Take a book, leave a book

Last month the CIS management team met with our student staff to gather feedback about our services. One of the ideas that came out of the meeting waHuge_pile_of_bookss to start a “Take a Book/Leave a Book” lending library in the Learning Studio so that students could have access to books to browse and read (and our bookshelves wouldn’t look so lonely and empty). We all thought it was a great idea so we’ve gone ahead and started it up. It’s located in the Learning Studio on the ground floor of Sprague on the shelves behind the elevator.

Now it’s up to you! Stop on by to browse for a book to read or to contribute your own gently-used books. It’s open to students, faculty and staff and both fiction and non-fiction books are welcome.

Spring 2013 Schedule for A Bite of Learning

Bite of Learning logoThe schedule for the Spring 2013 A Bite of Learning series has been finalized. We’re looking forward to a great series of talks by speakers both from HMC and from outside the campus. For example, Jane Manning, Manager of Online Course Production and Platforms from the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning at Stanford University, has agreed to reprise her excellent presentation on MOOCs from the Saddle Rock Board of Trustees retreat. Liam Robinson (HMC ’06), Kenneth Asare will be presenting on a start-up project they co-founded called Study-Date.com. Henry Neeman, Director of the OU Supercomputing Center for Education & Research at the University of Oklahoma, will be speaking on “Supercomputing in Plain English.”

Sara Lowe from Honnold/Mudd Library will be presenting results from a 2012 student survey on student perceptions of technology and the library. We’re also looking forward to Paul Steinberg (Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts) bringing us up to date on the progress of his Social Rules project. Nancy Lape (Mathematics) and Darryl Yong (Mathematics), along with their co-researchers Karl Haushalter (Chemistry), Rachel Levy (Mathematics), and Jacqueline Dresch (Mathematics), will be presenting on their experiments with the flipped classroom model at HMC. Nancy and Darryl also presented at the Saddle Rock retreat and their presentation generated a great deal of discussion.

You can find the full schedule of presentations on our web site at http://www.hmc.edu/bol/. We’ve also begun posting videos of the presentations from the Fall 2012 series so if you missed a presentation please check our web site. We’d love to hear your feedback too. You can fill out our feedback survey at http://www.hmc.edu/bol-feedback.

And if you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet, please do so at http://www.facebook.com/ABiteOfLearning.

Recent Changes to Sakai at The Claremont Colleges

Sakai logoOur new Sakai administrator at Pomona, Sanghyun Jeon, has gotten off to a roaring start. After familiarizing herself with The Claremont Colleges’ installation of Sakai and with our policies and procedures, she has begun working on the long list of fixes and new features that the Sakai Administration Team has been compiling.

One important change affects the behavior of the add/drop scripts that synchronize Sakai with the student information system. In the past students who had been inactivated in a course because they had dropped it or because they were added to the site before officially registering for the course, would not be automatically re-activated when they re-added the course or officially registered. That behavior has been changed. Students will now be automatically re-activated when they re-add a course or officially register for the course in the student information system. This should result in a lot less frustration for students and faculty and the CIS Help Desk alike!

Two of the most important bug fixes are fixes to the Manage Groups and the Section Info tool. The Manage Groups tool is used to create ad-hoc groups of participants and is located in the Site Info tool of each site. It had a bug that caused it to generate an error when one of the participants in the site was inactive. The only work-around was to delete all inactive users. This bug has now been fixed and inactive participants in a site will no longer cause the Manage Groups tool to generate an error.

The Section Info tool is very similar to Manage Groups, but has the useful feature of being able to assign Teaching Assistants to individual sections. At HMC it’s been a useful tool for ubercourse sites where the instructors wanted a combined course site for all of the sections of their course, but still wanted to be able to grade by individual sections. This tool has been broken since we upgraded to Sakai 2.7. This tool has also been fixed and no longer crashes when a user tries to create a Sakai section.

A new feature that has been implemented is the Check Quota tool in the Sakai Resources tool. Site Instructors and Maintainers can now check how much of their site quota they have used. Users who have Maintain or Instructor role in a site can go to the Resources tool and click “Check Quota” to find out how much of their quota they have used. The default quota for a Sakai site is 2GB. This amount can be increased if needed.

We’ll keep you posted as new bug fixes and changes are implemented.



Fall 2012 Bite of Learning Schedule

The schedule for the Fall 2012 Bite of Learning series has been finalized. We’ve got an exciting series of presentations lined up this fall. You can see the entire schedule on the Bite of Learning web site at http://www.hmc.edu/bol, but here’s a sneak preview. You can look forward to sessions on the use of Piazza to answer student questions by Chris Stone in the CS department, an introduction to the field of Digital Humanities by Jacqueline Wernimont from Scripps, and exploring your musical creativity with software called Impro-Visor by Bob Keller in CS. The ETMS staff will also be presenting this Fall. Jeho Park will talk about the XSEDE high performance computing resource. James Sadler will talk about our experiments with lecture capture software and hardware this past year, and I’ll be demonstrating a Google Apps tool called Appointment Slots for making office hours appointments. However, I expect our most popular presentation this semester will be a presentation by Matt Construction on using computer modeling in building construction. I’ve been promised a 3-D fly-through of the new TLB building. So keep your eye out for our Bite of Learning announcements and hope to see you there!

We’ve also got a brand new Facebook page for the series at http://www.facebook.com/ABiteOfLearning/. We’ll be posting announcements there as well as photos and videos. We’re also hoping to be able to continue some of the great discussions that we have at the end of our presentations there. So please “Like” us on Facebook!

Fall Semester 2012 Reminders

 Fall Semester 2012 Reminders

Dear faculty,

Here are a few reminders about IT services for the Fall Semester.

CIS Help Desk
The Help Desk is located in the Learning Studio on the ground floor of Sprague. The hours are 8am-5pm, including lunch hour. Please send a support request via our request form or send us email at helpdesk@hmc.edu or call us at (909) 607 7777.


Course Mailing Lists
You should have received an email message about the course mailing lists that you own. For any questions or help with mailing lists, please contact the Help Desk.


Sakai Updates
Fall 2012 courses have been created and populated with students and faculty. As a reminder, we are now running imports from the student information system three times per day (rather than once a night!) to add students as they add courses, and will also inactivate students who drop courses.


Learning Studio Classroom Reservation
You can view and request reservations for the Fletcher Jones Classroom in the Learning Studio in VEMS. The advantage to using VEMS is that you can see right away whether the classroom is available. You can find VEMS at http://emsweb.claremont.edu/HMC/. You can also contact the Help Desk or F&M for reservations.


Course Mudd Shots
Course Mudd Shots have been updated for the semester. They are available at http://www.internal.hmc.edu/dir/courses/. The pages are restricted to the HMC network only, so if you are off-campus, please connect to the VPN first.


VPN (Virtual Private Network)
We would like to remind you about the availability of the VPN. The VPN software allows you to connect to the HMC network to use HMC and Claremont-only resources when connecting to the Internet via an ISP. The VPN also encrypts network traffic, so if you are connecting to an unknown or potentially unsafe network, logging onto the VPN first will encrypt all traffic going through the potentially unsafe network.  Visit http://vpn.claremont.edu and select the GROUP as HMC-LDAP.  Log in with the same username and password you use to access Sakai (but without the @hmc at the end of your username).


AudioVisual Requests
To request an audiovisual setup for your class please use our AudioVisual Setup Request form at http://www.formstack.com/forms/hmc-avrequest. We appreciate at least 24 hours advance notice.

Have a good semester!

2012 Sakai Conference

Sakai conference logoLast month I attended the 2012 annual Sakai conference in Atlanta, GA along with a cohort of my colleagues from Pomona College. This year the conference was a little different in that it was held jointly with the Jasig Community. Jasig is similar to the Sakai Foundation in that it sponsors a number of open-source projects for higher education. They include uPortal, an open-source web portal; CAS, an open-source authentication system; Bedework, an open-source enterprise calendar system; and uMobile, an initiative to bring campus content to mobile devices.

At last year’s conference it was announced that the Sakai Foundation and Jasig were proposing a merger between the two communities. The two communities will be voting on the proposal in the near future. Certainly, holding a joint conference was a great way to show how a merger could be mutually beneficial. I attended several Jasig sessions and could see many areas where collaboration would be very helpful, for example in the area of developing a mobile Sakai.

At this year’s conference, developers were showing off version 1.3 of Sakai OAE (Open Academic Environment). Sakai OAE is being developed in tandem with Sakai CLE (Collaborative Learning Environment) which is the version that we are currently using at The Claremont Colleges. Sakai OAE is focused more on content creation and sharing. The new version has impressive drag-and-drop features for content creation and was very well received by the conference attendees.

I attended many interesting sessions. Among the highlights: using the Evaluation System tool for online course evaluations, common pitfalls in the Gradebook tool, integrating Google calendars into Sakai, and using external tools and open content in Sakai. Please feel free to stop by and ask me for more details if any of these topics interest you.


Summer 2012 Teaching With Technology Innovation Projects

This summer CIS will be supporting three projects through the Teaching With Technology Innovation program. Four faculty, Rachel Levy, Karl Haushalter, Darryl Yong, and Nancy Lape, will be creating short lecture videos using software called Camtasia in order to explore the advantages of the “flipped” classroom. In the flipped classroom model, students watch the lectures outside of the classroom so that classroom time can be used for other purposes. CIS is providing loaner tablet PCs, the Camtasia software, and a USB webcam. We have also hired a student, Joyce Lin, who will be assisting the faculty with the Camtasia software and with creating and editing the videos.

The second project is with the Math department. The Math department has hired several students who will be working with a faculty supervisor to create short computing modules in each of the mathematics courses in the Common Core. CIS is supporting the project by providing one of the student stipends. Jeho Park, our Scientific Computing Specialist, will also be working with the team as a mentor to provide his expertise and training in mathematical software.

The final project is a continuation of a project for Paul Steinberg. Last summer Prof. Steinberg was focused on creating a social media website for the Social Rules Project. The Social Rules Project is a “multi-media educational outreach initiative at Harvey Mudd designed to raise awareness about the importance of public policies and other social rules in the transition to a more sustainable world.” CIS supported the project last summer by providing a student stipend for the web design work. Prof. Steinberg did a great Bite of Learning presentation in the spring on his project and the initial web site design. For phase II of the project this summer CIS will be providing access to Adobe Aftereffects and Flash, as well as some loaner laptops, to students from the California Institute of the Arts. The students will be creating a 10-minute animated video that will be a highlight of the website’s landing page.

We’re looking forward to seeing some of the results of these projects at upcoming presentations at A Bite of Learning next year!

Call for Proposals for 2012 Teaching With Technology Innovation Grants

Short version:

CIS in conjunction with the Dean of Faculty’s Office will be running the third term of a pilot program, Teaching with Technology Innovation Grants, this summer. The grant program’s goal is to support faculty in the incorporation of technology in their teaching. Faculty whose projects are selected for a grant will receive support from CIS in the form of staff time and/or a stipend depending on the needs of the project. Reply to Elizabeth Hodas for more info or read through the following call for proposals.

Formal and long version:

Summer 2012 Teaching with Technology Innovation Grant Call for Proposals
0. Important Dates

March 30, 2012 — Proposal Submission Deadline
April 13, 2012  — Awardees Announcement
May 18, 2012 — Begin meeting with CIS staff
August 15, 2012 — Final meeting with CIS

1. Overview

During Summer 2012, CIS will be conducting a faculty technology grant pilot, the “Teaching with Technology Innovation Grant.” We invite proposals from faculty for projects that aim to improve student learning outcomes by exploiting new and innovative technology in education. The grant program provides support for utilizing emerging technology as well as access to CIS staff time and training.

During the 2012 pilot period, two to three projects will be supported. Priority consideration will be given to applications that:

  • have high impact on student learning;
  • engage in innovation of teaching and research through the use of technology;
  • have applicability of its use by other faculty members;
  • are feasible to be completed and implemented during the proposed time line;
  • are not already available elsewhere on campus;
  • could not be purchased with other funds such as grant money or departmental funds.

The pilot program is being run in conjunction with the Dean of Faculty’s Office.

2. Eligibility

All faculty at Harvey Mudd College are eligible to apply.

3. Awards

Each selected project will be awarded a stipend and/or software and hardware as needed; the amount of the stipend will be determined by the requirements of the proposal. Faculty will work closely with CIS staff to complete the project.

4. Expectations

Upon completion of the projects or at the end of the project term, faculty may be asked to do a presentation about their project at A Bite of Learning or other venue, or write a brief report on the project goals, achievements and their experiences to be shared with HMC faculty, students and staff. CIS may also ask faculty to survey the students in their courses about how the project affected their learning experience.

5. Application Procedure

All proposals must be submitted to CIS by March 30, 2012. Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the selection committee in early April.  Grant awardees will be announced by email and on the CIS website by April 13, 2012. The selection committee includes members from CIS and the Dean of Faculty’s Office.

Faculty should submit a brief description of their project including as much of the following information as possible: project’s goal and significance; required staff resources, equipment and material; timeline for project completion; your availability during the summer for work with CIS staff on the project; estimated budget (estimate costs of hardware, software and person-hours). Faculty should feel free to consult with CIS if they have any questions.

Proposals should be emailed to Elizabeth_Hodas@hmc.edu or Jeho_Park@hmc.edu

6. Selected Projects

Summer 2011

Lecture Capture System in the Learning Studio Classroom by Prof. Mike Erlinger (CS): Prof. Mike Erlinger approached the ETMS group with a proposal to build a lecture capture system in the Learning Studio Classroom. Prof. Erlinger was interested in an automated lecture capture system that would make it easier to videotape student presentations for students to review. Our audiovisual staff had manually videotaped classes for Prof. Erlinger in Spring 2011, but this required a great deal of staff time to accomplish. Prof. Erlinger worked with Michael Meyka and James Sadler to write a proposal that used off-the-shelf components to create a more automated system.
Website Development for Social Rules Project by Prof. Paul Steinberg (HSA): Prof. Paul Steinberg proposed a project to launch a social media website featuring educational materials developed by his students in the Social Rules Project. The project is a Harvey Mudd initiative designed to raise public awareness about the importance of public policies and other authoritative social rules in the transition to a more sustainable world. During Summer 2011, Prof. Steinberg, Communications Department, and CIS worked collaboratively to plan the website and, with funding from the grant program, a talented student web technologist has been working on building the website.

Summer 2010

ODE Architect Software Package Incompatibility Solutions by Prof. Bob Borrelli (Math): In his proposal, Prof. Borrelli addressed compatibility issues with ODE Architect (ODEA) package and Windows 7 operating systems. The ODEA is a 12-year old legacy software package still being used by some Differential Equations courses at the Claremont Colleges. Through this project, CIS reviewed the issue thoroughly and proposed a viable alternative, virtualization with cloud computing, using a free cloud computing service called CloudShare.com. The solution is being used by math faculty and students in Math 45 this semester. For more info, visit http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=609.
Web-based Multimedia Quiz Tools by Prof. Bill Alves (HSA): Prof. Bill Alves was looking for a robust web-based quiz tool for his music courses. The requirements for the quiz tool were that it should 1) provide feedback for every answer chosen, 2) allow multiple attempts, 3) allow embedding mp3 files, video clips, and YouTube clips, and 4) be platform independent. CIS searched for available quiz tools out on the Internet, and made suggestions. Through testing and discussions, Hotpotatoes.net service was chosen. It is being used by two Music courses, Film Music (MUS179) and Music of the Peoples of the World (Mus063), this semester.
Hand-Press Printing How-to Video Making by Prof. Jeff Groves (HSA): Prof. Jeff Groves wanted to create a series of hand-press printing videos to help his students understand complex procedures of creating hand-press printing and (more importantly) cleaning the press after use. During 2010 summer, CIS A/V team supported his creating storyboard, filming footages, and editing/encoding/compressing the clips. The video clips are currently being used for his course, Workshop in Hand Press Printing (ART 060), this semester.

7. Contact Info

Elizabeth Hodas: Elizabeth_Hodas@hmc.edu, x74583
Jeho Park: Jeho_Park@hmc.edu, x 79023

ETMS at the ELI 2012 Conference

ELI annual meeting logoLast week Jeho Park and I both attended the ELI 2012 Conference in Austin, TX. ELI stands for the Educase Learning Initiative and is the educational technology arm of Educause. Their annual conference is an opportunity for educational technologists, librarians, CIOs, faculty, and students to get together and talk about new and emerging technologies, new initiatives on supporting teaching and learning, and other topics. This year ELI sponsored a special Roundtable on Learning Analytics which I attended. The Roundtable consisted of 20 participants who got together for a special session on each of the three days of the conference. In addition to several introductory presentations on leadership and leading change and on the field of learning analytics, there were also presentations by ELI members who have implemented learning analytics on their campuses. One of the presenters was Dr. John Fritz from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He presented on a tool called “Check My Activity” that they developed for their instance of Blackboard. Dr. Fritz will be presenting via videoconference at A Bite of Learning on March 19th so be sure to attend if you’d like to learn more. Most of the learning analytics tools focus on identifying students who are struggling in order to provide appropriate interventions.

Jeho and I also presented at an Innovation Showcase Session on our “A Bite of Learning” lunchtime speaker series. The Innovation Showcase Session consists of three 15-minute presentations followed by breakout discussion groups.  Our presentation focused on the lessons we’ve learned over the past two years in organizing and managing a successful speaker series. Our session was well received and the attendees seemed to appreciate the practical suggestions and advice that we offered. I also facilitated a “Learning Circle” on accessibility. This is not a topic I know a lot about, but fortunately there were some experts in the group who knew quite a lot so we had a lively and informative discussion. A trademark of the annual ELI conference is their emphasis on trying out new formats for presentations. In addition to regular sessions and the Innovation Showcase Sessions and Learning Circles, there were also several debate/discussion panels, an ELI game, and “Experience IT Sessions” where participants could try out different technologies.

One of the highlights of the ELI conference is the annual presentation of the Horizon Report. The Horizon Report describes emerging technologies that are expected to have an impact on education over the next five years. This year the report focused on mobile apps, tablet computing, game-based learning, learning analytics, gesture-based computing, and the “Internet of Things.” The Horizon Report is published by the New Media Consortium and ELI. You can read the full report by downloading the PDF at http://www.educause.edu/Resources/2012HorizonReport/246056.

Jeho and I had a very rewarding conference experience, as well as some truly excellent Texas BBQ, so feel free to ask us about some of the other sessions we attended.

Kaltura Pilot in Spring 2012

As you may know, the Educational Technology and Media Services group has been conducting a pilot of a lecture capture system in the Learning Studio Classroom. (You can read the details here.) The piece that’s been missing, however, is an easy and convenient way to upload and distribute the lecture capture videos to the faculty and students. We’ve also been looking for a video streaming solution that allows faculty, staff and students to upload videos by themselves. Our current video streaming server does not allow self-service uploading and distribution.

One of the solutions that we’ve been interested in is Kaltura, a video hosting service that we’ve seen demonstrated at several conferences. It’s been of particular interest because it has a tool that integrates with Sakai, our course management system. During the Fall 2011 semester we tested a free demo account and decided to go ahead with a limited pilot in the Spring 2012 semester.

We have several faculty who have agreed to help us test Kaltura this semester. In addition to faculty who will be using it as a test of the distribution part of our lecture capture system, we also have several faculty who will be testing it for uploading their own videos and distributing them to their students via Sakai.

We’re looking forward to hearing the facultys’ feedback on how well Kaltura meets their needs. Stay tuned for more news on both the lecture capture system and the Kaltura pilot.