ellucian.com

From there, you should see a page with a list of “Getting Started” videos which you can watch to learn about the eCommunities system.

NOTE:   The information from Banner Commons was not able to be moved directly over to eCommunities.  If you had been using Banner Commons, you’ll need to do the “Edit Profile” step in eCommunities like you had previously done in Banner Commons.  Data about your name, e-mail address, title and company name come from the Ellucian Support Center so it’s important for you to have a Hub account there.

You’ll also need to set e-mail preferences and select the “Places” you’d like to follow.  You can click on “All Places” near the top of the page to see all the groups/streams and then click on the “gear” icon to the right of those you’re interested in to “Follow”.  If you “Follow in Daily Digest”, you will get an e-mail message with links to each posting once each morning.

If you have problems with this, please e-mail ecommunities@ellucian.com.

Courses Have Been Created

38 course spaces have been created in Canvas. Faculty have been given access to their spaces, and students have been added. We have 25 Undergraduate College courses, 9 Institute of International Studies at Monterey courses, 2 Schools Abroad Chile courses, and 2 Institute of Hebrew Studies courses. 7 are language courses. There are 4 Political...

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Getting Help with Canvas

Instructure provides direct support for faculty and students. You can contact Instructure for help with Canvas in the following ways: Tier I Support for faculty and students 24/7/365 Call: ­ 844-­747­-2605 Email: support@instructure.com There is also a Quick Start Student Guide at h​ttp://guides.instructure.com/m/8470 and general Canvas Guides at­ h​ttp://guides.instructure.com/​ All of these resources are accessible from...

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