Tag Archives: For Staff

The DIRT | Dec 10 News from the Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry

Digital Detox 2019 to Focus on Bias & Inclusion in Digital Spaces

Written by Sarah Lohnes Watulak

Digital Detox 2019 - Bias and Inclusion in Digital Spaces

The Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) is excited to announce our second annual Digital Detox.

In DLINQ, we look holistically at “the digital” in our lives and in our educational environments. This means we examine the promises and the risks of how we use digital tools, how those tools impact various facets of our lives and interactions, and the increasingly blurred edges between physical and digital realms.

Digital Detox is an initiative to reduce the toxicity of our personal digital environments and how we engage with them. The theme of this year’s Detox is Inclusion and Bias in Digital Spaces. When you sign up to participate in the Detox, you’ll receive a twice-weekly email newsletter in January and early February with actionable strategies for reducing exclusion, increasing inclusion, and combating bias in digital spaces. Topics include data and digital redlining, radical listening in digital spaces, critically considering tools, confronting the invisible digital divide in higher ed, and more! By mindfully taking on this detox, you will begin to develop critical and healthy habits in digital spaces.

Digital Detox 2019 is created in partnership with DLINQ’s Inclusive Design studio.

Fourth Edition of “Small Moves” Instructional Design Blog Series by Heather Stafford

Teacher’s Desk – Linn School, by Todd Petrie

Heather Stafford continues her blog series to dig deeper into some of the small moves that were discussed during her October 25th online workshop ‘Student-Centered Course Design Using Canvas.’ In the series Heather shares activities and design elements that faculty can implement to amplify connectivity of a class.

In the forth edition of the series, Heather features the practice of establishing virtual office hours with a combination of Canvas’ scheduler and Zoom web conferencing tools.

Amy Collier Hosts Digital Fluencies Workshop on Misinformation, Bots and Sockpuppets

Written by Bob Cole

On Tuesday, December 4th, Amy Collier facilitated a workshop titled “Misinformation & Bots/Sockpuppets” as part of Middlebury’s Digital Fluencies series, co-sponsored by the DLA, CTLR, Davis Family Library, and DLINQ. The session invited participants to explore the following questions: What role do bots (automated fake social media accounts) and sockpuppets (human-operated fake social media accounts) play in our digital information environments? How do you spot a bot or sockpuppet and try understand their influence? How do human, non-human and hybrid actors infiltrate our digital “public” spheres, and how might we combat them? 

During the session Amy situated the wicked challenge of dis/misinformation within the context of our current digital information sphere which is heavily consolidated among a few big tech companies (e.g. Facebook, Google, Twitter) and primarily driven by their commercial interests. The work of “bad bots” (BTW they’re not all bad) and the goal of active disinformation campaigns is to hack the public’s attention in order to sow doubt, erode trust, polarize, destabilize, and radicalize. Amy noted that while propaganda is not a new phenomenon in the United States, what’s different about what we are seeing today is the massive reach that these forces can have, especially when they are activated in heavily siloed social media platforms accessed by hundreds of millions of people around the world. The impact of coordinated dis/misinformation is even more pronounced as our information spaces have become equated to our personal identities, what we believe, and how we feel.

The metaphor of environmental pollution guides Amy’s approach to talking about the effects of dis/misinformation in our lives and is foundational to the work of DLINQ’s Information Environmentalism Studio. Through inquiry and exploration we can move beyond a sense of learned helplessness about the toxic state of our information environments. We can work together to develop new critical habits like fact-checking and bot-spotting to raise our awareness of the influence of algorithms in our information spaces. Ultimately, however, Amy suggests that to reclaim the web we are going to have to place more pressure on platforms to change policies. The commercial platforms will not make moves to change until they see an impact on their bottom line.

A few resources mentioned from the workshop:

How Hate Groups Forced Online Platforms to Reveal Their True Nature, John Hermann, New York Times

Congressedits Bot, Wikipedia

Information environmentalism research: Fake accounts and mis/disinformation on Pinterest, Amy Collier, DLINQ’s Information Environmentalism Studio

Russia is gearing up to misinform the U.S. public about Syria. Here’s our cheat sheet to identify Twitter trolls. Jack O. Nassetta and Ethan P. Fecht, Washington Post

Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Oxford University Press 

The Digital Fluencies Series investigates what it means to develop more critical facility with digital technologies. Faculty, students, and staff are all welcome to participate regardless of digital skills. Learn more about the series at go/digitalfluencies.

Dig Deeper:
Under the pavement, the dirt is dreaming of grass.

― Wendell Berry

Featured image Weston Beach by James Ting

The DIRT for December 3-7, 2018

Teaching Online & Hybrid Conversation Series Hones in on Building Community in Digital Spaces with Dr. Bonnie Stewart

Written by Amy Slay
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
On Monday, December 3rd, DLINQ welcomed Dr. Bonnie Stewart for our forth Teaching Online and Hybrid Conversation Series session, Building a Community of Learners Online. Dr Stewart is an Assistant Professor of Online Pedagogy and Workplace Learning at the University of Windsor, Ontario. In her research, she investigates how knowledge, power, and technology intersect with and impact education. Stewart led an engaging conversation with Middlebury faculty and staff about participatory learning, sharing frameworks and strategies we can use to design and foster online spaces that are true learning communities. For those unable to join the discussion, we recorded introductory remarks as well as Dr. Stewart’s slideshow that helped to frame the discussion. This video, as well as notes captured from the session (which include links to resources), may be accessed on the Teaching Hybrid & Online Initiative page on the DLINQ website. As the end of term approaches, stay tuned for announcements of more sessions and other DLINQ events planned for next year. If there is a specific topic about teaching and learning online that you think should be included in the series, let us know!

Third Edition of “Small Moves” Instructional Design Blog Series by Heather Stafford

Heather Stafford continues her blog series to dig deeper into some of the small moves that were discussed during her October 25th online workshop ‘Student-Centered Course Design Using Canvas.’ In the series Heather shares activities and design elements that faculty can implement to amplify connectivity of a class. In the third edition of the series, Heather features the use of the ungraded survey in Canvas as a tool for collecting learner feedback at different stages of a class to help inform adjustments to teaching. Keep an eye out for future posts in the series in coming weeks.

Pilot XR Studio Hosts Idea Exchange

Written by Bob Cole

On Friday, November 30 a handful of students, staff, faculty and guests met in the College’s Wilson Media Lab and the Institute’s Digital Learning Commons to network, share projects, and exchange ideas on the use of virtual, augmented, mixed and extended reality technologies. DLINQ’s Joe Antonioli in Vermont and Bob Cole in California hosted simultaneous meet-ups at each site to further promote the pilot effort to develop an XR Studio connecting people, resources, and practices that are exploring these emerging media and their transformative potential for teaching and learning. To create opportunities for cross-institutional connections, the two labs were joined together via Zoom providing glimpses into the spaces and a productive channel for discussion. During the first half of the session guests at each site were able to interact with one another and share examples of explorations they are engaged in. Some highlights included hands-on time with the Geology department’s Augmented Reality Sandbox, a Spanish professor’s use of Google Tilt Brush for students to create representations of literary themes like the apocalypse and power, an environmental policy professor’s prototypes of interactive visualizations of coastal sea-level rise due to climate change, and virtual 3D renderings of North Korean missiles developed by research scholars at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. During the second half of the session, the groups discussed the potential value in working with XR technologies for teaching, research, and creativity. Some of the affordances mentioned were the ability to reach new public audiences through these new media, the potential to create immersive virtual environments that simulate real world situations, visualizing abstract or difficult concepts, exploring issues of digital embodiment, and offering alternative ways to explore and reflect on course content through immersive virtual experiences or real time social VR situations. As a follow-up the groups shared their thoughts on the opportunities and resources we might begin to leverage to support creative development with XR. Some initial next moves that were recommended included establishing some shared collaborative spaces for further idea, knowledge, and partnership opportunity sharing. More pictures from the session below – if you are interested in learning more about XR resources or joining the conversation get in touch with us at dlinq at middlebury.edu

Dig Deeper:

Gold’s father is dirt, yet it regards itself as noble.” ― Yiddish Proverb

Featured Image by freddie marriage on Unsplash

The DIRT for November 26-30, 2018

Internationalizing Web Literacy E-Book Project Crowdsourcing Translations

Written by Alice Wu, Globe Multilingual Services
Globe Team from left to right: Max, Nika, Jessica, Alina, Alice
As we reported in the late June edition of the DIRT the Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry is partnering with Middlebury Institute’s Globe Multilingual Services to internationalize (translate and localize) Mike Caulfield’s open source e-book, Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. The target languages include: French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Ukrainian. The final translations will be uploaded to Pressbooks, the site where the current English version of the book is being hosted. Since the beginning of the fall semester, the Globe team has been busy recruiting volunteer translators from language schools across the U.S. and abroad. The response from universities has been enthusiastic, and the team is planning to ramp up recruitment even further moving into December. The team recently set up an instance of their open source crowdsourcing platform for translation and they are currently testing a multilingual WordPress site using the WPML multilingual plugin to enable content availability in multiple languages. The team has also secured a grant from Middlebury to host translation nights at the Institute starting November 26. “Translation Night at MIIS” will be a weekly gathering where graduate student translators will contribute translations to the Web Literacy project while enjoying pizza. Web Literacy’s Globe team includes a diverse group of graduate students in the Translation and Localization Management Program (TLM) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Their roles are as follows: Alice: Account Manager, Chinese Project Manager Nika: Marketing Manager, French Project Manager Jessica: Technical Lead, Italian and Spanish Project Manager Alina: Terminology Manager, Ukrainian Project Manager Members are responsible for managing all aspects of the project including logistics and technical issues while the project managers for specific languages recruit talent for their respective languages, domestically and abroad. For more detailed project updates, see the team’s Facebook page, or get in touch with Marketing Manager, Nika Allahverdi [nallahverdi at miis.edu]

Second Edition of “Small Moves” Instructional Design Blog Series by Heather Stafford

University Bridge by Brandon Giesbrect, cc licensed on flickr at https://flic.kr/p/avDHs9Heather Stafford continues her blog series to dig deeper into some of the small moves that were discussed during her October 25th online workshop ‘Student-Centered Course Design Using Canvas.’ In the series Heather shares activities and design elements that faculty can implement to amplify connectivity of a class. In the second edition of the series, Heather features the use of multimedia and interactive discussion tools in Canvas to build social capital among and with students. Keep an eye out for future posts in the series in coming weeks.

Librarian Presence in Canvas

Written by Kristen Cardoso and Bob Cole
As Middlebury Institute’s User Experience Librarian, Kristen Cardoso is passionate about improving learning experience for graduate students in Monterey. With the Institute moving towards developing more hybrid and online short-term programs, Kristen and her colleagues have begun thinking about how the Institute’s library could best serve students who may be away from campus. She notes, “…my colleagues and I have done a lot to improve the library’s physical spaces for students; however, our user experience work with regards to the library’s digital spaces have been mostly limited to our website and the library catalog.” Library staff help students through email and over the phone (and very rarely, even through their Facebook page). To transform Library services, she adds “…we knew we were going to have to find a way to provide online the warm, welcoming, and personal service that we currently offer in person.” After discussing the idea and the platform requirement for having librarians embedded into Canvas courses with Bob Cole, Kristen agreed to run a mini-pilot with the two sections of EDUC 8510: Educational Research Methods, currently being taught by Netta Avineri and Deniz Ortactepe. The pilot started about mid-way through the semester, but so far, the results are encouraging. Kristen began by posting an announcement in one section’s Canvas site and posting to the discussion board in the other, and then sending out an email through Canvas to everyone in both sections. Kristen also posted a brief instructional video and created a Library Resources & Tips folder. Acknowledging the positive response to her virtual presence in the courses, Kristen reports that “several students responded to my presence in Canvas, although most of them chose to come and see me in person for help! I’ve helped several students with APA formatting, using our databases, and writing a literature review.” After checking in with the professors, they decided there would be value to also visit the class in-person. This connection led to good discussions about open access publishing and citing sources using tools like Zotero. In the future, Kristen thinks that embedding librarians into Canvas courses from the beginning of the term could be really beneficial and create opportunities for librarians to connect with students taking classes in Monterey or remotely. Inspired by DLINQ’s recent Teaching Online & Hybrid conversation series event on humanizing online learning, one idea Kristen would recommend to further establish librarian presence would be the addition of a personal, introductory video so students can get to know her.

Dig Deeper:

“If you see a whole thing – it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives… But up close a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.” ― Ursula K. LeGuin, author

Featured Image by Oli Gibbs on Unsplash

Change in payroll deadlines for the LAST payroll of 2018 and the FIRST payroll of 2019

The College will be closed for the December break beginning at 5:01pm on Friday, December 21, 2018 through 11:59pm on Tuesday, January 1, 2019. The following changes have been made to the time entry and time approval deadlines.


Deadline for submitting AND approving time- Friday, 12/14/18 at NOON (12:00pm)

Remember to submit your time prior to NOON to allow supervisors adequate time to approve timesheets; please note, the pay period is12/03/18 -12/16/18 and does not include any Holiday Time.

  • Paychecks* will be delivered through regular campus mail on Friday, 12/21/18
  • Paychecks* and direct deposits will be dated Friday, 12/21/18


Deadline for submitting AND approving time – Thursday, 12/20/18 at NOON (12:00pm)

Remember to submit your time prior to NOON to allow supervisors adequate time to approve timesheets; please note, the pay period is 12/17/18-12/30/18 and does include Holiday time.

  • Paychecks* will be delivered through regular campus mail on Friday, 1/04/19
  • Paychecks* and direct deposits will be dated Friday, 1/04/19

Holiday pay time entry procedures go/middpoints

*Sign up for direct deposit go/payroll/direct deposit

 Please inform all your staff of this change in the payroll schedule

Payroll/Human Resources


The DIRT for November 19-23, 2018

The Shape of Gratitude

Screenshot of DLINQ staff - hand turkeys The weekly DIRT news and updates is on brief hiatus this week as the Middlebury community in the United States takes a breath to gather with friends and family in recognition of Thanksgiving. In our monthly all hands meeting last week we created a little space before we said goodbye for team members to channel their inner five year old. There were smiles and laughter across our web conference as we traced our hands and outfitted our gratitude turkeys with balloons, hearts, bandanas, hashtags, hats, stars, tails, and feathers. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. Wherever you are, we hope you too find some time to reflect on and share the many shapes that gratitude takes in your life. See you next Tuesday! Featured Image by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

Holiday Pay Time Entry Reminder for 2018-19

horn-o-plentysnowmanHere is a review of procedures regarding time entry during the November and December breaks, as well as for Martin Luther King Day.  Hourly (non-exempt) employees must use specific pay codes to record time during the designated breaks. Exempt (salaried) employees do not have use special codes since the appropriate number of days for each of the breaks will default in as Holiday Pay.

The 2018-19 holiday schedule is:

Thanksgiving Break: 5:01 p.m. Wednesday, November 21, through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, November 24 (regular operations resume Sunday, November 25.)

December Break: 5:01 p.m. Friday, December 21 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, January 1 (regular operations resume Wednesday, January 2, 2019)

Martin Luther King Day: 5:01 p.m. Sunday, January 20 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, January 21 (regular operations resume Tuesday, January 22, 2019)

Hourly Employees:  There are two pay codes – Holiday Pay and Holiday Premium Pay – that are used only during the designated holiday periods:

Holiday Pay (HOL): a benefit that is provided by Middlebury College to keep benefit-eligible employees’ pay whole without having to use CTO during designated holiday periods. It is not intended to provide extra pay: HOL, which pays at an employee’s regular hourly rate, is to be entered for normally scheduled hours by non-exempt benefit eligible employees on days during the specified holiday break periods whether or not they work.  For the Thanksgiving break, up to two days may be entered, for the December break, up to six days may be used, and for Martin Luther King Day, one day may be used.  Employees who work variable or flexible schedules should coordinate entry of HOL with their supervisor to determine the appropriate number of HOL hours.

Holiday Pay Premium (HPP): a benefit that pays eligible non-exempt employees extra for working during the designated holiday periods. HPP, which pays at time-and-a-half the employee’s base hourly rate, is to be used by all eligible employees for hours worked during the specified holiday break periods. A limited number of part-time non-benefit eligible employees (such as those who work at the Snow Bowl, as the Snow Bowl is open for regular business during the December break) are not eligible for HPP. Please speak with your supervisor or Human Resources if you have questions regarding your status or eligibility for HPP.

Who Worked on a Holiday Who Did Not Work on a Holiday
Hourly benefit-eligible staff Enter Holiday Pay for any normally scheduled hours AND Enter Holiday Pay Premium for hours actually worked.* Enter Holiday Pay for any normally scheduled hours.
Hourly non-benefit-eligible staff Enter Holiday Pay Premium for hours actually worked.* No action needed.
Hourly non-benefit-eligible staff in positions designated as ineligible for HPP Enter Regular for hours actually worked.* No action needed.
Salaried, exempt staff No action needed. No action needed.  Holiday Pay code will default in during payroll.

* Remember to enter hours on the correct shift.

Please contact Human Resources if you have additional questions regarding time entry of HOL or HPP.


Q: I understand that holiday pay is for benefit eligible staff. However, I had coordinated with my supervisor and indeed worked during Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving. Can I enter the hours normally in this case?

A: Worked hours during the holiday breaks should be entered as Holiday Pay Premium (HPP) by all non-exempt staff, whether or not they are benefits-eligible. The only exception would be Snow Bowl non-benefits eligible employees during the December break, since, unlike the rest of the campus, the Snow Bowl is open for business.

Q: I am a benefits-eligible employee who normally works Tues-Sat; how would I enter time for the Thanksgiving break if I am off Thursday and Friday, then work Saturday? Would I get three days of holiday pay?

A: Remember, the maximum holiday pay benefit is two days for the Thanksgiving break, so you would have to use CTO for one of the three days if you were off all three days.  If you work on Saturday, you would enter holiday pay premium for the hours if you work, but it wouldn’t be necessary to enter CTO since you would receive two days of holiday pay for Thursday and Friday.

Q: I normally work Sunday through Thursday; how would I enter my hours for the Thanksgiving break?

A: You would enter holiday time for Thursday, and nothing for Friday and Saturday since you would not normally be scheduled to work on those days. Sunday would be regular hours, or CTO if you did not work.