The Hampshire Intranet, Daily Digest, and Campus Calendar Overhaul Project

Many students, faculty, and staff are already aware that some of us in IT and the communications office have been working on a major redesign of the Hampshire Intranet, which includes the announcement and event system that runs the campus calendar and daily digest emails you receive each morning during the week. We want to provide the campus community with some details about the project along the way, so here goes…

What is the Intranet?

The Intranet is a portal-like website that contains some password-protected content meant for the Hampshire community. The main page has a bunch of links, and it’s the place to post announcements and events that appear in the daily digest emails and on the campus calendar.

Why are we overhauling it?

The Intranet has existed in a similar state for well over 10 years. As a community we still have a need for communication tools like announcements, a central campus calendar, and a place to put information that requires a Hampshire login. We’ve received a LOT of feedback over the years about different aspects of this system. We’ve done user testing and interviews with some students, faculty, and staff, which made the direction of our work very clear. The same feature requests and bugs came up over and over again. We want to provide similar and better functionality in a user-friendly way.

What kinds of changes are we talking about?

There will be a lot of changes, but here are highlights of the big ticket items we’re addressing:

  • Redesigned daily digest email, including new features when submitting announcements and events.
  • Redesigned Intranet homepage with helpful links targeted specifically for students, faculty, and staff respectively based on who is logged in.
  • Centralized campus calendar and academic calendar.
  • Student job postings (both work study and non-work study) that can be easily searched and filtered.
  • Search functionality that indexes all Intranet content, including announcements and events.

Timeline

We plan to launch the new Intranet/Digest/Calendar in January 2017.

We’ll be posting more details about the project as we progress and we’ll be looking for feedback. In the meantime, questions, comments, or concerns can be sent to webmaster@hampshire.edu.

Google Apps for Education at Hampshire

What if you could easily share a document with a co-worker, Five College colleague, committee member, or student?

What if you could both edit the document at the same time, roll-back to previous versions, and never have to worry about what machine that document is stored on?

Welcome to Google Apps for Education.

Hampshire College is joining our Five College partner schools and rolling out Google Apps for Education, joining the over 40 million worldwide users.

Google Apps for Education offers many features that will benefit the Hampshire community:
Unlimited Storage: Google Drive offers unlimited storage for files and folders.

Collaborate: When you share a Google Docs file, all your collaborators can view and edit the file simultaneously. While this is currently possible using personal Google accounts, having a Hampshire-specific account will make it much easier to find the people you want to share with. You will no longer have to collect gmail addresses from Hampshire collaborators and will be able to simply use their Hampshire email addresses.

Share files: You can easily share any file on your Google Drive with anyone else who has a Google account.

Large file transfers: Most email systems (such as the College’s) limit the size of file attachments, but Google Drive lets you share files of any size.
Web Conferencing: Google Hangouts allows for web conferencing with up to 15 participants.

You can now access the following services with your Hampshire login: Google Drive (including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc); Hangouts; Groups; Maps; YouTube, and more.

Some Google services will NOT be available, however. After careful review of both Gmail and Calendar, Hampshire College’s Information Technology department has determined that both Gmail and Calendar at this time are not products that we feel provide the level of performance, support, data privacy, or data retention that the College requires. We will continue to monitor enhancements to these products as well as new offerings in the Google Apps for Education suite for future deployment possibilities.

If you have been using an older Google Drive account with your @hampshire.edu email address or Hampshire alias as your login, you must first create a new Google account with a different email address in order to retain your files. Please visit the Transferring Google Drive page here: https://www.hampshire.edu/it/transferring-google-drive-to-a-new-google-account.

To get started using Hampshire’s Google Apps, please visit: https://www.hampshire.edu/it/google-apps-for-education-at-hampshire

Let us know how it goes! We have a feedback form for these services: http://goo.gl/forms/eBix5dw7ILlX4PzS2

Forms and Surveys at Hampshire

The Hampshire Form Generator

For over ten years, Hampshire IT has supported a custom tool, built by students, for generating online forms. Many staff, faculty, and students have used the Hampshire form generator to create online forms and surveys for different purposes. While this system has worked OK for the needs of some, it is lacking in features and has some bugs of its own. Rather than focusing our time and attention on maintaining the Hampshire form generator (and, frankly, rebuilding the wheel) we are embracing other tools that already exist with similar and better features. Enter Qualtrics…

Qualtrics

Qualtrics Research Suite is a powerful tool for building complex surveys and doing data analysis. Hampshire has a license to use this software, which has been a key part of collecting data for the Office of Institutional Research for the last few years. Much like the Hampshire form generator, anyone with a Hampshire username and password can create forms and surveys using this software. Learn more about the latest version and features of Qualtrics.

We will be hosting workshops this Spring for folks who are interested in learning more about Qualtrics. In the meantime please contact Asha Kinney with any questions or to request training.

The Future of the Hampshire Form Generator

Hampshire IT has made the decision to slowly retire its custom form generator. The slow retirement will look something like this:

  1. The ability to create new forms will no longer be available as of March 1, 2016. People will still be able to submit responses to existing forms, and owners of those forms will still be able to access and export responses, but nobody will be able to create brand new forms.
  2. The ability to submit responses to forms will no longer be available as of August 1, 2016.
  3. The ability to access and export responses to forms will no longer be available as of September 1, 2016.

What Does this Mean for Form Owners?

  1. If you have any forms in the form generator that need to be active after August 1, 2016, the forms will need to be recreated elsewhere. Unfortunately there is no way to export forms out of the form generator. We recommend creating forms in Qualtrics, but if you find that Qualtrics is too much for your needs and you want a more simple form building tool, please get in touch with IT and we can discuss other options for creating basic online forms.
  2. If you want to save responses to any of your forms you must export that data before September 1, 2016. Here is a quick video that shows how to download form response data.

Questions?

Contact the Applications and Web Services team.

Say Hello to Another New Programmer

Please join us in welcoming Kevin Wiliarty, our new senior web programmer in IT. Kevin is joining our small team of web programmers in Applications and Web Services that is responsible for technologies supporting the web presence of the College. Kevin comes to us with a great deal of experience in higher education, including active participation and development in the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project (CLAMP) community. He’ll be kicking off this summer with an upgrade to Hampshire’s Moodle installation.

Our New Web Programmer

Please join us in welcoming Vincent Abruzzo, our new web programmer in IT. Vince is part of a small team of web programmers in Applications and Web Services that is responsible for technologies supporting the web presence of the College. These responsibilities include recommending, installing, maintaining and administering content management software and supporting users in a decentralized content model; and recommending, installing, maintaining and administering learning management software and working with the technology for teaching and learning staff to support instructional technology needs. We are also responsible for designing and developing new database-driven web applications in addition to maintaining and enhancing existing ones; performing quality assurance testing to ensure cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility; resolving structural problems; and providing technical support for various web sites and services.

Moodle Upgraded to 2.6

In order to keep up with security updates, feature additions, and improvements, we’ve upgraded Hampshire Moodle installations to version 2.6. The highlights of the changes include:

  • A new, Hampshire-branded, responsive theme/design.
  • A new format that allows for collapsing and expanding sections in a course/site.
  • A new text editor.
  • Editing icons switched to a menu.
  • A new feature for annotating PDFs.
  • A new login block that shows help text and login link when logged out and a log out link when logged in.

Moodle

Hampshire College uses Moodle for course websites, but we also have a separate installation called CWS (community websites) that is used for managing collaborative projects and committees. Up until now, CWS had been using a different version and theme for Moodle, but now it has the same version and design as Hampshire course websites.

Check out the Moodle Guide for Faculty for screenshots and more details about the new Moodle version. Questions, concerns, or feedback can be sent to moodle@hampshire.edu.

Design Changes for the Hampshire Website

Have you noticed that www.hampshire.edu looks a little different lately? Once again, Hampshire IT and communications staff have been hard at work to implement more improvements for the Hampshire website. We’ve introduced some small design changes, based on usability testing and best practices, that we believe will have a big impact on making the website more user friendly and visually appealing.

The Highlights of These Enhancements

  • Changes to the homepage layout allow for showcasing a lot more content, in a visual manner, about our awesome students, faculty, staff, alums, and news and events on campus.
  • We’ve changed the letter case styling from all lower and upper case in some areas to follow standard capitalization rules, which makes the text easier to read at a glance.
  • Website pages have been widened to 960 pixels, allowing content to flow on the page without appearing narrow or squished and without as much scrolling. Wider images at the top of each page allow for more opportunity to highlight different aspects of the Hampshire community.
  • Navigation boxes on the left side have been moved down to align more with the content of pages where a user’s eye will notice it. This shift, along with consistent capitalization and lines between menu items, makes navigating through the website a faster and easier process.
  • Content calling for a user to take action, such as requesting information, has been styled differently and moved to the right side of the page where it will catch the attention of the user, as opposed to the left side of the page.
  • Small style changes, such as headline text and background colors, were made to enhance the visual appeal of the content.
  • Social media links have been moved to a consistent location in the footer.
  • A new look and feel for the Areas of Study listing.

Questions, concerns, or feedback about these changes can be sent to drupal@hampshire.edu.