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

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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 Commons.

Some of you may remember the older Sun Guard Higher Education ListServ that used to allow Banner schools and users to communicate, collaborate, and stay connected.  Although some of those older ListServ threads still exist they have largely been replaced and augmented by the new Ellucian Commons system.

From the Ellucian Commons website – “…The Commons is an online community where Ellucian customers, partners, and employees can share experiences, ask questions, find answers, and connect to a collaborative and informed network.  Articles, news, blogs, best practices, reference materials, document libraries, discussion threads, and more provide the community with tools to share, learn, explore, and create.”

See more at: http://www.edu1world.org/submitform/CommonsInvitation/

Ellucian hosted services interruption – Banner INB, Hyperion Reporting

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We are currently experiencing an interruption of service when connecting to systems and applications hosted in the Ellucian data centers.

Banner Web/SSB services are UP and operational however users cannot connect to Internet Native Banner (aka Banner INB), the Hyperion EPM reporting environments and other associated systems and applications.

We are working with our vendors to restore services as quickly as possible.  Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience.

WordPress in the Liberal Arts

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Last week I attended a Nercomp event on WordPress in the Liberal Arts in Norwood, MA and participated in a panel on WordPress themes and plugins with colleagues from the College of Wooster and Abilene Christian University.   About 45 people attended, most from institutions that were already using WordPress.  Many of these same institutions were also using Moodle and Drupal.

WordPress is used by many for course sites.  Abilene Christian University has integrated it with Banner making it easy for their faculty to create class blogs that automatically include students.  The College of Wooster has an instance of WordPress referred to as Voices, that includes BuddyPress and bbPress, popular WordPress plugins and associated platforms that add functionality for creating groups and forums and aggregating activity streams across various sites.   Mark Frydenberg from Bentley University teaches his students how to maintain a WordPress site, requiring each student to take on the role of site administrator and tasking them with changing the site theme, adding plugins and managing roles.

Some institutions are using WordPress for e-portfolios.  Macaulay Honors College has over 1,500 sites in EPorfolios@Macaulay, which also makes use of BuddyPress to create various groups that they plan to include in their upcoming WordPress student portal, My.Macaulay.  Some institutions even use WordPress for the college website including Bates, Lafayette and Wheaton.

Enhancements to MiddMedia Video Hosting Application

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

For those who may not know MiddMedia is an audio/video storage and streaming service hosted by the college for Middlebury College users. To share a video with others you must embed it in a website visible to your intended audience. Documentation is available here.

The Web Application Development Team has been hard at work making enhancements to the MiddMedia application in order to better support mobile platforms, the current HTML5 standards, and our users. Below are some of the enhancements that have been made in the past month.

  • As part of the recent HTML5 standard, modern browsers support the native playback of video files using an HTML5 video tag. All videos uploaded to MiddMedia are now encoded in both H.264 and WebM formats so that they can be played natively in browsers that support H.264 (IE 9, Safari, iOS) and WebM (Firefox 4, Chrome, Opera, Android), and allow better support for mobile browsers.
  • When uploading a video, you can now select the quality that will be used when the video is transcoded (original, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p). Previously a single standard of around 480p was used unless the videos were encoded in Mp4 or Flv to start with. Now you may choose additional high-def qualities (NOTE: Does not upscale video), or original to preserve quality as closely as possible during encoding to multiple formats.
  • Embed code references the Mp4 and WebM versions of the videos for HTML5 compliant browsers. All others will fall back to a Flash player (the recently updated Strobe Player). Videos embedded in the Drupal site with the video short code also display in this manner. Instructions on embeding videos from MiddMedia in Drupal are available here.
  • Added basic support for M4a files. Users can now upload M4a audio files to MiddMedia. Quicktime may be required to preview them in the MiddMedia application. The WordPress MiddMedia plug-in allows you to embed m4a files in WordPress blogs/pages. You can add these to your posts as you normally would for other audio/video files. When the post is displayed, you will see the m4a with images in a video player if you are using Safari, or a link to the m4a file that users with other browsers can download and play in an application like iTunes or QuickTime. NOTE: To ensure your audio files will be accessible to the broadest range of listeners and devices, we recommend using the .mp3 format unless you have a special use case that requires m4a.
  • A new show/hide feature will allow users to toggle show/hide behavior for folders in MiddMedia. For users who only have access to a single personal folder this feature will not be of much use, but for users with access to several shared directories this will help with navigation of multiple folders with many videos.

We hope you enjoy the new enhancements!

Weekly Web Development Round-up June 6-10, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Tip of the week: If you’re able to access an image or file on our Drupal site only when you’re logged in, the file is probably in a Recycle Bin on a site you have access to edit. You can find the file in the Recycle Bin and click Restore to return it to a publicly visible page.

Campus Map

  • A new “alpha” version of the Campus Map can be found on our site. We’ve added integration with foursquare, outlines of each building, and soon many more features like course listings, directory listings for buildings and 3D models of buildings on campus.
  • If you want to check out some 3D models of Bread Loaf, fire up Google Earth and zoom on over there.

Course Catalog

  • The Course Catalog can now be searched by building code, allowing us to display the courses taught in each building through the Campus Map.

Drupal

  • News and Profile items now use a popup browsing window to select their associated images, instead of the autocomplete textbox. This shows the editor where their selected file is located in the site tree.
  • An issue with the video player controls has been resolved.
  • Modules updated this week: mimemail, monster_menus, rss_page, media.

MediaWiki

  • The LIS Wiki now uses a Google Custom Search engine for its search results instead of the default MediaWiki search feature.
  • Additionally, the LIS Wiki’s skin has been updated to use the core Middlebury site design and styles, which should make the transition from our site to our wiki less jarring.
  • The Midd MediaWiki skin also includes custom CSS for mobile devices that make the wiki easier to read and navigate on those devices.
  • The wiki is no longer running under HTTPS.
  • MediaWiki version update: 1.16.5

Weekly Web Development Round-up May 30-June 3, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Drupal

  • Did you know that you can “geo tag” any content on our site? It’s true! When you’re editing, you’ll see a field labeled “Location”. If you expand this, you can add an address to the content you’re creating. Most addresses can be automatically translated into a latitude and longitude by our system, allowing us to create maps highlighting that content. We’re going back and adding locations to stories to make our Middlebury Around the World page more interesting, but keep this in mind as you edit the site.
  • The Preview button has been temporary disabled while we fix an issue where all permissions would get wiped out when you previewed your changes to content. We know what was causing this to happen and will have a fix shortly after a few of the edge cases are dealt with.
  • Videos from MiddMedia in most of our supported web browsers now play using the native HTML5 video player. Browsers that support this feature include Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4, Chrome, Safari, Opera and the mobile browsers for iOS and Android devices. If you are using Firefox 3 (including 3.5 and 3.6), Internet Explorer 7, or Internet Explorer 8 you will still see the Flash player as these browsers do not support HTML5 video.
  • Additionally, MiddMedia videos on the site will now use the “full frame” poster image by default, which doesn’t include the “play” icon, but you can toggle between playing and pausing a video by clicking on it.
  • When creating a Story, there are now buttons to select the image instead of autocomplete text boxes. Clicking the button brings up the site tree so you can select your image (with a preview) from the page where you saved it instead of blindly hoping the “smiling_students01.jpg” is your image. This feature will be rolled out to more content types shortly.
  • XML sitemaps are now available for all of our Drupal-based sites. These files help search engines find content on our site. Middlebury’s sitemap is at http://www.middlebury.edu/sitemap.xml
  • Modules updated this week: Custom Permissions, Monster Menus, Media, RSS Page

Library Systems

  • As announced previously on the LIS blog, the Library Quick Search widget on the Library home page now includes a search form for Summon, a tool that searches across Midd’s many different collections at once.  New tabs, and other changes based on feedback and user study were also rolled out.

MiddMedia

  • All videos uploaded to MiddMedia are now encoded in both H.264 and WebM formats so that they can be played natively in browsers that support H.264 (IE 9, Safari, iOS) and WebM (Firefox 4, Chrome, Opera, Android).
  • When uploading a video, you can now select the quality that will be used when the video is transcoded (original, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p).

WordPress

Weekly Web Development Round-up May 22-27, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Drupal

  • The “Edit”, “Delete” and “Revisions” links now include the title of the content you’ll be performing those actions on. For example, if you have a node titled “Drupal Help” the link to edit that node is now Edit “Drupal Help”. These links appear below the content as they always have.
  • The “Edit” links for sidebars, site banners, carousels, and juice bars now include the title of the page. For example, if your sidebar is titled “Right Sidebar” the link to edit that content will be Edit “Right Sidebar”. These links appear above the content as they always have.
  • Remember: if you want to hide these links while you work on content, try out the New Edit Console which lets you decide to hide links in specific regions of the page.
  • The MIIS site now also has a Carousel region, using the same styles as the Middlebury website.
  • The “Revision Log” window is now collapsed by default on the editing form.
  • If you’re the manager of a permissions group, there is now a link to “Edit this group” above the members of the group on any permissions form. This link takes you to the AD group manager interface.
  • Several issues with image and file uploads have been resolved. If you were having trouble overwriting file revisions or uploading new files with the same name as other files, we believe that you’ll now be able to do those things without a problem.
  • We’ve upgraded Drupal from 6.20 to 6.22 which includes all the changes in 6.21 as well. We’ve also updated our Monster Menus module to match the version Amherst currently has in production.