The conclusion to our wireless network upgrade project is in sight. At the end of December, our latest configuration of the MiddleburyCollege SSID was implemented across campus. This has already been in place at our 700 Exchange Street offices for some time and the result has been positive. The final step for us is to replace Midd-standard and MCPSK with the new MiddleburyGuest network across campus on Monday, February 1st. Before then, we encourage you to work with the Helpdesk as necessary to get connected and use MiddleburyCollege from now on. (Note that if you’ve had trouble with MiddleburyCollege in the past, it’s worth trying again; we’ve significantly altered the backend infrastructure to improve connectivity. The recent change also gives us new visibility to help diagnose common connection issues.)
To help ease the transition, on Monday, January 25th we’ll be moving the Library over to the new set of SSIDs so you can see exactly what a “post-Midd-standard” world will look like. Come stop by and check it out. In fact, we recommend having your device “forget” Midd-standard altogether so you can make sure that MiddleburyCollege works in your dorm or office, too.
We’ve anticipated some questions about this project below, but feel free to ask more in the comments. For specific connection issues, please contact the Helpdesk.
When all is said and done, what will people in different situations need to do?
Short version: Middlebury College faculty, staff and students with laptops or mobile devices will use MiddleburyCollege. Most guests will see this page which will quickly get them set up to use MiddleburyGuest. Check out our new Getting Started page for exceptions and further details.
But what about my DS/Kindle/etc.? I was counting on Midd-standard or MCPSK.
Devices like Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo DS and certain models of Kindle and Nook, as well as certain shared-use business devices, need to be manually registered. (Chromecast, AppleTV and wireless printers are not supported on our network at this time.) The good news is that you can register your device right now and when the time comes, connect your device to MiddleburyGuest for Internet access. (Note that this network will not have access to Middlebury College network resources like Middfiles. If you suspect this will not meet your needs, please contact the Helpdesk as soon as possible so we can find a solution that works for everyone.)
Wireless Project Manager
As part of an ongoing project to improve our wireless infrastructure at Middlebury, we’ll be testing a new configuration in a limited area (namely, 700 Exchange Street) before we go live across campus. Here’s the plan:
- On Friday, Nov 20th, we’ll push a new configuration profile to all College-owned computers that covers both our existing infrastructure and our new one. The only change will be at the login window – if, when logging in, your laptop detects the MiddleburyCollege wireless network, it will attempt to connect first and log you in over the network. We have tested this a few different ways and it should be only a minor change in your experience.
- During our regular Sunday morning maintenance period, we will move 700ES over to the new configuration and verify that computers and other wireless devices can connect smoothly both at 700ES and when visiting the main campus where the old configuration is in effect. If there are problems, we will roll back to the current configuration and provide an update in this space.
- On Monday the 23rd, the configuration from step 1 should be in place and should allow everyone at 700ES to connect to MiddleburyCollege on their College-issued machines with a minimum of fuss. During this transitional period, we expect that you will need to re-enter your email/username and password once, and possibly again when going from 700ES to the main campus or vice versa. (Personal devices such as phones may prompt you to inspect and accept a new certificate before signing in; this is normal.) If there are any issues, you can contact the Helpdesk as usual. Rick James and Billy Sneed have also volunteered to make themselves available Monday morning to ensure concerns are addressed in a timely fashion.
- Once the dust has settled, we will make a second change at 700ES to the wireless networks. This time we will remove MCPSK and Midd-standard, and add the new MiddleburyGuest network. We anticipate that this change will take place on Monday, Nov 30th. At that time we will begin a two-week period of testing by ITS staff and others to ensure that our documentation (currently at go/draftwireless) and infrastructure are both up to standards.
- Once any issues that surface during testing are addressed, we will make the same changes on campus, with the goal of having the new infrastructure in place the week before J-term classes start.
Although we have done our best to ensure a smooth transition, it is possible that there will be issues we did not anticipate, which is why we are testing with a small group before the main rollout. Your patience and cooperation during this period is much appreciated. Most importantly, please report any Wireless connectivity problems to the Helpdesk, whether they are a result of technical issues or unclear documentation.
If you have any questions about this project, please ask them here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace and testing,
Wireless Project Manager
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.
The VPN connection between Middlebury and Monterey is seeing intermittent issues, dropping in and out. It’s being actively worked both here in Middlebury and in Monterey. This will impact all connections between the two campuses, including email and many Middlebury campus based services.
We will update this post when service has been restored.
Users of Adobe’s “Creative Cloud” products (formerly Creative Suite) may have noticed that in the Creative Cloud dashboard, there’s a prompt to “Update” any installed products to the CC 2015 editions. Although normally we recommend keeping software up-to-date, this is a major new version that comes with a few issues:
- There have been some reports of instability with the new software as compared to the 2014 editions.
- After updating from the CC dashboard, the license will not be recognized and the software will be in “trial mode”. This is an unfortunate side effect of the way Adobe does enterprise licensing.
At this point, our general recommendation is to stick with the 2014 version of your Adobe apps. We will update this post with more information as we test the new versions and establish a smooth upgrade path. In the meantime, those who wish to update to the 2015 editions (including “Adobe Acrobat Pro DC”), or have already done so, should make sure all new software that you want is installed, then update the license file. To do this, please do the following:
- Mac users should go to Self Service and run “Adobe CC 2015 License”.
- Windows users should submit a ticket with the MIDD number (on the blue sticker) of the computer in question, requesting to have the Adobe license updated.
If you have any questions, please contact the Helpdesk at 802.443.2200 or email@example.com. Thanks!
Information Technology Services
The MiddleburyCollege network went live on Tuesday, and devices of all kinds have been connecting successfully since. However, we want to give people more time to make the switch, so we will not be removing midd_secure on Monday but rather on the morning of Wednesday, March 11th. We anticipate that Midd-standard will be removed the following week as planned, with a possible delay of one to two days to allow time for those who need to move to the special MCPSK network that will be introduced on Wednesday.
Please take a moment now to connect your device to MiddleburyCollege so you won’t have anything to worry about as we retire midd_secure and Midd-standard. You may see a warning about the certificate, but it is safe to continue and connect. The most alarming warning comes from Windows 7, and looks like this:
Again, in this case it is safe to continue connecting – the certificate is valid, but some devices do not recognize it by default.
Special Note: College-owned Windows 7 laptops should not see the above certificate warning, but may see the following message:
This is misleading; if you click Close and wait 1-2 minutes, the connection should complete successfully.
If you are unsuccessful in connecting to Middlebury College after a minute or two, we suggest rebooting your device and trying again. Any warnings should only appear once – after that, your computer or device should save the configuration settings and reconnect quickly and smoothly from then on.
As usual, please direct specific issues to the Helpdesk; broad questions should be asked here so everyone can benefit from the discussion.
Middlebury College ITS
There was a minor technical issue that prevented us from making the wireless change planned for today (removing midd-unplugged and adding MiddleburyCollege). We are back on track to make the change tomorrow morning, March 3rd.
Further updates as events warrant. Please contact the Helpdesk (x2200) with any questions.
Middlebury College ITS