Notes from Meeting 2 of the Humanities Advisory Group

Humanities Advisory Group Meeting Notes

(recorded by Shel Sax ; reviewed by Andy Wentink and Holly Allen)

The Humanities Advisory Group met at 8:30 a.m., on Tuesday, May 19, 2009, in LIB105.

Attending: Holly Allen, Judy Watts, Brett Millier, MaryEllen Bertolini, Randy Ganiban, Heidi Graswick, Brenda Ellis, Dana Barrow, Pieter Broucke, Shel Sax, Andy Wentink, Amy Morsman, Will Nash, and for 10 minutes Joe Antonioli


1. Impact of impending web makeover on departments

2. Sunsetting of Segue as a course management system and the process of finding its replacement

3. Discussion of research and technology instructions for students. What topics should be covered during the First Year Seminar orientations that are most relevant to the Humanities division?  What research and technology skills should students possess upon graduation and how can we best provide training, support and development of these skills

4. Open forum for additional discussion topics.

I  Web Makeover:

A fundamental concern is will the old content of departmental webpages be transferred to the new CMS or will the content need to be developed by each department and if the latter, if this is happening during the fall semester, do we expect departments to do this in the middle of the semester?

Note: we need to inform faculty of what they’re expected to do and when

Joe Antoinioli joined the meeting to offer the following:

  • Mary Backus has been charged with the staging and implementation of the departmental web sites. Need to identify what can be transferred from the old site, what can be added to the new site, when and how. Mary will be looking after the training and support issues.
  • Timeframe: Mary’s group will be meeting with her group starting next week. White Whale and Midd will develop a workbook to guide departments and faculty through the process.
  • The Training & Conversion group will assign members to work with each department, using the workbook, to help guide the process.

Some issues that arose in discussion: timing ;  support for coordinators and faculty  ;  who’s responsible ;  content issues (support of test, media, etc.) and social networking – the social networking will include tools such as, calendaring

  • currently, no automatic way of transferring content, so each department will have to decide what it wants to create, or copy and paste from existing web site
  • Holly Allen suggested that we look at other departmental sites at other colleges to see examples of exemplary sites – Joe noted that from the beginning of June, the designs from the Monterrey site will be available
  • Joe noted the Middlebury Makeover Blog at :
  • Timeline for the summer will be made public this week and posted on the blog
  • Will faculty be able to work on their new sites from off-campus – YES

ACTION ITEM: find link on web makeover blog that directs to sample

1. White Whale has been charged with a set of templates to offer a limited set of designs and choices from which the Departments will charge.

II  Segue

Shel spoke to the issue of the sunsetting of Segue

  1. there were many questions as to why we’re making this change, what the ramifications are
  2. Shel emphasized that we need faculty support and input on this process

Some important points:

  • Segue will be around at least until summer 2010
  • No timetable is currently available for a go live date
  • We are evaluating alternatives including using Drupal or Moodle and that we’ll solicit faculty input
  • Suggested that WordPress be used as the alternative
  • Media Tutors can provide help with Word Press

Some faculty skepticism about whether Word Press is an adequate replacement for Segue

  • Shel recommended that people comfortable with Segue continue to use it and not use WordPress as a stepping stone to the new system, whatever it turns out to do.

III First Year Students – Research and Technology Orientation (currently in place within FYSE)

Topics identified by the Sciences Advisory Group Co-Coordinators (see below) were used as discussion points

  • Brett Millier thought the research steps a) through f) should be part of the FYS but the tech info should be presented before the semester starts
  • Holly Allen wants to see practical assignments that incorporate the research component into a realistic, applicable assignment
  • Will Nash echoed Holly’s suggestion about a research assignment that forces students to develop the requisite skills
  • Will also thought the tech assignment works out better when done within class

– As social software sites have become increasingly easy to use, student’ tech skills have diminished so that mapping a drive or saving to a server is challenging

  • Holly Allen asked about covering laptop etiquette, in particular discussion turned to banning laptops in class because students are not paying attention to what is going on in class

Discussion then covered laptops during screenings, classes, etc.

  • Are there ways of reducing abuse or is it reasonable for an instructor to say ‘no laptops in class’
  • Amy wants her students using laptops sitting on the perimeter so that they don’t distract the rest of the class
  • Judy Watts mentioned that some of the students in a class complain about other students not paying attention with laptops as a big distraction
  • Laptops as a pedagogical issue – there needs to be a discussion about the use of laptops – e.g. should they be allowed in discussion sections – Holly wants etiquette that includes no browsing the web during class, no instant messaging, no Facebook – also had student cheat on midterm using technology
  • Brenda asked why each instructor doesn’t set the rules for his/her class at the beginning of the semester.

– ACTION IDEA: LIS/CTLR lunch bag noontime discussion on laptop etiquette

Will Nash (as Commons head) thinks it perfectly reasonable to help FYC’s acculturate students to Middlebury but there is a fine line between FYC’s conveying faculty expectations to new students – rather he thinks FYS is the perfect place for this – however, there is way for the Commons to come into this productively but would it’s a delicate balance to strike

IV Final thoughts:

  • Holly – word press training
  • Judy – forewarning LIS about large research projects, etc.
  • Brett – puzzling about why it is so hard to keep a departmental web page up to date and whether the new system will make this easier
  • MaryEllen – lauded Brenda for doing such a great job orienting students
  • Randy – overwhelmed by what he’s heard and thinks it will be exciting for Classics department to jump into the 21st century
  • Amy – doesn’t have a coordinator so good to know that web makeover will take place in fall
  • Will – his first meeting and intrigued by way of using the FYS to get at some systemic issues
  • Heidi – web makeover exciting but worried about expectations that faculty will keep their pages and information up to date
  • Brenda – will be doing Social Sciences group and wants to know if there are any pointers for that meeting – recommendation was to have info on web makeover ready at the outset
  • Dana – trying to figure out the Studio Art and HARC departments – it is hard to keep the information and communication lines flowing – information from the administration filters through all faculty lists or student mailings so that everyone is not always in the loop – the biggest challenge will be to keep everybody in the loop
  • Pieter – enjoyed the discussion about computers in the classroom and the issues that laptops create and it will affect his syllabi and what he tells his students about laptop etiquette – hopes that the new website will actually be easy to add content to.

Research & Technology Orientation for First-Year Students

What could be covered in research and tech orientation for first-year students?

1. Research

a) How to make use of what the Library offers in all formats—print & e-collections, NExpress, reserves, digital projects, etc.

b) How to read citations and locate material

c) How to recognize scholarly & popular publications, primary & secondary resources

d) How to evaluate information, regardless of source

e) How to cite materials—and reasons for doing so

f) How to use resources legally and ethically—avoiding plagiarism and copyright infringements

2. Tech

a) How to get tech help: HelpDesk

b) How to get to servers and shared files, the importance of backing up files: Middfiles, Classes, course pages

c) What are the wireless options on campus and how to use them: midd_secure vs midd_unplugged

d) How to protect computer from viruses

g) How to access campus network from off-campus

h) Email: College considers Midd email an official method of communication, if you use another email account then you must set up forwarding

i) General awareness:

i. Protect your identity

ii. Protect your image

iii. Protect your savings!  Don’t risk a lawsuit! Don’t share music and videos you haven’t acquired legitimately. In most cases, file-sharing to the internet is a violation of federal law if it involves copyrighted files.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 a.m., with thanks to faculty and attending LIS liaisons from the co-conveners.

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