Category Archives: Midd Blogosphere

The Gospel According to Ted

UnTapped_Middlebury

How Ted King ’05 and his entrepreneurial cohort of outdoor enthusiasts seek to upend the market for athletic fuel.

Strapping on her skis and moving slowly—by her standards—through a warm-up at Lake Placid’s Nordic Center, Heather Mooney ’15 does one lap around the stadium, then another, and finally heads out with her teammates for an abbreviated jaunt through the woods. It’s two days before the 2015 NCAA Ski Championships, and Mooney is exhausted. She’s battling a cold, which is sapping her energy at just the wrong time, and she doesn’t have the luxury of taking it easy. She’s running low in another department, as well.

“I have one more,” she says, opening a pouch on her blue waist belt and pulling out a packet of maple syrup. “We have one last late-day race, so the timing worked out perfectly.” Marketed as an “all-natural athletic fuel” under the label UnTapped, this particular packet of pure maple syrup is no homespun remedy but a relatively new product being touted as a natural alternative to synthetic sports gels. The founder of the company and self-professed maple syrup proselytizer—“I’ve been preaching the gospel of maple syrup for years”—is Ted King ’05, a cyclist who competed professionally for nearly a decade.

A native New Englander (a rarity in professional cycling), King earned a quirky reputation on the cycling circuit for being the “syrup guy,” never failing to pack a couple of gallons of the sweet stuff and always having some on hand at mealtime. “It’s not commonplace in Europe,” he says, and what is available tends to be the corn-syrup-based alternatives, which King dismisses as fake syrup. But it wasn’t until a training ride in 2012 that King realized maple syrup’s potential as an energy supplement.

The previous summer, King and fellow pro cyclist Tim Johnson had successfully cycled the length of Vermont’s Route 100—dubbed “200 on 100” for the 200-mile trek—and had set their sights on another 200-mile ride: from Burlington, Vermont, to Portland, Maine. In advance of the new challenge, playfully called “200 not on 100,” King and Johnson got the word out about the ride and as they pedaled across northern New England, they were greeted by cheering crowds along the way. As they neared the halfway point, while zipping along the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, they encountered a man waiting on the side of the road—with gift baskets for each rider.

Among various sundries, such as a 16-oz. can of beer, was a mini-container of maple syrup. In an attempt to replace at least some of the 1,000 calories per hour they were burning—and stay sober—they downed the syrup.

“That was probably the first time I really, truly chugged maple syrup on a ride,” says King. The performance benefits seemed clear, he adds, citing a noticeable energy boost. Why not try and replicate it? King began stopping at mom-and-pop syrup stands along his bike routes, buying novelty-size nips and tucking them in his jersey.

“It wasn’t the safest thing in the world,” he says of the glass vials that would surely shatter during a fall. So, aiming to avoid maiming, he started looking for alternative packaging. At farmers’ markets he would show syrup makers his traditional energy gels and ask if they could get their product into a similarly manageable form. He was met with stares of confusion and sent on his merry way. For more than a year, no one seemed to take him seriously. Then King pitched the idea to Andrew Gardner, a friend and amateur cyclist.

At the time, Gardner was the Nordic ski coach at Middlebury, and he had his own syrup stories. Vermont ski racing has more than its fair share of traditions, one of which involves handing out jugs of syrup as podium prizes. “I saw the winners from Saturday’s race chugging maple syrup and then skiing long distances on Sunday,” Gardner says, an observation seconded by Heather Mooney. “Chugging syrup is definitely a thing,” she confirms, especially on the men’s side. It’s a practice that Gardner had noticed but had never really thought about—until King approached him with his crazy idea.

***

Andrew Gardner was not only enthusiastic about King’s idea; he proved adept at solving several of the logistical problems King had encountered, such as sourcing the syrup itself. He introduced King to Roger Brown, Doug Brown, Tim Kelley, and Jimmy Cochran—first cousins who are descended from Vermont skiing royalty. The Skiing Cochrans, as the family is known, have competed internationally for two generations. The four offspring of patriarch Mickey all skied in Winter Olympics (daughter Barbara Ann won gold in 1972), while the next generation has placed six family members on the U.S. ski team. Mickey and his wife, Ginny, also built a small ski area on their property in Richmond, Vermont. Now operated as a nonprofit, this literal mom-and-pop ski hill, with its three lifts and eight slopes, is a bucolic hive of family activity each winter. It is also surrounded by 20,000 maple trees, and in 2010, four of Mickey and Ginny’s 10 grandchildren started tapping the trees and opened a sugarhouse that would produce their signature Slopeside Syrup.

The Cochran cousins loved the idea of syrup-as-energy-fuel, and with King and Gardner, the cohort began scouring the country to find a partner who could package Slopeside’s product in small, on-the-go packets. (The supplier remains a closely guarded secret, says King.)

Next, they turned to crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, where they crafted a campaign that was less a charity plea and more a pre-order system. (“We really wanted this to be a proof of concept,” explains Gardner.) The initial ask was $35,000, and in the days before the launch, King was approving drafts of the site while lying face down on a massage table between stages of the Tour de France.

The campaign blew past its goal, raising more than $50,000, which would fund production of 100,000 packets—though the fledgling company soon learned that there was greater demand for UnTapped than they had anticipated, particularly as customers kept finding new uses for the product. “We’ve heard of expectant mothers using it in labor,” says King. Paramedics have also used UnTapped to treat diabetes, and people report taking it along to diners so they don’t have to use “artificial” brands on their pancakes and waffles.

Naturally, the UnTapped team swears by its product. “It offers the same nutritional benefits found in the very calculated, heavily supplemented stuff, but maple syrup is entirely natural,” King says, citing a laundry list of resulting benefits: antioxidants, low glycemic index (54), and high magnesium content, to name a few. For others though, the jury is still out. Burlington-based nutritionist Kimberly Evans, for instance, loves the idea of UnTapped and even bought it as a stocking stuffer for her partner last Christmas, but she isn’t fully convinced by the science. “I would really have to see some evidence-based research for me to be comfortable recommending maple syrup,” she says. Nonetheless, UnTapped has been flying off the shelves.

According to Gardner, UnTapped is doing well financially, though not to the degree that he, King, or the Cochrans can forgo any other source of income. And there’s still the risk of falling victim to the fad-prone natural foods industry. “We don’t want to become a stop on the trendy-sport highway,” he cautions, conceding that there is a bit of a novelty aura to the product. At least for now, though, the UnTapped upswing continues. You can find it for sale in L.L.Bean stores, and Olympic distance runner Ruben Sanca is the latest endurance athlete to endorse the product. “We’re an actual, legitimate business,” says Gardner. “It’s still one of these things where I turn around and say, this is crazy.”

Nick Muller receives grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency

Nick Muller (Economics) has received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency for two different collaborative research projects. With colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University, he is working on a project titled Air, Climate and Energy (ACE) Center: Science Supporting Solutions. The goal of this research is to explore the interface between air pollution, climate change and energy use. With colleagues at the University of California-Davis, he is working on a project titled Optimal Energy Portfolios to Sustain Economic Advantage, Achieve GHG Targets, and Minimize PM2. This research explores air pollution, climate change, and economic activity in California. These grants provide salary funding for his 17-18 academic leave and summers for the next three years.

Ioana Uricaru receives Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin

Ioana Uricaru (Film and Media Culture) has been awarded one of this year’s Berlin Prizes by the American Academy in Berlin in support of Paperclip, a screenplay  and film project that she will be working on during her academic leave in 2016-2017. This residential fellowship provides a stipend and housing during Fall 2016 when she will be doing research in German museums, libraries, and archives related to the screenplay, which is set in German at the end of World War II.

Lorraine Besser awarded grant from a Templeton Foundation-funded initiative

Lorraine Besser (Philosophy) has received support from a Templeton Foundation-funded initiative called the Happiness and Well-Being Project, based at St. Louis University. She and a collaborator at the University of Virginia received a two year grant to work on an interdisciplinary project titled What is the Good Life? The Happy Life, the Perfectionist Life, or the Psychologically Rich Life? This project investigates the possibility that a psychologically rich life is a candidate for the good life. They will conduct a series of studies to determine whether or not people consider a psychologically rich life to be a good life and to determine whether such people structure their lives differently from people who consider happiness or perfection to be the good life.

College Counseling Workshop 2016

College Counseling Workshop 2016

Register Here for Workshop

The annual “Applying to College” workshop sponsored by the Admissions Office has been scheduled for Friday, June 10, 2016 of Reunion Weekend at McCardell Bicentennial Hall. High school age children and grandchildren of Middlebury alumni, faculty and staff as well as students from Vermont high schools are invited. Preference is given to juniors in high school.

This program gives an overview of the general selective college application process and does not focus on Middlebury College. It runs from 9:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. with registration at 8:15 A.M.

The workshop for students covers 1) The admissions process:  The student’s responsibilities in owning and directing the admissions process and, 2) An admissions office’s responsibility in owning and directing the admissions process.

The workshop for parents addresses 1) How to be a supportive and effective parent throughout the admissions process, 2) followed by  case studies of college applications.

Student and parent workshops run simultaneously.

In separate sessions there will be a financial aid overview as well as a hands-on session reviewing the common application process.

Following the final presentation, individual afternoon appointments can be scheduled with Student Financial Services.

In addition, for any students who are interested specifically in Middlebury College, a group information session will be conducted at 1:30 P.M. and campus tours will be offered at 2:30 P.M.

The required registration deadline is Monday, June 6, 2016.

Questions?   Contact Joanne Leggett  jleggett@middlebury.edu

Join the Friends of International Students Host Program!

Dear Faculty and Staff-

Our Friends of International Students (FIS) host program recruiting and matching process for the recently admitted Class of 2020 has begun! The Class of 2020 will include more than 70 international students, including some U.S. students who have lived abroad and international exchange students. Please contact us if you’re interested in hosting in the fall and spread the word in our community.

ISSS will hold a series of information meetings about the program beginning on Wednesday, May 11, from 12:30-1:15. on the second floor of the Service Building. We ask that new hosts attend a meeting so that we can meet them and share more information about the program. If you are an experienced host, we encourage you to join us as your stories and insights are vital to friends who are new to FIS and trying to decide if they would be a good fit for the program. We will also hold additional information meetings throughout the summer:

  • Tuesday, June 14 from 12:30-1:15
  • Wednesday, July 13 from 12:30-1:15
  • Thursday, August 4 from 5:15 to 6:00
  • Monday, August 15 from 12:30-1:15

To register for a meeting, please email ISSS at isss@middlebury.edu (subject line: FIS Host Program) or call us at 802.443.5858.

You can learn more about the FIS Host Program on our website at: http://www.middlebury.edu/international/isss/fis .

Please share this information with friends and family who do not work at the College.

We invite all who are interested to become a part of this wonderful program!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Notes for Panopto Follow-up May 10, 2016

Presenters – Jeff Dennis and Jordan Prickett from Panopto

 

Panopto enables:

  • Capture and upload video
  • Keep a searchable video library
  • Ability to watch Panopto playback on any device

 

Best Differences

  • Scale: competitors software will be limited in comparison (e.g., web casting is part of the platform, doesn’t require an appliance). No matter how much viewing or uploading, Panopto will scale up to handle delivery
  • Modern streaming approach
  • Amazon servers
  • Compare to Kaltura
  • Very transparent about support, cost, functionality

 

Video Content Management

  • View all sessions / videos
  • View videos in processing
  • Schedule recordings
  • Bookmark videos (user specific)
  • Organize through folders
    • Administrator vs. faculty / student access
  • Settings
    • Speech recognition
    • iTunes U category
    • Schedule video availability — upon approval of publisher, immediately, never, or set a date
    • Schedule availability — start/end date, or forever
  • What if we have videos that can only be viewed one at a time?
    • Short answer: we don’t offer that functionality; could be done with separate folders or manual setup
  • Create a playlist within a folder
  • Copy and delete specific folders
  • Copy videos by bulk from one folder to another (for sections, new semesters, etc.)
  • Similar management available at both the folder and at the individual video level.
  • Outputs for mp4:
    • Picture-in-picture, side-by-side, tile all streams
    • Increase or decrease quality of video
    • RSS, iTunes podcast, etc.

 

Analytics/Folder Stats

  • Download as a CSV
  • Views / Minutes Viewed / Average Minutes / Unique Users
  • View by Day, Week, Month, Year, All Time, Custom Range
  • View for all videos in a folder, or analytics by specific video
  • View by Panopto user
  • Views by video time (when students leave)
    • Analytics not tied back specifically to Canvas
  • Creators can also see their own folders’ analytics
  • SCORM packages created for every video
  • Can we find out across the institution what are the most popular videos, can we do that?
    • Yes; as long as you have permissions for all the videos
  • Bulk meta-data exports:
    • Output → download media
    • Site-wide export tool

 

Canvas Integration

  • Rolling synchronization: keeps permissions in sync
  • Can launch web-casted content into Canvas
  • SSO
  • Panopto recordings button integrated into course menu
  • Choose course / folder
  • Create video by uploading or from the Panopto recorder directly in the course
  • Search for videos from within Canvas
  • View analytics directly in Canvas
  • Panopto tool directly in WYSIWYG tool bar
  • Full viewer launches a separate web page
  • Integrate video by course or aggregate
  • Videos are housed on Panopto’s servers, not inside the Canvas course
  • Manage videos through the folder structure / organize videos in course folder
  • License includes classroom recording and student / teacher creation and upload
  • Permissions can be provisioned from Canvas to Panopto
  • Teachers are provisioned with their permissions/roles mirrored
  • Students are provisioned with their roles mirrored
  • Groups are mirrored between Canvas and Panopto
  • Grant access to anyone in organization, open on the web, etc.
  • Groups are just-in-time

 

Timeline

  • Integration = matter of hours
  • Timeline can vary, according to institutional preparation (“Matter of hours. A couple of days.”)
  • Set-up is literally filling out one form

 

Student

  • Create a sub-folder “drop box” within a provisioned course → gives students access to create and upload video
  • By default, drop box is private between student and teacher, but can be made public within a course
  • Once a video is in the drop box, it can be moved to another folder
  • Can multiple drop boxes be created for group work?
    • Yes. Drop box is a one-step setup, but you can get specific with permissions. Create multiple sub-folders for different kinds of student work and collaboration.
  • Role-mapping: Roles in Canvas are mirrored in Panopto
  • Provisioning is customizable at the integration level. Customizing is included in the price.