Tag Archives: notes

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 Two most common questions have to do with assignments (unpublished); and enrollment, which has more to do with Add/Drop process than with Canvas itself.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.

ACI – The Academic Cyberinfrastructure Inventory

Last Spring we gathered information on all of the services that make up our academic cyberinfrastructure, services and innovations for teaching, learning, research and creativity. This resulted in a long list of services in various stages of adoption. Since collecting this information we have merged it with the ITS Services Catalog, creating one huge list. This long list became unwieldy as spreadsheets, so we have put it into an application form that allows users to filter the list.

The application is available here – http://act.middcreate.net/aci/

or you can reach it via GO-link – go/aci

Now, we need your help before we share the inventory with the world. Some of the information has changed since the inventory was gathered, and there may be some items that we missed. Also, the application may not filter the information in a way that is useful to you.

So please visit and browse the ACI and contact Joe if:

  • Any of the information you see is incorrect and needs updating.
  • Anything needs to be added to the inventory.
  • You have a use-case for the inventory.

Thank you, in advance, for helping us make this a useful service for Middlebury.

Notes for In-progress Project Presentation for Web Conferencing

Bob C.

Where we are at with the project.

act.middcreate.net/site/projects/web- confercing – service

Adobe Connect has been in Production for a few years. Adobe’s change in pricing structure, created impetus to review options. ITS was looking into options for unified communication with telephone which may have had some options.

Oct 11th, update narrowed selection to Zoom and Blue Jeans. Zoom actively being tested.

Mack P.

Adobe price change caused review. What do we currently get from Adobe connect? Could be tied into replacement of legacy phone system, which had been previously reviewed and recommended, but not funded. Skype for Business was piloted, but determined not to be phone system for Middlebury. ITS Media Services was brought into looking into telephone systems which have some video conf features(presence, chat…).

If new phone system is funded it would have Jabber for video and chat.

Decided to pursue a separate product for academic web conf.

Zoom and Blue Jeans have similar feature set. Zoom is approximately ½ of the price of Blue Jeans, Blue Jeans has some features that Middlebury wouldn’t benefit from(ability to host 500 person meeting). Zoom would lock in price for a term. Blue Jeans would match Zoom for one year only, then increase to approximately $98k. Prior users of Blue Jeans have given negative review of product for meeting use.

Zoom feedback to date has been positive. Easy to start each course.

Joe A.

Reviewed spreadsheet of services we reviewed, initially 10 services. Narrowed to 3-4 offerings. Vidyo was dropped due to cost and inclusion of video conf equipment, older tool without modern feel. Down to 3 services.

ACTT had a “round robin” where over the course of a single meeting, we took a first pass of all the services, 15 mins per service with large group. Zoom, WebX, Blue Jean and Adobe Connect, tracked issues and reminded ourselves why we are departing from Adobe Connect. Follow up meeting identified Zoom and Blue Jeans, as preferred options. Zoom allowed everyone to be visible on the screen, Blue Jeans limited to 9, others would fall off. Blue Jeans prioritized quality to speaker. Zoom quality seemed more consistent. Moved forward with Zoom pilot, one class had already requested Zoom.

Joe A. demo review following Zoom practice. Recorded to test feature in Zoom.

Screen sharing allows option to present slides, but presenter remains in presenter mode for slideshow. May be allowed only with two screens.

Video of call participants can be turn on/off be each participant.

Power, Source, Filter: Vocal production of sound.

Explication of slides.

Played Ted video via Youtube.

Issue with getting video fullscreen, common with other video conf options. Need to share desktop to share full screen, can’t do it via application sharing.

Audio needs to be shared with application. Mack P. knows the tricks.

Video recorded as MP4 file. Pilot saved locally.

Pay version allows for cloud recording.

Dotty, Hebrew Course and Zoom.

  • Prefer freedom to do what they want with recordings. Exported out of Adobe Connect.
  • Improved entrance for students.
  • Less issues with bandwidth for international students.
  • Adobe Connect frequently had issues with Flash
  • Has been using Zoom in the ‘democratized’ format with similar size videos

Mack P. Review:

  • Mack P. has better success getting people up and running during meetings. 100% self starting
  • Been working well with Polycom room systems.
  • Polycom client often been blocked by firewalls of travelers.
  • Built in phone line has allowed people to call into sessions.

Sean M.:

  • Been testing Zoom during meetings
  • Preferred over Google Hangouts
  • Testing Friday with large meeting

Bob C.

  • Plans to test Zoom with Critical Issues Forum that previously used Adobe Connect, connecting with High School Teachers
  • This use case involves recording for viewing later, wants to pull prior videos from Adobe Connect
  • Did a test with Zoom recording which was positive.

Question how to view the suite of people of people coming into session, when something is being shared.

Option to raise hand is not readily visible.

Can make the active speaker large.

Need to develop best practices and training to go along with the tools.

Zoom does have a webinar format, which may have more participant functions.

How long to we envision best of breed for variety of use cases?

Polycom room equipment needed in room. Polycom servers contracted for 2 more years, Zoom maybe able to replace some of that functions.

Zoom Webinar has more options.

Notes for In-progress Project Presentation for Panopto Pilot

  • Panopto status update
  • Recap of original charge and proposal, history of project including Media Core process and funding. General consensus that Pantopo isn’t perfect but is pretty good, and definitely the best of all available options. The goal is to make a proposal for FY18 by January. Current Panopto contract runs through June.
  • Q:Will legacy streaming platforms, MiddMedia, archived items be a part of this process?
    • A:Not during this initial phase; with the decline in available data space, eventually we’ll need to examine those assets.
  • Rate of video storage has increased x20.
  • Most Panopto views are administrative, with some faculty using it for courses as well.
  • Students don’t have to leave Canvas to view videos in Panopto, but do have to log in again. Panopto creates a new user using single sign-on credentials. A Panopto viewer window embedded in Canvas will popup a login window; the issue is with what Canvas passes to Panopto. This issue is on Panopto’s development timeline, tentatively for late fall or winter. We’re meeting with them as well, working on code.
  • Embedding in WordPress doesn’t work, trying to write some code for that. We should be able to turn on a Panopto plugin for WordPress.
  • Some faculty are using Panopto at MIIS, have also used the webcasting feature successfully, including interactive and note-taking features. Sharing videos through a link has resulted in a good user experience. This is the legacy of Panopto as a lecture capture platform; perhaps we should talk about that while we’re talking about video conferencing. Should remember that Panopto charged based on views.
  • Q:Heather has asked whether we can embed Panopto on Sharepoint pages
    • A: not at present.
  • Thoughts on recent training? Seems pretty straightforward. We have two hours of training left, most topics are also available through support documentation and video.
  • Windows version of Panopto software has many more features than the Mac version (e.g., the focus feature); we may get questions related to that difference.
  • Panopto rep did send statistics on first training session; the analytics are very thorough with very specific usage info. Panopto may have applications for original research.
  • Panopto is currently not embeddable in Drupal because of the way Drupal filters code, but other schools have solved this issue; may take some work to make it possible.
  • Searchability is limited to English only, users will need to upload a caption file for other languages. Users can also supply keywords to make videos more searchable.
  • Q: If we do additional training, can we focus on other features?
    • A: Potential for more creative uses than simply streaming video.
  • Lecture capture is a non-starter at Middlebury; faculty don’t want it and the costs were prohibitive. MIIS can still use it that way. May be useful for making guest speakers/special lecturers available to students abroad.
  • Part of the proposal to continue Panopto would be a 3-5 year commitment to encourage user investment in the platform.
  • Media workload at MIIS is increasing, so we’re looking to Panopto as a possible assist in that regard. The goal is for self-service, self-empowerment. Lots of need to cover recurring classes, to record and make available later, which has been difficult to staff and organize. There may be some capacity to use Panopto to automate some of that process, but it would require upgrading a space to achieve it.
  • Feedback on Panopto has been generally good, and good enough to go forward.

Notes for Extended Team Meeting: Panopto Training

Presenter: Rebecca Lessem, Director of Training

Training & support resources under training tab of homepage

    • Webinars (basic and advanced) plus Friday Q+A with Rebecca at noon eastern time

Overview of how recordings move through the Panopto system

  • All videos are “deeply searchable” via automatic speech recognition + OCR software
    • Special plugin to powerpoint makes slide text searchable, too!
    • Title, keywords, metadata
    • Searchability is only English language-based? (Petar)
      • Yes
      • For other languages, uploading captions is recommended for searchability.
  • Recording
    • You can record from any device (downloadable app)
    • Remote recorder functionality – start and stop times can be pre-set (not available for Macs, PC only)
    • You can also record outside of Panopto and upload to the platform
      • Will be processed and searchable the same as other videos
    • Quality of OCR? (Shel)
      • it depends – usually works well for printed text and/or stuff that’s on-screen for a while; handwriting is obviously trickier
    • Creators can add PDFs to their recordings as well as slides
  • Viewing Panopto content
    • Interactive web viewer
    • Accessible via any browser
    • Android and iOS apps
    • Display is automatically optimized for the device you are viewing from
    • Mp4, mp3, tablet, android, and iOS viewing formats are available for every recording made or uploaded to Panopto
    • Admins have brand customization options
    • Are there multiple quality versions for adaptive streaming, or just one encoding per device type? (Zach)
      • Panopto should adjust automatically as long as you are accessing via the web viewer; mobile apps have just one encoding each, but creators can specify

Roles in Panopto and their permissions (creator, viewer, administrator)

Folders

  • Course folder – shared with instructor and students
  • My folder – personal to every user
  • Assignment folder – allow for student recording
    • Everyone who is a viewer in the course would be able to record via this folder without technically being a creator
    • Can students easily download any videos they make for portfolio reasons? (Zach)
      • Yes – multiple output options can be selected and processed into a single mp4
  • Shared with me
    • Any content you’ve been added to
  • Bookmarked
  • Browse
  • Each folder has its own permissions which can be adjusted
    • Share – Google-esque options (specific people, organization wide, groups, public on the web, etc.)
      • Groups are not auto-synced from AD (too many); course groups synced on demand from the Hub, others must be (re-)created manually.
    • When you share a folder, you can assign read only, edit, or publish permissions
      • If enabled, “publisher” would have to give approval for content to become visible to viewers
  • Our folders are set up by Program -> Year -> Semester -> Course (Joe)
    • We could structure our Panopto folders to reflect this
  • Parent folder settings can be set to to apply to subfolders, or not
  • Is there a master file? (Petar)
    • Each file is a master file
      • A copy of a file would be it’s own master file and would have to be deleted/adjusted separately from the original

Panopto from the viewer perspective

  • Can adjust video speed
    • Fastforward
    • Slow motion
  • Can annotate videos
  • Can take notes
    • Private by default, can be adjusted
    • Notes can be taken in a group channel so everyone in the group can see/search each other’s notes
    • Saved as metadata so student can see/search later
    • Creator can delete notes
  • Can participate in discussion
    • Like a group chat, more public than notes
    • Saved as metadata so student can see/search later
    • Creator can delete discussions (if content is problematic or creator uses same video from semester to semester)
    • Cannot be exported, we can submit feature request

Canvas Integration

  • We don’t have it, but maybe we want it
  • When enabled, Panopto shows up as a tab in the course menu
    • Embedded, searchable Panopto iframe within Canvas
  • Instructor can make new recordings, adjust video settings, edit videos, share videos within Canvas via the integration
  • Panopto button will show up in Canvas rich text editor
    • Content can be directly embedded into discussions, assignments, etc
    • Recordings will live in Panopto
  • Permissions for Panopto files would carry over from semester to semester without having to copy the video. This can currently be done using the Course Hub.

Statistics

  • Counts live stream watching? (Petar)
    • Yes

Can a live webcast be embedded? (Mack)

  • When you prepare the link in advance, you can embed it, but it won’t show anything until the session begins.
    • Does it embed the live webcast or just the recording? Didn’t seem to work when we tested. (Mack)
      • Rebecca will follow up