ACTT Notes

News & Updates

Joe is still working with Panopto on testing updated integrations before activating. Faculty are seeing errors when they preview a quiz in Panopto.


  1. Discussion: ITS Governance

The portfolio meeting last week provided a more formal review and discussion of the ITS governance process that ACTT has been introduced to in prior meetings. The team is hopeful that the process will improve prioritization of academic and digital learning projects relative to the other portfolio groups.

Questions remain about the relationship between the ACTT and the ATDL portfolio group. ACTT in its current configuration may well serve to help academic projects ‘bubble up’ to the next level for improved visibility and prioritization. ACTT’s work can help inform the governance process through evaluations, pilots, and recommendations. The portfolio group is a place where such activities can be shared to help inform decisions about projects.

The governance process will require some adjustment to technical processes and perhaps some additional communication and education of stakeholders to help non-IT community members engage.

Some questions arose in reflecting on the first meeting:

  • How might we better engage all members of the portfolio team in discussions of academic tech and digital learning beyond technical considerations?
  • How might we work to develop shared language to talk about academic projects and needs?

Additional questions considered:

  • First question: Do we all need to be there?
  • What representation do we want/need?

No immediate decision or changes agreed on regarding current membership or attendance at ITS gov monthly meetings. Expected organizational directions and may result in revisions to current portfolio group membership in governance process. This topic will be revisited.


  1. Discussion / Action: Canvas Orientation sites for students to be added to Course Hub as a resource

We briefly reviewed a couple of resources with a student audience:

Sean’s site –

Bob’s site –

Canvas orientation site for students project will need to continue to be improved and revised. Agreed on a desire to update a single resource for all Middlebury students and faculty. Monterey integrated the student quickguide for students at the course-level menu in the Institute’s sub-account for all courses. Based on schools abroad and Institute sites, different strategies for presenting Canvas orientations were discussed.

What do we want these sites to do for students? What needs to be there?

Sean is interested in getting some additional feedback from students (ODL and DLC interns) to determine how we to proceed. Expects to work with Amy S. on ways to collaborate, collect feedback, and improve the orientation experience for first-time Canvas users.

Action Plan:

  • Joe will add a link to the Student Canvas Orientation (Sean’s version) in the Primary Canvas HELP menu
  • Adam will add the Orientation site to Course Hub (College and Monterey) as a “shared Canvas resource”
  • Sean will follow-up with Amy Slay regarding input from students and revision of the orientation site for an all-Middlebury student audience
  • ACTT will plan to track usage of the orientation site through AY17-18 via Hub and Canvas analytics before making further recommendations


  1. Added Discussion: Course Hub Refactoring & Integration

Bob raised the issue of integrating College and Institute Course Hub sites. Adam provided an update on the status of the Course Hub Drupal 8 and Refactoring project which had previously been cancelled. Bob agreed to be a co-sponsor on the project to help advocate for continued integration of currently separate platforms (e.g. sites dot WordPress at Midd and MIIS) link to project:

Weekly Web Updates – September 25, 2017

We’ve added support for embedding Theta360 panoramic images in Drupal and the L&ITS MediaWiki site. The shortcode for Drupal is available in our documentation.


Fixes and Tweaks

  • We’ve applied a back-end performance tweak to the script that syncs users and groups between the directory and Drupal sites, dropping the time it takes for this task to run from a couple hours to about twenty seconds. Course Hub syncs still take a few hours since they need to fetch updates from third party course sites.

Ongoing Work

  • Creating a new website for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
  • Creating a new automatically generated course catalog.
  • Building out the configuration of our CAS servers in Chef, which is a configuration management system. We have already completed this work for our Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, GO, Omeka, and the Course Catalog services.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.

Innovation Hub ‘Projects for Peace’ Info Sessions: Oct. 3rd, 9th & 18th @ 4:30PM

The Innovation Hub invites you to participate in the Projects for Peace program. They will be hosting three informal information sessions October 3rd, October 9th, and October 18th at 4:30 in their conference room, located at 118 South Main Street. Innovation Hub staff will discuss previous funded projects and answer any questions interested students may have. Applications are due Friday, December 1st, 2017 to If you have questions before then, please email Lucy Scott.

Now in its eleventh year, this program honors Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an international philanthropist who was interested in finding new ways to advance world peace. The Projects for Peace program is an invitation to undergraduates at the American colleges and universities in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer of 2018. The project judged to be the most promising and feasible will be funded at $10,000.

Undergraduate students at more than 90 college campuses across the United States, including those of you who will graduate this academic year, are eligible to design and submit proposals that address the goal of improving the prospects for peace in the 21st century. The top submissions from the participating campuses, including at least one from Middlebury, will receive funding of $10,000 with which to initiate projects anywhere in the world during the summer of 2018.

Upon the occasion of her 100th birthday, Kathryn W. Davis chose to celebrate by committing $1 million to Projects for Peace. The Projects for Peace continue to support and encourage today’s motivated youth to create and test their own ideas for building peace. We continue to mourn the passing of Mrs. Davis in 2013, but celebrate her extraordinary legacy and appreciate that her family has committed to the program for another year.

This is an initiative for all undergraduates, and not those solely interested in politics, the social sciences, or international studies. None of you should feel there are disciplinary boundaries that prevent you from finding ways to tie your skills and talents into a good proposal related to world peace. Even if you never thought about the prospects for world peace to pursue this initiative, it is this very unique creativity that Middlebury seeks to identify and support in implementing this program as you reflect on ways to link your individual strengths to the challenges of world peace.

A successful proposal for Middlebury students will require you to consider and articulate the following in your proposals: 1) What differentiates you from others who may be applying for this grant in terms of your skills and talents?; 2) How will you translate those skills and talents into a project related to world peace?; and 3) How will you draw on the expertise of faculty, staff, and your fellow students here at Middlebury, as well as on networks of relevant people off-campus, including alumni, to develop a project that is both practical and can be implemented within the budget of $10,000?

For more information about applying, including the proposal guidelines, click here.

For answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

Onward Israel Internships – funding available

CCI Funding for Onward Israel Internships – Summer 2018

Thanks to a generous donor, CCI is offering funding to three students who have already had exposure to Israel and want to return for a summer to participate in a six to ten week internship through Onward Israel.  Students interested in this opportunity must apply directly to Onward Israel, be accepted, and then contact Cheryl Whitney Lower at CCI.  Awards of $1500 to help cover program fees and airfare will be given on a first come, first-served basis.

Onward Israel’s purpose is to increase exponentially the number of Birthright and teen programs alumni who return to Israel for a transformative identity-building second visit, eventually reaching a stage where half of all first time visitors partake in a longer more immersive second experience. The intended long-term outcome is a long-lasting connection with Israel and a strong commitment to Jewish life and community at the heart of the next generations.

Onward Israel will offer students and young adults mid-length Israel experiences (6-10 weeks), primarily during the summer, speaking directly to the interests and concerns of the young adult population entering the labor force in a global world. Programs will be structured around resume-building opportunities such as internships, service learning, and academic courses. Further, Onward Israel will maximize opportunities for cross-cultural immersion, a feature that is highly prized by employers and academic institutions. Onward Israel will leverage investments in first-time Israel experiences by generating a solid cohort of motivated and engaged alumni, who will return home more likely to make Jewish choices, with greater readiness to be involved in invigorating Jewish communities and organizations.

Onward Israel’s Goals

To create a compelling, accessible and affordable program framework that will greatly increase the percentage of young adults having a second and more meaningful experience in Israel.

To capitalize on Israel’s competitive advantages (start-up nation, technology, global interactions, cultural immersion, Jewish social capital) to provide high-quality experiences that will increase Israel’s market share for young people searching to advance themselves personally and professionally.

To provide a significant immersive experience in Israel for Jewish young adults allowing for the
deepening of Jewish identity and the connection to Israel along with personal growth development.

To foster the awareness and interest of program participants regarding post-trip communal opportunities for activism, involvement and leadership.

ADEA: Interview Tips From Seven Dental Schools

Experience the exclusive ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS®) webinar recording for applicants planning to interview for dental school this semester. Take advantage of key interview tips, suggestions and guidance from representatives of Harvard School of Dental Medicine; University of Louisville School of Dentistry; Indiana University School of Dentistry; New York University College of Dentistry; A.T. Still University—Arizona and Missouri; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Dental Medicine; and University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

Watch Here.

If you are interested in Dental School, we also suggest that you subscribe to the ADEA GoDental Newsletter for access to lots of videos and articles that will help you through the application process.

Uncubed: Watch. Learn. Get Hired

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We’ve assembled a community of highly talented developers, designers, marketers, and other minds interested in learning from practitioners at the most innovative companies.

It’s free – join now.

In addition to their video platform, their Uncubed Daily publication gives you a daily brief on tech, and their events get you out in the real world (with humans).

Check them out!

Once Teased For Her Love Of Bugs, 8-Year-Old Co-Authors Scientific Paper

Sophia Spencer and Morgan Jackson co-wrote a scientific paper on Twitter, entomology and women in science, after a tweet about Sophia’s love for bugs went viral. Courtesy of Nicole Spencer

Did anyone else catch this NPR story on Sophia Spencer last week? I loved it so much, I thought I would share!

Sophia Spencer, 8, loves bugs — especially grasshoppers. She’s an expert on insects, and likes to give her littlest friends an occasional ride on her shoulder.

That used to earn her mockery from her peers. But now it’s earned her a massive outpouring of support — and a byline in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

Read the full NPR story by Camila Domonoske.

Sophia was also interviewed on Good Morning America!