Thunderbird Really, Really Slow?

We’ve seen a few instances lately where Thunderbird has gotten really, really slow on a Mac. We’re not sure if this is a Mac-only problem, so we offer this solution up to anyone who experiences unbearably slow performance in Thunderbird:

  1. In Thunderbird, select Help–>Restart with Add-ons Disabled.
  2. Click “Restart” when prompted.
  3. When it restarts you will have some options presented to you. Check the “Disable all Add-ons” box, and then click on “Make Changes and Restart.”

That should fix it, but if not please feel free to reach out to us at helpdesk@hampshire.edu or 413.559.5418.

Web Accessibility at ENGAGE 2018

We hope you enjoyed the second annual ENGAGE! conference on campus this past Tuesday!  Members of the web accessibility working group gave two presentations, adding to the day’s impressive mix of sessions.

I started off the morning with “Inclusivity Online: Web accessibility skills that anyone can use”.  If you missed it, but still want to develop your skills, you can access the slides here: “Inclusivity Online” Presentation Slides

All told, about 8 members of the community (students and staff) attended all or part of the presentation.  The audience raised some great questions about the limitations of screen readers, and the challenges of learning to use them. We also talked about the effects of anxiety and other mental health conditions online – issues that I hadn’t planned to cover! Although we weren’t able to explore them in depth in the session, I recommend checking out this article on Designing for Cognitive Differences, which covers similar topics.

Later in the morning, Aaron Ferguson, along with a whole group of people (David Paquette, Milo Bezark, the CoSAA signers, and the CORAL Accessibility Squad Members), also gave a presentation on Universal Design. This presentation, “Making “Universal Design” Accessible”, covered accessibility concerns on campus more broadly.  It focused on giving participants “an understanding of how they can advance their own positive impact on accessibility at Hampshire, no matter how large or small.”

Want to learn more?  You can access their materials below!

AccEssentials handout

Conceptology handout

Holistic Learning Toolbox

Make HDMI your First Choice for Projecting

We’ve outfitted classrooms with projectors that can connect to your computer in several ways: HDMI, Apple TV, and VGA. Sometimes it’s trial and error to get things working, but your best bet for clarity is HDMI. We suggest you start with HDMI and then try the other options if that doesn’t work well for you.

If you don’t have an HDMI port on your computer, check to see if there is an adapter that you can use: we tether them to the HDMI cables. If that doesn’t work out for you, go ahead and try Apple TV or VGA, but don’t expect the same quality of picture.

If you are having trouble with all of the adapters, check the printed instructions in the classroom—sometimes a specific order of connections is important to get things working correctly.

If all else fails, contact information for the Help Desk is posted in each classroom.

New to Hampshire IT Tips

If you’re new to the Hampshire campus there are a few things we know might trip you up. Here are some of the issues that we typically see problems with at this time of year.

Having Trouble Printing?
As you may have noticed, Hampshire has several wireless networks; knowing which is appropriate to connect to can help avoid problems accessing services. In order to print or access file servers you must be using either Wallace or Eduroam, or be plugged into the Ethernet. View details about the Eduroam network .

Smart Phone Not Accessing the Internet on Campus?
If your smart phone seems to lose internet access as soon as you set foot on campus, it may be that it is trying to connect to the Wallace network but hasn’t yet registered with it. You have a choice: choose the Hampguest network instead, or register your phone with Wallace by using its browser to go to https://netreg.hampshire.edu . Note that if you choose Hampguest instead of netreg’ing, you may find that it switches back to Wallace on occasion all on its own.

Can’t Log into The Hub?
If you are having trouble logging into The Hub and you’re new to Hampshire, it might be because you haven’t completed the short FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) training video and quiz. To take the quiz go to https://hamp.it/FERPA . If you’re not new to Hampshire we encourage you to take it anyway–and we promise it is quick and painless.

New Email Account not Working?
If you have a new email account but you can’t seem to get your email, did you accept the AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) at https://password.hampshire.edu ? While you’re there, change your password to something you will remember, and then set up your security questions.

Want to Forward your Hampshire Email to Another Email Account?
Faculty and students sometimes prefer to receive personal and Hampshire email in one place. If that sounds like you, you can set up forwarding by going to password.hampshire.edu and selecting “Email Settings.” Just make sure that you pay attention to messages telling you that it’s time to change your password–you have to do that once a year–and at that time go back to password.hampshire.edu.

Not Sure if an Email Message is a Scam?
When critical announcements are made to the entire campus, they are both posted on the Intranet and emailed to faculty, staff, and/or students directly from the announcement system. You can verify authenticity of these messages by checking the Intranet. You should also know that to change your password or check your email quota we would only ever send you to password.hampshire.edu. Just remember that web address & type it into your browser if you ever want to check the status of your account–anywhere else is a scam.

Have a Scam Email You Think You’d Better Share with IT?
Scam emails can be sent to phishbowl@hampshire.edu, which will bring them to the attention of the system administrators.

Need IT Help?
The IT Help Desk is staffed M-F from 8:30 a.m.-Noon, and 1-4 p.m. If you need immediate assistance give a call to 413.559.5418. For non-emergencies you can email helpdesk@hampshire.edu. To enter an IT ticket go to TheHub.

Looking for Amazing Tech Tips on a Weekly Basis?
Or just need some help falling asleep at night? Watch this space.

Updates on our 2018 Web Accessibility Trainings

The IT Accessibility Working Group had a successful spring holding web accessibility training sessions. We were proud to share new developments, answer questions, and extend the conversation around web accessibility with folks from all across campus.  Here is a by-the-numbers breakdown of our milestones:

  • Total sessions in Spring 2018: 7
  • Total attendees: 66, or 40% of our content authors
  • In the group:
    • 8 Directors
    • 9 Associate or Assistant Directors
    • 30+ campus programs represented
  • New sessions scheduled for Fall 2018: 3

If you haven’t come yet, but you want to learn more about web accessibility, fill out our registration form to sign up. We have sessions planned for August, September, and November, and hope to see you there!

Want to get a better idea of what’s involved? You can preview the training session agenda (Hampshire login required), or read through our web accessibility standards and resources.

Want to share your accessibility story or ask a question? Let us know by emailing itaccessibility@hampshire.edu.

Annotate PDFs Collaboratively Using Google Drive

A few times lately, I’ve had questions from faculty about how to use collaborative annotation tools. “What’s a good way for my students to add and share comments on a reading for class?” is the most common form. Most frequently, the readings in question are PDF documents, which makes this question a little tricky.  Up until now, I had some suggestions to offer (like converting readings to google docs format, or using hypothes.is).  But, sadly, none of these suggestions were very straightforward for students or faculty to use.

But now, (at last!) we’ve reached the end of awkward work-arounds for this question. Since Google Drive’s latest set of updates, it’s easy to highlight and comment on PDFs from within your Google Drive, and you can even see comments left by other users in real time.  Now is a great time to check this new feature out, whether you would like your students to use it in the fall, or if you’re just interested in using it for yourself.

The sequence goes something like this:

  • Upload a PDF to your Google Drive (New>File upload, or click-and-drag the PDF into your Google Drive).
  • Click the PDF to preview it.
  • (Optional) Click the share button in the upper right to add other people, or get a link to share.
  • Click on the annotate icon in the upper right to start adding notes.  Highlight text or illustrations throughout the document to comment on them.

If you’re planning to use this feature with a class or group, there are multiple options for sharing. For just one or two documents, you could add collaborators one-by-one by their Hampshire email addresses. If you’re making the commenting a regular activity, it may be more convenient to create a folder containing all the relevant readings and share that folder with the whole group.  And don’t forget to add the relevant links to your Moodle pages as you design your fall courses!