Author Archives: Joseph Antonioli

ACTT Notes: Canvas Evaluation

ACTT Extended Team Meeting August 29, 2017

Agenda

Instructure, the company that hosts Canvas, will be presenting an Executive Business Review, sharing data pertaining to Middlebury’s use of Canvas in the first year. This presentation will provide us with insights into how Canvas is being used and supported, and lay the groundwork for future evaluations.

 

Notes

Kelly Jerome, our Customer Success Manager from Instructure presented.

  • Stats are per-month, due to rolling on and off of terms, the data isn’t always reflective of a particular term.
  • Can get details on sub-accounts.
  • Includes support details, SLA compliance, support mechanism (phone, chat, email), and user-type.
  • For real-time reporting, the Canvas data-API would need to be used. For much custom reporting this would require our own developer time to leverage. Instructure has several pre-built reports that could be purchased that wouldn’t require local resources.

EBR

A copy of the report can be seen here. Please log in with your Middlebury username and password to view.

Academic Technology Fall Kick-Off Series

Members of the Academic Technology Group, Librarians, and Media Services are hosting workshops to help faculty learn about and use various services for the teaching toolkit. We are hosting a number of workshops on Canvas and Panopto, as well as an introduction to new services. We have also set aside time for faculty to get specific technology for teaching questions answered.

Please be aware that you must be logged into Google with your Middlebury username and password to fill out and submit the form.

SIGN-UP FORM

You may sign up for as many sessions as you would like to attend.

Please note that all sessions are about 60 minutes, and that they take place in the Wilson Media Lab.

ACTT Notes: One-year Evaluation

Presentation Slides

 

The proposal for the ACTT called for an evaluation at the one-year and two-year marks. The one-year evaluation was designed to assess the Team’s activities so that changes could be made. The evaluation was also designed to have as few survey questions as possible, some of the evaluations questions are designed to be answered with collected data. A brief survey was shared with Core members, Extended Team members, and members of the Project Teams.

 

Slide 3: Academic Cyberinfrastructure Inventory

We now have a searchable database of the web-based services that support academic work, with infrastructure dependencies. Now that budget decisions are being made, services are moving from pilot to production and enterprise phases, the information in the database needs to be updated.

 

Slide 4: Canvas

When Moodle was launched we saw a decrease in use from Fall to Spring. This year we saw an increase in Canvas use.

 

Slide 5: Canvas

Some faculty used Canvas in the Fall but did not use it in the Spring, and vice versa. Also, faculty did not use Canvas for all of their courses. This may mean that faculty are thinking critically about whether Canvas supports their teaching on a course by course basis. The CTLR-sponsored a number of Canvas-based workshops.

 

Slide 6: Panopto

Panopto is not just a streaming media service, it also offers expanded functionality for screen capturing, broadcasting, and media discussion. A CTLR-sponsored workshop used Panopto for flipping the classroom activities.

 

Slide 7: Zoom

The videoconferencing evaluation used an interesting method. 4 services were used in one hour in a round-robin style. The Team was able to quickly determine the top choices. The pilot of Zoom was so successful, and the platform so popular, that we needed to expand to a campus-wide license before the end.

 

Slide 8: RStudio

A handful of classes used RStudio Server this year. DLA-sponsored workshops on DATA were delivered, and a Data Study group was created.

The company has let us know that they will be launching a cloud-based version of RSTudio Server.

 

Slide 9: Who Took the Survey

We had a 75% return rate for the survey. All of the Core Team and most of the Extended Team took the survey. Some may have mis-identified themselves.

 

Slide 10: Other Roles

Many members of the ACTT serve on multiple teams. There are four members that serve on the Core, Extended, and Project Teams.

 

Slide 11: Usefulness of Information

Most members find the published information useful for their jobs.

 

Slide 12: Usefulness of Meetings

The majority of members in all roles believe that the information shared at meetings is useful for their jobs. 25% are Not Sure, which seems high. Some more investigation is needed.

Note from Discussion: Some may be feeling unsure about the usefulness because of their own participation in some of the discussions. We should look for ways to craft the discussions so that everyone feels they are able to participate.

Some feel that the multiple points of view are very valuable, otherwise they would be receiving one point of view, or a filtered point of view, from individuals. The Team has done well at being inclusive in its information gathering and sharing.

 

Slide 13: Meetings

This question is flawed, since members were not asked if they had a role on the CTT. It is expected that Core members that served on the CTT would see no change, new Core members would see an increase. Extended Team members that served on the CTT would see a decrease, new members would see an increase. Some follow up questions will need to be asked.

The projected number of Extended Team meetings was one per month. The average is very close, however it is noted that most of these meetings occurred in the fall as recommendations were crafted for budget proposals.

Note from Discussion: Some noted that the weekly meeting creates efficiencies, they are meeting collectively with people that they would meet with individually anyways.

 

Slides 14-17: Additional Notes

Some comments were broken up, with an attempt to group ideas based on content.

Notes from Discussion: There are outstanding questions about the relationship of the ACTT and ITS Governance/Priority Setting. We also identified future projects: WordPress sites and MiddCreate; Moodle Archiving; Panopto Rollout; Canvas LTIs.

 

Slide 18: Next Steps?

  • Joe will post the notes from this meeting.
  • The ACTT Core will discuss.
  • We will have follow-up conversations with members and others.

ACTT Notes: April 4, 2017

Language School Orientations

It is that time of year again! In this meeting we will be going over the orientation sessions for Language Schools and Bread Loaf.

Language pledge.

  • Each school interprets the pledge slightly differently. Hospital, Helpdesk, and Reference Desk usually “English Safe Zones”. (Chinese School more strict)

Campus changes over. Some undergrad dorms become administrative & faculty offices. People who miss arrival center on Friday are often challenged by not having assistance other than Public Safety over the weekend.

Bilinguals: Traditionally, these support staff have assisted with technology help by translating tech questions to students.

  • Also usually in charge of each school’s web presence during the summer.
  • Also sort of RAs.

Send requests related to the orientation spreadsheet to Joe A.

DMTs: Unclear how much DMT support will be available.

2 separate start dates. “Hard” languages get extra weeks.

 

General Tech Training

Every Curricular Tech & Library training will ideally be preceded by a General Tech Training as it can be hard to focus on other info if you can’t log in.

Often run by Pij & Zach (and their colleagues).

Banner, wireless, printing, email, authentication

  • Suggestion: Have someone who can reset accounts in room.
  • Alternate suggestion: Get people to set up their accounts before they come to campus.

 

Library Orientation

Challenge running orientation for different student levels (undergrad – masters – doctoral).

Library resources, ILL, purchasing.

 

Curricular Technology Orientation

1st half:

  • Course Hub intro (dashboard, resources, roster)
  • Canvas
  • WordPress
  • **Moodle will NOT be available for ANY language school courses**

2nd half:

Help instructors set up their class resources.

Challenge: different ways each school schedule their classes/sections.

Academic Tech staff available for consultations for those who need more in-depth help.

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.