Weekly Web Updates – March 27, 2017

We upgraded the server that runs omeka.middlebury.edu. This server is now using the Chef server configuration tool to manage settings so that we can ensure proper change management over its setup.

The WordPress project is conducting a poll about the editor you use when writing posts:

We’ve upgraded the Google Custom Search engine used on our Drupal sites to version 2 of their API, now that version 1 is no longer supported. A few styles were cleaned up, including removal of the double underlines for links in search results, but there should be no major changes with this upgrade. Please let us know if you experience issues with search on our Drupal sites.


Fixes and Tweaks

  • Removed the field labels for the caption and subtitle fields on the Davis UWC profiles.
  • The “simple HTML” text format in the Middlebury Drupal site, used for event blurbs, now allows setting text styles, such as “fine print”.

Ongoing Work

  • Creating a new website for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
  • Building out the configuration of our  CAS servers in Chef, which is a configuration management system. We have already completed this work for our Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, GO, Omeka, and the Course Catalog services.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Integrating Panopto (streaming videos) and Canvas (LMS).

Regions Project: Charlie Hull

One of our students, Charlie Hull, came into this semester with an awesome a goal for his time abroad: visit every region of France! Here’s what Charlie has to say, accompanied by photos he took, about his project.

“Au début du semestre, j’ai décidé de visiter chacune des régions (pré-2016) de la France continentale. Comme j’ai déjà visité une grande partie de l’Europe, je voulais vraiment découvrir plus de la France. Avec l’aide d’un pass de train illimité, j’ai finalement atteint mon objectif le week-end dernier et j’ai visité toutes les 21 régions de la France.”

“At the beginning of the semester, I decided to visit each region of continental France (as determined pre-2016).  As I have already traveled a lot around Europe, I really wanted to discover more of France.  With the help of an unlimited train pass, I finally reached my goal last weekend and visited all 21 regions of France.” 

le Musée du temps à Besançon

le Halle des Sources à Vichy

un hameau dans le domaine de Chantilly

la Petite Venise à Colmar

St. Emilion

une randonnée dans les Vosges, près de Metzeral




Internship Snapshot: Cameron Flynn

Cameron Flynn, an undergraduate from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with Middlebury in Paris this semester, is currently interning with the French start up, TheaterinParis.com. TheatreinParis is unique in its genre, offering easy access to French theatre to Anglophones; their customer service goes from A to Z, from helping customers to choose the plays and or musicals of interest, to purchasing their tickets, meeting them in person to accompany them to their seats the day of the show, and ensuring English translations of the performance in question. Cameron’s enthusiasm and linguistic skills have allowed him to quickly integrate the team and to take on a variety of tasks ranging from supporting the marketing & communication team to assisting the technology team who is currently working on a new and innovating project involving the projection of translations. For more information on TheatreinParis and their activity, please see their website : http://www.theatreinparis.com/ .


Middlebury in Paris would like to thank its partner organization, EUSA France (http://www.eusainternships.org/) for the continuing quality of placements and follow up of our student interns.


Keep up the good work, Cameron!

Please welcome Melissa Floyd in her new role as a Business Analyst in ITS

We are very excited to announce that Melissa Floyd has accepted the position as a Business Analyst on the Administrative Systems Team in Enterprise Applications.  Melissa will move into her new role effective April 1st.

Melissa has been at Middlebury since November 2015 where she has worked as a Software Engineer on the Web Technologies and Services Team.   Prior to coming to Middlebury, Melissa spent 13 years at IBM filling numerous roles including Project Manager, Software Engineer, and Solutions Architect.

We are very excited to see Melissa transitioning into her new role as a Business Analyst.

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.

Student Org Profile: Community Friends

Community Friends mentors are matched with children from the greater Addison County community. Mentor-mentee pairs meet for approximately two hours each week and explore campus, grab snacks in the dining hall, play games, attend organization-wide events that Community Friends hosts, like caramel apple-decorating and pool parties; and more! A really special part of Community Friends is getting to know a child closely, and learn their interests and what activities are fun for them to do. Community Friends matches have the potential to last all four years that students are at Middlebury, so there is a really unique and wonderful bond that forms when pairs are matched for a while and get to know each other well. For students, learning about the area surrounding Middlebury from a child’s perspective can be very interesting and informative. For kids, it is fun to have a big person to spend time and talk with who is a little different from family members or teachers. For both mentors and mentees, Community Friends is an opportunity to build a friendship in a new and different way while having a fun time!

Through Community Friends, I have had the opportunity to get to know my mentee over the course of my four years at Middlebury. My mentee was five years old when we started meeting, and now when she is eight I feel like I have really had the chance to see her grow and develop different interests. My mentee and I love to do arts and crafts and explore outside, but sometimes match time is just a really nice opportunity to engage in conversation. There is something incredibly special about getting to hear about the world from a child’s perspective, and I have learned so much from my mentee. She shares with me thoughts about school, play, and more that have impacted the way that I think! I am grateful for my own experience with Community Friends, and feel so happy when I learn about other mentor-mentee pairs who have positive experiences as well.
Eleanor Fisk ’17