Advisory Groups

Language Advisory Group – Fall 2013

1. Curricular Technology (Joe)
2. Videoconferencing (Petar)

Curricular Technology

1. Discussion of  digital humanities and partnerships between CTLR, LIS, and faculty. lead by Joe Antonioli.

Joe and other members of the task-force are gathering information on how can LIS & CTLR can best meet the needs of faculty

  • What steps can LIS take to improve curricular technology services for faculty?

  • Joe’s presentation slides  illustrate the- most common uses of curricular technology by faculty.

  • According to the statistics LIS has gathered, the most common use of technology is to store and distribute files

  • The two uses of curricular technology in the German department are a website associated with the 2nd year textbook which is licensed and can be viewed by students who have purchased the textbook  and Markin – a marking software recommended by director of the German Schools Abroad.

  • The German department views their placement exam as a recruiting tool, and prefer continuation of the paper version.

  • The LIS curricular technologists are exploring mobile technology for grading

  • The SansSpace Pilot is running this year – LIS is negotiating with them and has not made a decision on whether or not to continue the service

  • This past summer there were a number of problems with the German placement exam in Moodle some people we automatically logged out before they completed the exam, in other cases the computer crashed during the exam not allowing the students to complete it. Joe will follow up with the German school director before next summer.

  • Bettina Matthias mentioned that she has asked her students in the German play this semester to create either a Facebook persona and page for their characters or to use their cellphones to further explore their character.

2. Video conferencing where are we going and what are the needs. (Petar Mitrevski)

  •  Planned as a new service on campus – an existing classroom will be made suitable for video-conferencing. There already are classrooms set up in some of Middlebury’s other locations – just not in Vermont yet.

  •  Video conferencing is in some ways similar to Skype – able to call others and collaborate – but Skype is not stable enough, and it is missing some functionality – not all students in a class can be seen on camera at a time

  • The ability to have a video conference will be open to anyone, locally here in Vermont and beyond – including Monterey and schools abroad. The platform LIS is considering will be a small piece of software, easy to install on a computer so that it could be sent to someone who might use it to appear as a virtual guest lecturer within a class.

  • The Department of the History of Art and Architecture HARC will be piloting the software in December to connect to guest lecturers

  • In the future it could be used in a language class, for instance to connect with native speakers -the Spanish Department used Skype that way in a class.

  • This past year students abroad studying Portuguese abroad called in and talked about their experiences.

  • The proposed software will be relatively easy to use in a classroom

  • Bettina Matthias mentioned that she had the students Skype with her mother last week, the proposed videoconferencing software would have worked even better, as her mother couldn’t see all the students she was talking with

  • Polycom is the name of the software LIS is considering.

  • The lecturer, or other guest will be sent a piece of software which can then be opened on a web browser. In order for the whole class to participate, the classroom will need special microphones and cameras.

  • At this point having an in class video conference would need to be arranged through Media Services. Although in the future (over the next 5 years) the hope is that with a dedicated classroom, video conferencing will become self-service.

Science Advisory Group meeting – Fall 2013

2013, November 25


  1. Curricular Technologies – Joe Antonioli
  2. Updates:
    1. Data Management – Wend Shook
    2. Computer Labs & Web Help Desk
    3. New citation guide (go/citation)
  1. Curricular Technologies – Joe Antonioli
    1. Joe presented recent statistics showing faculty use of web resources to support their teaching, as well as web resources use by course.  Moodle and WordPress offer a wide range of activities and functionality, but file sharing is by far the dominant activity (more than 16000 files in Fall ‘13).  Faculty are asked: why just file sharing?  Faculty comments included not knowing the range of what is available, whether other services would better fit their needs, and how to get training instruction with their already full schedules.  LIS/CTLR would be interested in feedback on why faculty do or do not use curricular technologies
    2. One interesting statistic showed that not all syllabi are posted on the course hub, despite this being used by nearly every student on campus (particularly at the beginning of semester). Faculty are urged to put syllabi on Course Hub as a more efficient and consistent means of reaching more students, and those present will bring it to he attention of their departments.
  2. Updates:
    1. Data Management – Wendy Shook
      1. Wendy is ready to do a soft release of a pilot data repository.  I have a web interface with
        1. visual links to browse the collection,
        2. a DMP information tab,
        3. a supporting policies tab (to simplify DMP writing), and…
        4. a data submission form.  At this point, it only collects basic metadata, and there is not a file upload button because there are size restrictions (and initially I want to have a good look at the data types and formats before I put them into the collection so I can fine tune the process).  Data that goes into the repository will be assigned a DOI – we have that capability now – that you can associate with your research (and if the published research has a DOI I can add that to the data’s metadata) so academics reading your research can find your data.
      2. The content will evolve incrementally, but the overall structure will stay the same.
      3. I am looking for datasets to put into the repository.  If you have data that you would like archived, preserved, and made accessible, please send Wendy an email.
    2. Computer Labs & WHD [channelling Mary Backus]
      1. We are actively compiling usage reports for the public labs, and it is clear that some are under-utilized – possibly because so many students simply use their own.  Question: what would be the impact of decreasing the number of computers supported in the labs? We will also cross-reference those statistics with class schedules before any conclusions are drawn. Question: what would be the impact of decreasing the number of computers supported in the labs?  This is not the plan, but merely the spark to begin a longer conversation.  What would faculty reaction be, for instance, if MBH116/117 no longer had computers, just to spark a discussion of the impact of that kind of decision.
      2. Reminder that there is a new(ish) WebHelpDesk (go/whd).  Faculty can submit their own help requests/fault reports, which will automatically be routed to the appropriate work team.  Many of the bugs have been ironed out, but steady use will improve the process, and, of course, feedback is welcome!
    3. New citation guide (go/citation) [channeling Stacy Reardon & Richard Jenkins]

Librarians have put together a new citation guide for students. The guide provides an in-depth overview of why, when, and how to cite, as well as specific advice on how to cite in APA, Chicago, MLA, and other styles. The guide was also designed as a resource for the new first year Academic Honesty Tutorial. Because the guide is new, we are seeking student and faculty feedback on how the guide can be improved. Please send suggestions to Wendy. You can add the link ‘go/citation’ to your course syllabus or website to encourage your students to use it

Arts & Humanities Advisory Group – Fall 2013 Meeting Notes

In attendance: Steve Bertolino, co-convener (LIS), Jason Mittell, co-convener (FMMC), Dana Yeaton (THEA), Mary Ellen Bertolini (WRPR/CTLR), John Bertolini (ENAM), Rebekah Irwin (LIS), Joe Antonioli (LIS), Joy Pile (LIS), Brenda Ellis (LIS)

1. Curricular Technology (Joe)
2. Digital Humanities (Jason & Rebekah)
(3. Videoconferencing (Steve for Petar) – not gotten to)

1. Curricular Technology
Joe shared statistics of faculty use of various Hub and LMS technologies, comparing between Fall 2012 and Fall 2013. Use of most curricular tech has increased, especially in Moodle, though use of Middfiles has decreased. WordPress has remained approximately the same.

Joe brought up how many faculty do post a syllabus to the Hub but a minority still do not, and queried assembled faculty on ideas why. A lengthy discussion followed. Various aspects of the process were brought up:
–Some faculty want or need their syllabi to be dynamic, and they make changes during the semester which the students need to know about. The Hub can help with this, as it alerts students to changes since the last time the student logged into the Hub.
–Some faculty have a static syllabus, which also works with syllabus upload feature (PDF format), or can work in Moodle.
–Some faculty email a syllabus directly to students, which may or may not work as well as the Hub for them.
–Some faculty still give paper copies of syllabi and find students like this.

The discussion then turned to the question of whether encouragement for faculty to post syllabi to the Hub/Moodle is coming from students. Various opinions were given, based on anecdotal experience from both faculty and staff. There was general agreement that often students don’t have a specific preference but want to see consistency from faculty. Further, it was agreed that students want to be given reasons why a faculty member is choosing the option they take, especially when it’s an online option. It was briefly discussed how this student preference extends to online assignments as well.

Joe floated an idea about having academic roundtables (perhaps in the spring, or another time) centered around faculty practice instead of LIS/CTLR programs. For example, instead of having a roundtable discussing “curricular tech” or “the liaison program,” having a roundtable whose topic was “digital identity” and have various faculty showcase projects they’ve used in the classroom about that topic, addressing whatever parts of LIS/CTLR they have utilized. Discussion followed, mostly of faculty riffing on the basic idea and considering adaptations to current structures, including ideas like a tech fair focused on how to use various software, a story archive for faculty to share/read about other faculty’s attempts in the classroom, and split presentations by LIS/CTLR staff which include a section on ideology & pedagogy followed by a section demo-ing the tech involved with faculty choosing to come to one or both sections. It was emphasized by both Joe and Jason that no one should be mandating that faculty need to use technology in the classroom or to regulate “how much” they can use, but that whatever is done by LIS/CTLR has to appeal to the broad range of faculty attitudes towards technology, from early adopters to casual experimenters to those interested but unsure how to explore to those who would prefer not to explore. Mary Ellen noted that technology discussions also have to have a component of being aware that many tenure-track faculty are justly worried that a failed curricular tech experiement or two will result in lower student feedback and affect tenure review.

At the end of the discussion, a question about hearing that LIS was exploring streaming video for curricular use came up, and LIS staff on the Curricular Technology Team present gave a brief confirmation and noted the potential uses of streaming video in the classroom, while emphasizing that LIS is barely at the beginning stage of exploring this.

2. Digital Humanities
Jason and Rebekah spoke about Digital Scholarship/Digital Humanities, which is slowly becoming branded at Middlebury as “digital liberal arts.” They are applying for a Mellon grant to make, somewhere in Davis Family Library, a digital liberal arts “lab” which would operate in support of faculty who wanted to pursue digital liberal arts scholarship. Where this would be located physically in DFL is an open question, as are any staffing questions. Another idea may be to explore “remote hubs” of smaller lab spaces across campus, perhaps in Axinn or Armstrong Library.

A clearer definition of digital liberal arts scholarship was asked for in practical terms.
–Digital liberal arts scholarship uses digital tools to investigate and circulate humanistic scholarship.
Potential examples:
–GIS for historical analysis
–data mining on literary texts
–video and audio for scholarly dissemination/presentation of research
–open access publishing of research
–digital methods of analyzing existing scholarship

Jason noted that a benefit of digital liberal arts would be in helping faculty in the humanities and arts find ways to collaborate with students. Such collaborations already exist in social science and hard sciences departments. Another goal is to be able to offer scholars outside of Middlebury with sabbatical year fellowships to the digital liberal arts lab which would include funds for collaborating with students and for staffing support.

Rebekah spoke about ideas for Special Collections to become more of a workable space for both digitization efforts (perhaps as another “remote hub”) and as a regular classroom space for classes designed to work with Special Collections materials.

As by this point we were about 10 minutes over time for the meeting, further discussion was tabled.

Proposed Agenda Items for Fall 2013

Faculty choose which topics will be discussed at their meetings. A list of potential topics for this fall’s meetings is below. We invite faculty to request topics not on the list too. We hope that most if not all of the groups will meet before the end of November.

All groups will discuss:

  • Curricular technology support [Joe A] – CTLR and LIS have been asked by the academic administration to explore ways in which the support for curricular technology and digital scholarship can be integrated into the overall work of faculty development within the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research. The CTLR-LIS Task Force on Academic Technologies plans to spend the fall looking internally at our current practices, and also exploring how other schools have approached this. The group would like to hear feedback from faculty.

All groups may choose additional agenda items from this list (or offer other suggestions):

  1. Wireless [Billy Sneed] – Faculty, please let us know what you’d like to hear about. Some ideas to consider: Stats on usage, advice on how to request better coverage, description of recent upgrades and future plans.
  2. Potential reduction in number of computer labs and/or  computers in each lab [Mary Backus] – We want to look at usage patterns, and also at alternative ways of providing access to software and computational resources. One goal is to make sure that we aren’t overspending on computer labs in an era when more students are doing their work on their own laptops. We need to understand the possible impacts on the curriculum of these potential shifts.
  3. Analog Sunset [Petar] – (Some groups already discussed this last year.) Goodbye VHS, goodbye LaserDisc, hello digital video recording and more. We can provide updates and answer questions.
  4. Citation and Style Guide for students [Carrie] – This fall, we revamped our Citation and Style Guide for students. We now provide more examples on how to cite sources, and more advice on when and why to cite. We also removed a lot of extraneous information. The guide can be used on its own, or as a supplement to the new Academic Honesty Tutorial. We’d like to hear your feedback. You can take a look in advance:
  5. Time to resolve computer issues [Mary Backus] – We have moved to a new incident tracking system called Web Help Desk. You can now submit incident tickets through the web, check on the status and history of your technology issues, and access a knowledgebase of known issues and troubleshooting steps to resolve common issues. We hope you find this new service allows us to resolve your technology issues more quickly, and allows you to keep track of the status of your technology requests more conveniently. We would like to hear your feedback.
  6. Data management [Wendy] – Wendy will bring us up to date on the status of science data management, data management planning, and a pilot data repository in the making. Questions and comments welcome.
  7. Videoconferencing [Petar] – The College has set a goal to strongly support academic departments to venture into videoconferencing. We will provide updates, and we would like to hear your thoughts. Are there any problems right now with videoconferencing on campus? How might you use videoconferencing?
  8. Online registration [Dave Ludwig — and we would hope to include staff from the Registrar’s Office too] – Historically, the course registration process has experienced numerous and repetitive problems. Since 2011, much work has been done to improve the Banner system as a whole, but also the registration process specifically. We would like to determine how much our efforts have resulted in a noticeable improvement, and whether (to the extent that faculty may be aware) there is still frustration with poor performance issues.

Arts & Humanities Advisory Group – Spring 2013 Meeting Notes

In attendance: Steve Bertolino, co-convener (LIS), Louisa Stein, co-convener (FMMC), Jeff Buettner (MUSC), Rebekah Irwin (LIS), Terry Simpkins (LIS), Carrie Macfarlane (LIS)

1. MISO survey results (Carrie)
2. Ebooks strategies (Rebekah)

Because the meeting was sparsely attended, the notes reflect only the takeaway points from our general discussions, rather than a blow-by-blow account.

1. MISO results
A. We should plan a “Moodle pedagogy” session for faculty to come together and share how they’re using Moodle, with that “show & tell” being the primary purpose for meeting (ie. have faculty, not LIS folks, presenting)
B. Jeff and Louisa both noted that they use their liaisons for their own research needs as well as direct students to them, though they do think faculty can direct students more often to liaisons, and liaisons can do more to remind/encourage faculty about this.
C. Louisa mentioned it may be helpful to have liaisons send emails to faculty if/when there is a good time during the semester for book/serial ordering.

2. Ebooks
A. Jeff was part of the e-textbook pilot, and said it saved students money, but he didn’t have a great experience with it and wouldn’t do it again. He said some students he talked to didn’t like using the e-textbook either, even with the savings.
B. A side question came up of the possibility of storing media and streaming media via institutional support.
C. Louisa was interested if faculty can see the publishers included in LIS’s approval list for both print and ebook automatic purchases. Faculty are indeed welcome to these if they want; Steve and Rebekah will follow up with anyone who asks.

Sciences Advisory Group – Notes from Spring 2013 meeting

The Sciences Advisory Group met on May 15, 2013.

Attending: Carrie Macfarlane, Wendy Shook, Petar Mitrevski, Terry Simpkins (notes), Bryan Carson, Bob Cluss, Rick Bunt, Vickie Backus, Susan Watson, Catherine Combelles, Daniel Scharstein, Hans Raum, Joe Antonioli, Bill Hegman

The topics of this meeting were:

  • Analog Sunset
  • MISO Survey Follow-up
  • Comments from Biology Department
  • Update on data management
  • Updates from fall meeting


Continue reading

Social Sciences Advisory Group – Fall 2012 Meeting Notes

LIS Social Science Advisory Group Meeting, December 11, 2012

Attending:  Bert Johnson (co-convenor), Kemi Fuentes-George, David Stoll, Shel Sax, Joe Antonioli, Richard Jenkins, Carrie Macfarlane, Brenda Ellis (co-convenor/notes)


  • LIS Liaison Program Effectiveness
  • Curricular Technology Support
  • Information Desk Replacement Continue reading