Tags » LIS Staff Interest


Improved Filtering of SPAM and Phishing Email

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

ITS has begun enabling new, proactive anti-spam and anti-phishing email filters intended to improve the filtering of unsolicited and unwanted messages, by leveraging external reputation-based lists of email servers that have been flagged for sending spam and/or malicious email.

We’ve had the new filters in “Tag” mode since October 2014, so we’re confident that they are accurate and we’ll be closely monitoring incoming mail queues during days after the change. Still, there is a possibility that someone trying to sending you email will have their message blocked, if their email servers have been flagged for sending spam and/or malicious email. The sender, in such cases, will receive an email advising them that their message could not be delivered.

If you encounter such as scenario, (i.e. a legitimate sender is trying to email you, but the message is being blocked by Middlebury’s email servers), or you have noticed legitimate messages recently having been incorrectly tagged as [SPAM?], please contact the ITS Help Desk at helpdesk@middlebury.edu and we will help you identify and resolve the issue.

General questions about this change may be directed to infosec@middlebury.edu.

Weekly Web Updates – September 7, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

New Features

You can now add flashcards to your WordPress site. Enable the “Middlebury Flashcards” plugin on your site and then use this shortcode:

[flashcard front="bonjour" back="hello" width="130" height="130" font_size="20" text_color="#FFFFFF" bg_color="#000000"]

Only the “front” and “back” attributes are required. The values shown in the example will be used for the default values if those attributes are not supplied.

If you are using the “subscribe2″ plugin in WordPress you may have noticed that you get copied several times on the emails that are sent out when you publish a new post. This is because the plugin will use the”FROM” email as the “TO” address when sending to a large “BCC” list of subscribers. You can now change the default “FROM” address to “no-reply@” the current site domain.

If you’ve ever wanted to get an RSS feed of a single node on the Middlebury Drupal site, you can now do that using this address: http://www.middlebury.edu/middlebury-node-rss/%/rss.xml and replacing the ‘%’ character with the numeric ID of the node.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • When new course sites are created in Moodle via the Course Hub, we now set the start date of the course to the last Monday prior to the start date listed in Banner.
  • The Course Hub now handles any type of parsing error in the updates it gets from various resources and will not stop syncing updates after the first error. Additionally, the Course Hub’s sync process is now given sufficient time to complete.
  • The information shown in Middlebury Drupal profiles from the Online Directory was being cached “permanently” which meant it only got updated after we made a code change. It will now be updated every three hours, in line with our process to sync other user data from the Directory. Note that this means edits to your office hours may not show up right away, but will appear by the end of the day.
  • The “miis_alumni” view in Drupal, which is used on the MIIS website to display lists of stories related to alumni in various programs, can now be displayed with or without a pager element at the bottom of the list. This resolves a minor SEO issue where the view was included on pages with a lot of other content and the pager was creating a series of pages where most of the content was the same, in the eyes of search engine spiders.
  • The site slogan on the MIIS website was updated from “Be the Solution: Areas of Study” to “Professional Graduate Degrees for Global Action”.
  • Middlebury’s Study Abroad programs in the Course Information Database now include “Middlebury” in their program title.
  • When librarians save new versions of the Library Quick Search widget, the old version is now purged from the block, page, variable and theme caches in Drupal.
  • We have removed new visual styles applied to the President of the College site last month.
  • There’s a new version of the header graphic for the ArtsMail newsletter.

Accessibility Fixes

  • The image button for the List Manager subscription form in Drupal now uses the proper “alt” attribute to contain the text for the button, rather than the incorrect “value” attribute.
  • All instances of the “b” and “i” elements in Drupal theme code have been replaced with “strong” and “em”, respectively. In addition, any instances of those elements in user-supplied content will be replaced with “strong” or “em”.
  • If the image rollover for the links in the global Middlebury Drupal footer doesn’t load, the links will be underlined to visually indicate that they are links.
  • The HTML element in all of our Drupal sites will now include the “lang” attribute in addition to the “xml:lang” attribute. The latter is not recognized by all screenreader software.

Curricular Technology Team Notes, 2015.08.18

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Stacy, Heather, Amy Collier (Associate Provost for Digital Learning), Joe A., Jamie, Mack P., BKoul, Zach, Adam, Amy Slay (MIIS Digital Learning Specialist)

Main Topic: Canvas Pilot Preparation

  • Update on MIIS Course building in Canvas: so far so good, one prof left to add
  • Kickoff meeting next week during this meeting slot. We’ll use this slot for pilot meetings throughout the semester where possible. (MIIS may need to schedule things slightly differently on occasion, given that their semester schedule is different.)
    • Joe will send out further reminders for things for faculty to check before the kickoff meeting.
    • Let’s finalize course lists at that date so we aren’t constantly requesting new stuff from Cindy Peet (manual importation of students).
      • Add/drop will be manual; finalize at the end of the add/drop period.
  • Review of timeline; looks good.
  • Instructure meeting: signoff on branding, Midd KB document. KB signoff activated support: we tested submitting a support request through the interface and got a response within half an hour.
    • Todo: enable support for importing Moodle courses. Need to find out if faculty will use it first.


Goals and Outcomes

  • What questions should we ask?
  • How do we assess the course-building process?
    • Let’s ask ASAP after courses are built (quite soon for MIIS, by Sep 8th for Midd).
    • “What did you enjoy? What excited you about the platform? What didn’t you like?” Assume that everyone had both positive and negative experiences, and try to hear about both. Trying to ask people to directly compare to Moodle may not be productive; they may not ever have built a Moodle course, or built one years ago that they’ve been using since. “Like asking someone to compare their first year of college to first year of high school.”
  • Difficult to balance collecting useful data during the pilot about how well this works for Midd, vs. helping faculty use the new tool in the best possible way.
    • Moodle and Canvas are two different tools; it’s quite difficult to compare them directly. Different features.
    • Not just about using the tool; the focus should be pedagogy. Educational technology should be educational. If they were only going to be doing the same things they’d be doing in Moodle, there’s no point in switching.
    • We don’t want to just throw people in the deep end as far as support goes; be available for question.
  • “What are your goals for participating in this pilot?” (ask in e-mail before kickoff meeting, then go around the room). Help make connections between faculty of different disciplines.
  • “How do you picture this enhancing your pedagogy?” (+ check in again later)
  • It’s definitely worth asking the same question more than once to see how things change over time. We can directly ask the faculty about what’s changed over time, as well.
  • Questions for students: No inspiring questions for the beginning of the semester; we’d like to get a general answer to “What do you want in a course website?”
  • We should e-mail out a more-formal survey for mid-semester (students and faculty). We should come up with good questions by October.
  • Joe has some letters and other communication that other students have used. Questions from MISO survey: Bill will get from Terry.


LTI (Learning Technology Integration framework)

  • Adobe Connect is a good example. The way other schools do it is to pay an integrator a yearly fee (AC outsources their LTI.)
  • Canvas’s release schedule means integration is a moving target.
  • LTI use gets complicated very quickly. Ex: integrating TurnItIn broke assignment dropbox. We should have a process. (SR goal for this year is to clarify support models, we can start by being clearer with this.)
    • Support, privacy (FERPA), data use, etc.: draft recommendations. “If you’re thinking about using a tool, here are some considerations to be aware of.”
    • Stanford policy: Can’t force students to use a tool that uses personal data for a graded assignment. Has to be an option.
      • Amy Collier has talked to Chris Norris about how to start a conversation around how we handle this at Midd. In the meantime, let’s stick to guidelines.

Faster Helpdesk Ticket Updating

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In the past when you responded to an email from the Helpdesk about a specific ticket, someone had to find your ticket, and copy your email into it so the technician assigned to your issue would see the lastest information. As of Wednesday, 09/09/2015, this can be a much faster process. When you reply to an email from the Helpdesk about your ticket, it will automatically be added to your ticket, and the assigned technician will receive notification that there has been an update from you. This method will only work if you reply to an email from the system. If you send an email to the Helpdesk about your ticket that does not have the correct subject line format, the system will create a new ticket, which may delay the resolution of your issue. The emails from the Helpdesk system look like this:

From: Helpdesk [mailto:ticket_update@middlebury.edu]
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 3:29 PM
To: Your Name
Subject: Ticket 499799 Open –> The description of your issue

We hope that you will find this new functionality easy to use, and that the progress of your tickets to resolution will be faster.

Voice mail system performance issues

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The campus voice mail system is indicating multiple performance issues at present. This includes choppy/clipped speech on new messages and new greetings recorded since August 21. Currently, the system is not accessible. Our vendor is working on this.

Weekly Web Updates – August 31, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

New Features

  • The WordPress Next Page plugin has been added to provide shortcodes and template tags for next/previous navigation in pages. The plugin includes a shortcode and tag for the parent page, allowing Drupal-like book navigation.
  • A new Omeka plugin for displaying a login bar on the top of Omeka sites has been added and is available for use.


Tweaks and Fixes

Several changes were made to the Middlebury Institute site, including:

  • The home page has an updated set of slider items.
  • A “read more” link was added below the news stories region on the home page.
  • The site has updated MBA redirects to match explicit paths, rather than “starts with”.
  • Additional top-margin space on 3rd level menus has been added.

Other fixes this week:

  • The Term filter on Study Abroad’s Course Information Database has been removed because it wasn’t relevant for most searches.
  • We added filters to sort Alumni Profiles by Major and/or Class Year.
  • A fatal error that was occurring on Course Hub dashboards when one of the courses had a Syllabus link has been fixed.

Friday Links – August 28, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

NMC has released the second Library Edition of it’s Horizon Report, it explores academic and research libraries in a global context. You can download the report here:

Download theNMC Horizon Report > 2015 Library Edition (PDF)

The report explores some of the same trends and challenges that we are talking about. Below is a video summary.