Welcome to the New Intranet, Campus Calendar, and Daily Digest

Last week on June 1 we launched the new Intranet. The Intranet is a portal-like website that contains information meant for the Hampshire community, which is why it requires a Hampshire username and password to access most Intranet content. The homepage contains a collection of links relevant to the person logged in, and it’s the place to post announcements and events that appear in the Daily Digest and on the campus calendar. If you’re a Hampshire student, faculty or staff member, hopefully you have at least noticed the redesigned version of the Daily Digest in your email inbox this week.

Our main goal with the new Intranet was to provide similar, but better, communication tools in a user-friendly way. We did a lot of user testing and interviews with students, faculty, and staff, which made the direction of our work very clear. Hopefully the new Intranet addresses most of the downfalls of the old Intranet. If you feel like it doesn’t or you have suggestions, we would appreciate it if you would send us your feedback.

New Features and Changes

Redesigned Intranet Homepage

  • The links you see on the Intranet homepage are relevant to your affiliation with the College. If you’re a student you’re going to see slightly different links than faculty or staff because certain items are more relevant to you, such as student employment, for example.
  • A lot of the links on the homepage point to pages on the external Hampshire website. We cross-linked a lot of items with the hope that it makes it easier to find what you’re looking for as a Hampshire community member, no matter which website it lives on.

Redesigned Daily Digest Email and New Submission Features

  • Teaser text for each post was removed from digest emails and only titles are displayed, so the Daily Digest should be quicker to skim through each day.
  • “Today’s Events” were moved to the top, and upcoming events now appear mixed in with announcements in their respective categories, preceded by their start date.
  • The categories were slightly changed and reordered a bit.
  • Daily Digest emails now go out every day (as long as there are posts for that day) instead of just Monday through Friday.
  • Links to the Intranet, the calendar, and to submit your own announcement or event are now easily accessed straight from the digest emails.
  • When submitting an announcement or event you can now specify which date(s), up to three, you want your post to be included in digest emails. You can also edit old announcements and events and change the digest date(s) to have it sent out in future digest emails.
  • You also have the ability to upload a related document or image to an announcement or event, which can be viewed in the post’s details on the Intranet.
  • You can preview your posts by saving them as “Unpublished” before saving them as “Published” (or “Needs Review” for students).
  • It’s responsive! Whether you’re reading a digest email, browsing the calendar, viewing an Intranet page, or posting your own announcement, the site should look good and function properly no matter what screen size or device you’re using.

Read instructions for posting announcements and events

Announcements, Important Announcements, and Featured Announcements

  • The ten most recently posted announcements appear at the top of the Intranet homepage. More announcements can be viewed by clicking on the ellipses icon.
  • Important Announcements function pretty much the same as always. They are sent out in an email as soon as they are posted. They are also displayed at the top of the Intranet homepage.
  • If you had access to submit Important Announcements in the old system then your access should have been carried over to the new system; if for some reason it hasn’t, please let us know.
  • Featured Announcements are new and available for use by the President’s Office and the Communications Office to share highlights and community messaging. These posts contain a thumbnail image and they appear at the top of the Daily Digest and Intranet homepage.

Read instructions for posting Important Announcements

Read instructions for posting Featured Announcements

Campus Calendar

  • The Academic Calendar is now integrated with the campus calendar. Academic Calendar events display with a purple background and they can be filtered by specific categories.
  • There is now an event sponsor field where you can choose one or more offices, departments, or programs as sponsors of the event. Each event sponsor in the list can view a calendar of their own by going to their respective URL: https://intranet.hampshire.edu/calendar/sponsor-name (for example, the SAC calendar is https://intranet.hampshire.edu/calendar/sac)

Take a tour of the new calendar

Student Job Listings

  • Better organized
  • Easily filtered and searchable

Browse student jobs

Intranet Pages

  • If you had access to edit Intranet pages in the old system then your access should have been carried over to the new system. If you don’t have access, let us know by submitting a bug report.

Read instructions for editing Intranet pages

The Search Works!

  • Not only can you easily search the Intranet website from the top of any page, but there’s an advanced search that allows you to choose which types of content you want to search.

Notice a Bug or Want to Send Feedback?

There’s a cute little bug icon Bug iconat the bottom right corner of the screen when you go the Intranet and log in. Click on the bug to bring up a bug report screen. When you submit information here it goes directly to the Applications and Web Services Team in IT.

Planning for the Future

Throughout this process people have already told us about new features they’d like added to the system. We hope to have further conversations about adding features such as:

  • A planning calendar
  • Role switching (so that faculty and staff can view what students see on the homepage)
  • An option to send events to the communications office for public promotion
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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

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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.

TheHub Tuesday Maintenance Window Ending

Since its inception, TheHub has had a weekly maintenance window on Tuesday evenings from 7-9pm. Effective April, 2015 this will be ending – students, faculty and staff can use TheHub every weekday evening (including Tuesdays) without interruption.  Please note that the maintenance window from 3am-6am each day will remain in effect. Also note that periodic maintenance windows may be announced on an as-needed basis.

History

As with any web application, in order to properly operate TheHub we have to periodically install software updates which cannot be accomplished while users are logged in. Additionally, database tuning and maintenance must be performed regularly – something that previously could not be accomplished with users actively using TheHub. However, improvements in software and database architecture over the last 10 years now allow us to side step some of these hurdles.

We hope you receive this message and are overjoyed at the possibility of using TheHub on Tuesday evenings.

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Student Toolkit for End of Term

It’s not too early to think about the end of the semester, it will be here sooner that you think! Get some strategies in place now and things may feel a little easier in December!

Juggling Workload

Last month Alana Kumbier (Library) and Asha Kinney (IT) ran a workshop for the First Year Students Program called “Getting It Done” which outlined a strategy for keeping your work organized and lists some good tools and techniques. Slides and notes from this workshop are here.

Tools for Staying Organized

Here is a playlist featuring some online tools that can help you keep your work, time, and research organized. Need help deciding which to use? Here’s a matrix of what we think each one is best for.

Presentations

Many of you will need to do presentations for class. This video has some tips on keeping your audience awake, what software to choose, avoiding technical disasters, and calming presentation day nerves.

Create a PDF Portfolio

Some classes will have you submit an end-of-semester portfolio of your work. This video shows a few different ways to combine multiple file types into one PDF document. This one is a little long, so check out the video description on YouTube to jump to different sections for Mac or PC, etc!

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Stop Sneaky Software from Slipping In

When you install 3rd party software or updates there will sometimes be add-ons bundled in with it. Stay alert when installing to keep your computer from getting bogged down.

The problem
Oftentimes perfectly legitimate software installations and updates–Adobe Reader, Oracle Java, etc.–will include with them an option to install virus protection software or browser toolbars. The virus protection software conflicts with Hampshire’s virus protection, and should never be installed. The toolbar add-ons take up space in the browser and often change your default search engines; don’t install these, either.

Common Culprits
We regularly see McAfee Security Scan, Norton Security Scan, MacKeeper and the Ask Toolbar installed on computers on campus; we do not recommend any of these utilities. Each of these programs can slow down your computer or cause unexpected behaviors.

How to Keep from Installing “Extras”
There are a few simple steps to keep extra software from slipping in:

  • When you download an application like Adobe Reader from a website, look carefully at the options. If there’s a checkbox for additional software, deselect it before downloading.
  • When you install software or updates, read the screens carefully, looking for check boxes that indicate they’ll install extras. Deselect anything that’s not the specific program you intended to install, and anything that indicates it will change your searching or browsing settings.
  • Sometimes installers will have a “Custom” install option; if they do you should always select it so you can review the options that are being installed. Deselect anything that’s not the specific program you intended to install.

How to Remove Things Accidentally Installed

Removing Firefox Add-ons
If you find that you’ve accidentally installed a toolbar or other browser add-on, in Firefox it’s easy to get rid of it:

  1. From the Tools menu select “Add-ons.”
  2. Click on “Extensions”, and then disable any that are suspicious.
  3. Click on “Plugins”, and do the same.
  4. Close up the Add-ons tab or window, quit and restart Firefox and you should be all set.

If you’ve accidentally installed anti-virus or other non-browser additions you can remove those, too.

Removing PC Extras

  1. From the Start Menu (or Windows Button), select “Control Panel.”
  2. Select “Add or Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features” (if you don’t see one of those choices, first change the menu selection from “Category View” to “Small Icons”).
  3. Look for items that you didn’t add, like McAfee or Norton AntiVirus. Select the program you want to remove, and click on “Remove.”
  4. When you’re done, close up the windows and restart your system.

Removing Mac Extras

    1. In the Finder, from the Go menu select “Applications.”
    2. Look for applications that you didn’t add, like McAfee or Norton AntiVirus. Select the program you want to remove, and drag it to the trash.

Some programs are stored other places and start up automatically when you start your computer. If this seems to be the case:

  1. From the Apple Menu select “System Preferences.”
  2. Click on “Users & Groups.”
  3. If the padlock on the lower left is closed, click on it and then enter your password when prompted.
  4. Select “Login Items” from the tab at the top.
  5. In the list, look for items that you want to keep from starting up. If you see one you want to remove, click on it and then use the “-” button on the bottom left to remove it from the list.
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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.

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