Tag Archives: Core Team

ACTT Notes: UDOIT and the Academic Cyberinfrastructure

ACTT Team Membership

Amy Slay is leaving ACTT Core team and is joining Extended Team. Looking for time for other projects.

Joe A. would like to have somebody from Media Services join the team, Bob is talking with John in MIIS.

Amy Frazier is also stepping down from the ACTT, she primarily joined to work on Panopto as Media Services Librarian. Interested in attending extended team meetings when media is being discussed.

Joe will work on Slack and Google Doc access for the departing Amys.

Thoughts on membership? Bob is looking for someone from MIIS. Are we missing a point of view, who maybe able to provide that? Faculty, Science Support, Humanities Support?

ITS potential reorganization and merging of ACT, DLA and Digital coming in the near future. Will Library be missing?


Project request for Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool, or UDOIT submitted. Service is integrated with Canvas, runs an accessibility and usability report. Provides report to faculty on accessibility and usability. Creates a link on every site, only available for faculty. No global back end for all courses. Tech: runs on a server not software as a service, it can be added to Canvas using the LTI system. Some details needs to be worked out in the project process.

WHD Project Ticket:


Project Charter:


IT Gov Meeting scheduling and attendance discussion.

Academic Cyberinfrastructure


Question: what does somebody new need to know when they arrive on campus to do Academic work.

Joe A. we often spend a lot time looking at the software, would like to look at system as a whole. Joe did a demo in Prezi.

  • People: Tutors, Help Desk, Librarians, Instructional Designers… add; faculty & student peers, grad students, vendors?
  • Systems: LMS, Identity Management, Social Media & MiddCreate
  • Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning, Flipped classroom, blended learning & Hybrid
  • Policies: IP, Course Material Retention
  • Practices: Cloud Storage, Design Thinking
  • Programs: Lynda.com(could be viewed as a technology), DLA, Fund for Innovation, add CTLR(and list of programs), Symposia?
  • Technology: Link to Inventory.

Discussion, positive it goes beyond the tools.

Discussion about Programs, rename as Resources or leave as is?

Intended to supplement intro during faculty orientation and what is introduced during first year seminar.

How Middlebury-wide is this, place based? Identify equity and equivalency.

Help with shared definitions for blended and hybrid…

Would it be helpful to have a discussion around this with the ACTT Extended team.

Nothing under ZERO; ideas, map out options, things that spark ideas(presentations).

Add Security somewhere? Possibly under Identity Management in Systems.

Joe is looking for feedback to flesh this out more. May seek input from Extended Team members.

Bob, Adam and Jamie will share with their teams for input.

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 – https://middlebury.instructure.com/courses/123

Bob’s site – https://middlebury.instructure.com/courses/364

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: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fnzG_T18DP5E0ReWQ6PG39vSuSMBFwN8QiSTV3Gvf1M/edit#

ACTT Notes: Canvas Evaluation Review

Announcements / Updates:

Request to add “UDOIT” to Canvas: Accessibility LTI that generates a report on a Canvas site to let faculty know when accessibility issues are present in a course. Joe will meet with the faculty to determine what the implementation is for, and whether this should become a project.

No ACTT meeting next week as we’ll be meeting as IT-GOV-ATDL.

A couple of requests to add “Poll Everywhere” to Canvas. Allows for polls to be administered directly through Canvas in a synchronous / on-ground classroom.


Canvas Data Evaluation

How useful is the information? What can / should we use? What do we not need? And what is missing?

We have Canvas for three years. We need to be able to evaluate its use in order to determine whether Canvas (or any LMS) is a good technological choice for Middlebury.

Is there a reliable connection between statistics and “engagement” or “quality” of learning?

Numbers are not enough to say that “Canvas is improving teaching and learning at Middlebury.”

Biggest use at Monterey is for class resource web sites and for flipped instruction models. Monterey has very few purely online courses. There’s a certificate program with several online courses, but is blended with on-ground courses.

The College does not have online courses. The Hebrew School is “hybrid” but also fully online part of the year.

Can we define Canvas as a learning space–as more than a platform for distribution and submission? Should it / can it be used for more than file sharing? Or should we be looking at implementation of other technologies that accomplish the same thing?

What kinds of functions can we look at to determine if Canvas is being used well for teaching and learning? How do we measure those functions?

How do we apply an analytic to determine good pedagogy or successful teaching and learning? We can’t really understand what’s happening in classes without talking to students and teachers.

Should we figure out a way to do some qualitative research with teachers and students across Middlebury to determine how Canvas is being used? What works? What doesn’t work? What does teaching with technology look like at Middlebury?

We could try to align Canvas data with our findings from doing qualitative research. Start with “power users” to begin developing stories about how Canvas is being used. Expand the view out by looking at teachers who are using other digital tools in teaching and collect those stories — all to support an analysis of what tools are best for Middlebury.

Look for faculty from different programs to talk about use of Canvas.

Possible plan:

  1. Invite Canvas “power users” to discuss use of Canvas for later in this fall.
  2. Align findings with Canvas data.
  3. Expand that discussion to include other technologies.
  4. Begin larger discussion about use of digital technologies for learning and teaching in Canvas.

This could provide a model for qualitative research for future tech evaluations.

Notes: March 28th, 2017

Guest: Mike Roy, Dean of Library


  1. Overview of the IT governance process
  2. The role of the academic portfolio group
  3. Discussion: Questions we need to answer:

what projects would we consider? which are too small? which are too big?
how do we ensure that the projects are vetted both in terms of their technical feasibility and their degree of ‘strategicness’?
    3. what should be the relationship between this new group and the ACTT?
    4. what should be the membership of the group to cover the entire institution, and ensure proper vetting (see item b)

1. Overview of the broad governance process

Mike Roy and Jonathan Maddix are overseeing the Academic/Digital Tech & Learning “Portfolio team” which is one of a number of departmental and project groups designed to inform the ITS Advisory and STeering Committee groups within the new governance structure.

External consultant organization, *CIO Sensei helped to prepare new governance framework based on external review process in 2016. Mike referenced a deck of slides outlining the governance structure.

*Some discussion of CIO Sensei findings (not everyone had shared background knowledge)

  • External review of ITS looked into project load, efficiencies, decision-making
  • Create a structure that helps to align stakeholders in needs assessment and infrastructure that can scale across the institution

Proposed ITS Operating Model & Processes are informed by mission aligned strategy:

  • Governance
  • Organization
  • Processes and practices
  • Performance management

…to realize academic mission and create value across the institution

ITS is currently undertaking workforce planning which may influence future staffing and organization.


ITS Governance Objectives

  • Customer driven
  • Understand risk
  • Representation across the institution
  • Clarify capacity and resource allocation – “no” as an option
  • Improved communication and transparency
  • Ongoing participatory process
  • Proactive monitoring of demand and challenges
  • Connection between IT and institutional mission and deeper planning process


Governance Flow / Levels – bi-directional flow of information and activity

  • ITS Steering Committee
    • High level, priority setting, funding, staffing, risk, evaluation and validation of strategy implementation
  • ITS Advisory Team
    • Cross-institutional, review of portfolio teams, programs, institutional demand, risk balancing
  • Portfolio Teams* Mike and Jon charged with support of one of these teams
    • Determine departmental needs and priorities, anticipate requirements, identify opportunities and risks, approve new projects, review programs, etc…

The role of the academic portfolio group
 vis a vis ACTT

“All Things Digital” Portfolio Team


a) what projects would we consider? which are too small? which are too big?

  • Example projects discussed as cases for review; e.g. Canvas, Zoom, Panopto, current review of WordPress MU instances (Middlebury, MIIS)

b) how do we ensure that the projects are vetted both in terms of their technical feasibility and their degree of ‘strategicness’?

  • Suggestion that ACTT could serve as the recommender for the portfolio team
  1. c) what should be the relationship between this new group and the ACTT?
  • Is this portfolio team a distinct group or is it a slight expansion of the current ACTT model; need to articulate the key roles of the two groups and determine whether the roles are distinctive or overlap within the new governance structure [unresolved]
  • Strategic goals and cross-institutional planning may help to make the relationships between portfolio team and upper levels of governance [Mike suggested he would bring this back to Advisory Team for clarification]


Additional Discussion

Potential scenarios for portfolio and ACTT:

  • Continue as two separate teams (ACTT and a Portfolio team)
  • Integrate of ACTT and portfolio team into dual purpose group
  • Disband ACTT, take best of and bring to portfolio team

ACTT currently serves a particular purpose in reviewing cyberinfrastructure systems and platforms. It seems a Portfolio team would have a more governance focused role; the way it works now, is stakeholders present a need, and ACTT tests it out and helps to draft a recommendation…

Middlebury Space / Facilities Committee might offer a model for Portfolio team – this committee convenes people together at certain times during the academic year to share needs, projects so that there is awareness of what people are looking to accomplish; the committee then initiates process of prioritizing needs to draft recommendations and potential impact on budget

In this model, the separate Portfolio Team would engage programs to understand directions and needs; refer cyberinfrastructure projects to ACTT for research, review, recommend – help upper levels prioritize based on strategy



Current ACTT Core members are on numerous teams and committees – it would be difficult to be called to participate on an additional committee

  1. d) what should be the membership of the group to cover the entire institution, and ensure proper vetting (see item b) [unresolved]

Additional questions

  • How does portfolio team’s project review work connect with the budget planning process? [unresolved]
  • Frequency of meeting (suggested bi-weekly)? [unresolved]


Action Items


  • Clarification and decision on unresolved questions, especially whether the discussed Portfolio team is a distinct group or whether there is clear overlap of ACTT and Portfolio group purpose [Mike and Jon – Portfolio Team Conveners]

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 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.