Smile for your mind map

Mind Mapping 101

Mind mapping sounds like something diabolical scientists do… but in actuality, it’s a simple tool to process the scope of work and direction for any project or idea. Like your average brainstorm, it usually starts with a circle in the center of a blank page, and expands with arrows out from the center connecting other free floating ideas, eventually leading to a page full of words, doodles, and color…

Once the concept has been thoroughly mapped however, people usually don’t understand that a mind map can and should be simple, easy to read, and easy to understand.

How do we do that?

  1. Start with a firecracker
    • Consider how you frame the context of your map and you’ll find that a good starting point can lead to all kinds of interesting connections and discoveries. For example, if you put the words “Users ignore our product” in the center of your mind map, you’re going to have a much different outcome than if you put “Users are buying from the competition!”
  2. Speed map
    • A wise man once told me to read every book twice – once for feeling, once for meaning. Sadly, I don’t have time to read most books once, but most of us have time to draw two mind maps, so try not to get bogged down in the details during the mind mapping process the first time. First time around, just write what you feel!
  3. Keep it brief
    • As you speed map, try to limit yourself to 3 connections per node (the bubble or box containing the concept). Beyond 3 and you might be reaching for connections that don’t exist. Less than 3 and you’re just not thinking. By limiting yourself to 3 connections the first time around, you’ll find that you spend less time thinking, and more time mapping.
  4. Value the connections
    • Simple lines and arrows suffice for most mind maps, but mind mapping possibilities are endless if you consider the value of the connection. Label your connections, use colors, and draw unique symbols to represent connections. Your connections are as valuable as your nodes. As an example, the words “Fruit” and “Dried Cranberries” might connect well together, but “Fruit” and “Salad” might not connect well without an arrow labeled “Dried Cranberries”.
  5. Mind mapping should move at the speed of authenticity
    • I know I just told you to speed map, but if this is your second time around slow it down! By the time you get your first (and most pressing) concepts on the page, try only adding and taking away from the map when you can justify the action. Because it’s an iterative process, don’t expect it to be finished in just a few minutes. Return to it after a day or a week if time will allow and you might see a new node or connection you hadn’t before.

In the end, mind mapping is a tool best exercised with patience. I’ve been promoting mind mapping for a while now, and I’ve found that most people’s reservations about it stem from thinking it’s a waste of time. However, if you ever learned to make an outline before writing a paper, consider it the parallel process for project development. Take it one step at a time, and maybe your map will be as beautiful as the one above. For some good mind mapping tools try using Mind42 or CmapTools!

SEO & Web Content Guidelines


  • Keywords incorporated, but appropriately spaced
  • When applicable, full program title included in content
  • Full names referenced before acronym use
  • Link to program requirements included on program pages
  • Location specified when appropriate
  • Carousel items removed where possible to speed page loading


  • Keywords used in hyperlinked text rather than “click here”
  • Keywords used in hyperlink title (Insert/Edit Link > Title)
  • Links are active/updated if necessary
  • Links do not use shortened links (go links) or include .index


  • Keywords used in captions
  • Alt tags are 125 characters or less
  • Title is logical with keywords included
  • Original image size is as small as possible to speed page loading
  • “Image” or “Picture” included in the description if appropriate

Tags and Formatting

  • Meta Tags > Description includes keywords in brief summary of 150-200 characters. This text may appear as the summary text in a Google search, and should be written as an enticing preview to the page.
  • Keywords included in H1 & H2 headings where possible
  • Text styling (bold, italics, etc.) used for keywords where appropriate

Questions? Contact the web team: Melissa Jennings,, Evelyn Helminen,

Drupal Training

So you want to build/edit a page with Drupal? Here’s a brief overview to help you get started. Enjoy! [By Jeremy Borgia]

Need help? Make an Appointment at the DLC!

Table of Contents

Logging on to Edit Mode
Adding a New Page
Adding/Editing Content
Adding a Title & Heading
Adding Text
Adding a Table
Adding Hyperlinks
Adding Pictures/Media
Uploading an image, PDF, or other file to MIIS Files
Adding an Image to the Upper Right-Hand Corner
Inserting an image into the body or sidebar of your text
Linking a PDF

Logging on to Edit Mode

Navigate to the homepage, and scroll all the way down. Click on “Log On” in the bottom left.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 12.45.01 PM

Once you are logged in, you should see a new bar at the top of any page you have been authorized to edit.

If you do not see this, please contact the web team (Melissa Jennings or Evelyn Helminen)

Top bar

You will also see “Edit” links below content nodes on the page and in the sidebar


Adding a New Page

To create a new page, you will make it as a sub-page. First, navigate to the page you want to serve as your new page’s “parent.” You can think of this in terms of the sidebar navigation or the URL:

  • Sidebar Navigation:
    In the sidebar, you will see the tree of pages related to the page you are on. For example, at, you will see in the sidebar all of the sub-pages of that page (e.g. Academic Calendar, Courses, Faculty, etc.). Make sure you navigate to the parent page where you will want your page to appear in the sidebar
  • URL:
    Another way to think of sub-pages is to consider the URL. Sub-pages are found after the parent page in a URL. For example, our academic calendar page is a sub-page of our academics page. Thus, the URL is

Once you have navigated to the proper parent page, select “Add Sub-page” from the top bar.

Add Page

You will now see a form to create your new page.

Insert a title for your page. (NOTE: This title will be visible in the sidebar and may appear across the top of the page, so please use a clear and concise title, and ensure that it is properly spelled and capitalized.)

Below your sparkly new title, you will see that a new URL has been generated for you. You can edit the URL by selecting “edit” to the right of the URL.

Page name and URL

Edit this as needed to ensure that the URL is concise. (e.g. “joint-mba/ma-international-policy-and-development-program” has been shorted to “business-policy”. Ideally, URLs should have one or two words, joined with a hyphen instead of a space).

If you want to leave your new page hidden for now, you can hide it from the sidebar by selecting “Menu and layout” on the left and checking the top box for “Don’t show this page in the menu“. This is particularly useful for hiding your page while you continue to edit. (Please note that hidden content is still searchable. If you are developing sensitive content that needs to remain unpublished, please contact the web team [Melissa Jennings or Evelyn Helminen]).

Hiding page

Now scroll to the bottom to find & click the “Create sub-page” button to finish your new ​​​page.

You will now be directed to your beautiful new sub-page. Before we move on to add content, double check that your title is correct and that in the sidebar your sub-page has (hidden) next to it, if you chose to hide your page.

No content

Adding/Editing Content

***Our comprehensive Search Engine Optimization & Web Content Guidelines***

Congratulations on creating your page. However, with no content on it, you must admit it’s pretty boring and useless. Let us charge on and add some content!

On your page, you can begin adding content by clicking “Add content” (as circled in the above picture) or by selecting “Add” under “Content” in the blue section of the top toolbar. This displays a list of available nodes that you can add to your page.

Add Content top bar

Select the node type, “Basic Content.”

Basic Content

Adding a Title & Heading

Insert a title for your node. If your page is using a large banner image, the page title will be displayed at the top. Often the page title and the node title will be the same; if you don’t want your title to appear twice, put [brackets] around your title.

Two titles


(This is what your page might look like if you choose to NOT hide your title on most pages. Your page title will appear at the very top and your node title will appear at the beginning of your content.)

Adding Text

In the “Opening Paragraph” section, place a short introduction (1-2 short sentences). It is automatically formatted to be larger, gray text.

Text type

The “Body” section is where you will likely spend the bulk of your efforts. Organize your content carefully so that viewers will be able to easily locate information. One easy (and crucial) way to do this is to add headings. To do this, select the drop-down menu that says “Paragraph” and select the proper heading.

As indicated in our SEO & Web Content guidelines, be sure to make your headings clear and descriptive. For example, if you were making a page about housing, rather than writing just “Housing” as your heading, perhaps you could write “Housing in Monterey.” Search engines take cues from heading text. So, being clear and concise in your choice of headings will improve MIIS’s search engine optimization.

The headings will pre-format your text in the following ways:

Paragraph Headings


Note: you will likely only use the 2 & 3 headings.



When you write your content, be aware that search engines also give special emphasis to text (read, keywords!) that is underlined, bold, or italicized.

***When pasting text, please paste without formatting. This strips the text of any formatting (font, size, links, etc.) from the original source, so the text will conform to the MIIS site’s template. You can do this from the toolbox by selecting the “Paste as Plain Text” button.

Paste as Plain Text

NOTE: When pasting with plain text, you will need to ensure that you re-hyperlink any links.


You can also add text to the “Sidebar” section, which will appear on the right side of your content and will automatically reflow the body content around it.

Note: Sidebars are different from the navigation on the right-hand side of the page.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 12.55.45 PM

Once you’ve added the desired content, click “Save


Here’s what my new content looks like (red boxes have been added for instructive emphasis):

New content

Adding a Table

You can add a table in order to better organize the content on your page. See the image below as an example from a real, live MIIS page that uses tables to organize its content.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 10.32.58 AM***The author of this page used tables to organize the content into two columns.

To add a table, navigate to the section in which you want to place a table (body or sidebar). In the toolbox, click on the “Insert/Edit Table” icon.


In the window that opens, select the number of rows/columns you would like to include in your new table. Click “Insert.”

If you need to edit an existing table, you can use this same process, ensuring that your mouse cursor is in the table you would like to edit.

When your cursor is in the table, you will be able to use shortcuts to add or remove rows or columns:

Insert Row Before: Insert Row Before

Insert Row After:

Insert Row After

Delete Row:

Delete Row

Insert Column Before:

Insert Column Before

Insert Column After:

Insert Column After

Delete Column:

Delete Column

Adding Hyperlinks

You can go back into “edit” mode by clicking “Edit” underneath your content.

Select the text that you would like to format as a hyperlink. (NOTE: Use intuitive keywords as a hyperlink, rather than using “Click Here” or something similar. For example, rather than “Click Here for more information”, use “Learn more about the Digital Learning Commons.” The use of “Click Here” will harm our SEO.)

Once you have highlighted the text you would like to hyperlink, click on the hyperlink icon


In the dialogue box that appears, place the hyperlink in the box beside “Link URL.” (IMPORTANT: Ensure that you place the entire link, including http:// or https:// to avoid broken hyperlinks).

If you are linking to an outside website (not MIIS), open the dropdown menu beside “Target” and select “Open Link in a New Window.” If you are linking to a MIIS site, you can leave it alone.

In the box beside “Title,” write a clear and concise title for the page you are linking to. (NOTE: This will be visible on the site, so double check your spelling and ensure proper capitalization!) The title is the text that will appear when viewers hover over the link, and it is used in search engine optimization.

If you have added a link to a YouTube video, open the dropdown menu beside “Class” and select  “Open Video Overlay,” which will open the video on your page rather than redirecting users to YouTube.

Open Video Overlay

Click “Update” to save your hyperlink. You can test the hyperlink after you save the page in the editor and are returned to the live site.

Adding Pictures/Media

***Some of the processes to add pictures/media involve navigating to other pages. PLEASE make sure you save your work before navigating away. Forgetting to save=sadness and misery.***

Adding images to your website is a great way to make your page more interesting and dynamic. Depending on where you want to place an image, there are a few different processes you can use.

Uploading an image, PDF, or other file to MIIS Files

If you are uploading an image, please resize it before uploading it. When large pictures get uploaded, it negatively affects your page’s load time, which negatively effects our search engine optimization. You can resize your image using a variety of free services. For now, let’s use PicMonkey. Click on “edit,” then find and select your image. Choose the “resize” option, and choose a new width (NOTE: it will automatically change your height to keep the picture proportionally correct). Hit “Apply,” click “Save,” and then “Save to my computer.”

Sizing Rules

In General, use these sizing rules:

  • Profile pictures in the body of a page: 150×150
  • Profile pictures for the upper left corner on a profile page: 215×300
  • Upper-right images: 238×350
  • Top banners: 720×250
  • Research Center Banners: 960×290
  • News Story photos: 640×480

In order to upload an image, PDF, or other file to the MIIS site, first go to “Files (hidden)” on the far right navigation sidebar. This should be under the parent page of the sub-page that you are working on.

Once you have navigated to “Files (hidden),” go to the top edit bar and hit “Add” under “Content.” Then select the content type “File Upload.”

Select a title for your file that is both concise and descriptive. You want to make sure that you’ll be able to easily locate this file. Under “Upload” click “Browse,” followed by “Choose File.” In the box that appears, locate the file that you want to upload and select it. Click “Upload” and wait for your file to finish uploading, then hit “Next.”

Fill in the Name, Alt Text, and Title Text. You can make them all the same thing if you’d like. It’s important to fill in all three fields as it is an opportunity to use more keywords and helps with SEO.

Name, Alt, and Title Text for Photos

Hit “Save.”

Add any caption that you want to include. (NOTE: If you plan to use the image in the upper right-hand corner of the page, the caption will display, but in most other cases it is not necessary to add a caption because it will not show up. The exception is for top banner images. Contact the Web Team for help with banner images.)

Click “Save.”

You will now be redirected back to Files (hidden). But wait! What is that at the top of the page? Your file! Don’t you feel fancy?

There are three places you can place an image:

  1. Upper right-hand corner (Selected from the drop-down menu)
  2. Body Section
  3. Sidebar


Adding an Image to the Upper Right-Hand Corner

This process assumes that you already know the name/location of the file you want to insert. If you do not, you will need to either refer to the Uploading an Image to MIIS Files section to upload a new file or locate your file in the “Files (hidden)” sub-page.

This process allows you to insert files to your page that already exist in MIIS’s files. Note from the picture above that this process will always put your image in the top right, and will always include any caption associated with the image. This placement does not give you control over the placement or size of the image.

When in “edit” mode for your page, locate the dropdown menu titled “Add Image” after the “Body” section. Find and select your chosen image name. Scroll to the bottom and hit “Save.”

Add Image Dropdown

Inserting an image into the body or sidebar of your text

Navigate to the section in which you want to insert an image (body or sidebar). In the toolbox, select the button with the mountains.

Mountains pic

***If you need to upload the image, please refer to the Uploading an Image to MIIS Files section***

A window will open with a navigation tree of the MIIS site. Navigate to your image and select it. If you uploaded the image to the Files (hidden) of your sub-page, you must find your subpage (remember, you can follow the breadcrumbs of your URL, i.e. will be under Academics, then Programs, then MBA.)

Make sure there is an appropriate Title and Alternate text, and choose Full Content from the Style drop-down menu.

Choose Full Content

Click “Insert.”


(***NOTE: If placing an image in the sidebar, double check that your image isn’t too big. Save your edits and check that your image isn’t spilling outside of the sidebar. If it is, go back to edit mode and resize. It should be no wider than 238 px.***)

Linking a PDF

To add a link to a PDF on your page, treat it like you would an image.

Navigate to the section in which you want to insert the PDF (body or sidebar). In the toolbox, select the button with the mountains.

Mountains pic

***If you need to upload the PDF, please refer to the Uploading an Image to MIIS Files section***

A window will open with a navigation tree of the MIIS site. Navigate to your PDF and select it. If you uploaded the PDF to the Files (hidden) of your sub-page, you must find your subpage (remember, you can follow the breadcrumbs of your URL, i.e. will be under Academics, then Programs, then MBA.)

Make sure there is an appropriate Title and Description. Click “Insert.”

The PDF icon with a hyperlink to the PDF will automatically appear.

PDF Appears with a Hyperlink

Congratulations! You are now the (hopefully) proud owner of a super-legit webpage!

If you have more questions, feel free to come in to the DLC. We’ll be happy to help.

Training created by Jeremy Borgia, who joined the DLC team in January 2015 as part of the web rebranding team, and has stuck around like well-done pasta ever since. Make an appointment with him in the DLC if you would like more help, additional tips, or a deep discussion about the subversive role of potatoes in modern society.

Amy Collier Talk March 31, 2015

Video conference simulcast of Dr. Amy Collier’s talk at Middlebury | Tues, March 31

Amy Collier, Ph.D. is Senior Director for Inspiration and Outreach, Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University. The simulcast of this talk is co-sponsored by the MIddlebury Provost’s Office and the Digital Learning Commons.

Tuesday, March 31 | 9:30 – 11:00am | 499 Van Buren Video Conference Room*.
*499 Van Buren is located at the corner of Van Buren and Jefferson Streets, CNS headquarters

Attend simulcast of Dr. Amy Collier talk at Middlebury College

Date: March 31, 2015

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Design Thinking 101

Design thinking is key to maximizing both brainstorming potential and project direction. Thanks to the D-School at Stanford, the picture above highlights 5 simple steps to designing a better project or product. This blogpost however is not reiterate how to design think, but rather what design thinking can offer you. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider design thinking for your next project:

  1. Perspective
    • Gaining or even changing perspective is difficult. We’re often so close to our own biases that we don’t even need to articulate them. Deliberately empathizing with the target audience is an invaluable exercise in changing perspective. Your dedication may be unshakable, but your approach may be askew. Try mapping out the life of, and needs of, your target audience, and defining what is most important to them before proceeding with innovation.
  2. Fresh voices
    • People who both lead and dominate discussion, don’t have to be in charge of either of those roles in design thinking. Encourage your quietest team members to contribute by deliberately silencing the leaders, choose a random facilitator for each session, or ask your team to bring inspiring youtube clips or artifacts to the meeting. The opening stages to design thinking should be wild and unpredictable.
  3. Planned brainstorming
    • The only thing worse than a long-winded office meeting, is a long-winded brainstorm session. Planned brainstorming has a limit, and design thinking will allow you and your team to close the door on brainstorming in a collective and convenient way. Try having your teammates bring ideas to the meeting before it starts, have them share their ideas with another, then present on each other’s ideas. Feel comfortable closing the door on a brainstorm session when it’s time to prototype.
  4. Distillation of ideas
    • Ideas are always good until they’re shared, then we may realize most of them are flimsy. There’s no better way to distill ideas into useful prototyping directions than to bounce them off other team members. Keep in mind that by empathizing wholeheartedly with the target audience, your ideas should resonate well with your team.
  5. Rewarding experimentation
    • By the time you move on to prototyping and testing your ideas, you should feel good about how radical your brainstorming process became. It’s equally as valuable to cull bad ideas from the table as it is to find the right idea to proceed with. And as the process becomes increasingly refined, feel free to return to the brainstorming process for something a bit more specific.

Design thinking doesn’t have to be the kryptonite of your group focus – and don’t expect it to be the savior of every project. Try it out here and there with intentionality. Tap into the creative potential of your team by pushing them to the edge of their comfort zones and welcoming their ideas as invaluable parts of the process. So next time you hear someone suggest design thinking a solution, give it a chance!


Photoshop 101 – Poster Design Clinic | March 30 | 2-3:00pm

How do you turn a simple black and white line drawing into something much more fun and colorful? Facilitated by DLC Photoshop guru, Evelyn Helminen, this 1 hour hands-on workshop will teach you how to manipulate images, text, and graphical layers to produce your own version of the event poster for the April 16 Pecha-Kucha inspired MIIS Happening event. Monday, March 30 | 2:00-3:00PM | DLC Design Space.

Link to Black and White Poster Template

Photoshop 101 - Poster Design Clinic | 2:00-3:00PM | Location: DLC Design Space

Date: March 30, 2015


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MIIS Happening is April 16!

A happening is a performance, event or situation meant to be considered art, usually as performance art. Happenings occur anywhere and are often multi-disciplinary, with a nonlinear narrative and the active participation of the audience. Key elements of happenings are planned but artists sometimes retain room for improvisation. This new media art aspect to happenings eliminates the boundary between the artwork and its viewer.” -

What is MIIS Happening?

A two hour Pecha Kucha-inspired event featuring short 6 minute and 40 second (20 slides x 20 seconds) talks, by MIIS students, staff, and faculty. The program will be generated through a massively open invitation for contributions by MIIS community members from all walks of campus. We’re seeking 20×20’s to inspire, engage and entertain a diverse audience, promote cross-disciplinary sharing, put a dent in programmatic silos, stir up some serendipity, celebrate creativity, and generally mix things up for a couple of hours. Talks may be inspired by storytelling or any number of themes, such as: change, place, culture, immersion, identity, adaptation, systems, ecologies, climate, language, among others. MIIS Happening! is two hours of participatory, fly-by-the-seat of your-pants intellectual exchange and exploration of unexpected connections among fields and schools of thought across the campus! MIIS Happening! is for everyone being shaped by and shaping MIIS.

How can I get involved?

We are seeking 20×20 presentations from across the MIIS community. To get involved:



Participate in a DLC MIIS Happening design clinic to learn how to present in the Pecha Kucha inspired 20 images x 20 seconds format.

Current Sign-up Sheets

Title Date Open Spots  
Introduction to Pecha Kucha Clinic: 10 – 11:00am | Friday, April 3 | DLC Design Space April 3, 2015 24

Rehearsal Clinic #1: 10-11:00am | Friday, April 10 |DLC Design Space
Rehearsal Clinic #2: 3-5:00pm | Wednesday, April 15 | DLC Design Space


The Big Event | Thursday, April 16 | 12:00 – 2:00pm | Holland Center

IMovie Digital Sign

iMovie Workshop

Impress your class with awesome iMovie skills!

  • Film an Interview
  • Edit a documentary
  • Add subtitled translation to your video

Learn how to create a project, import media, edit on a timeline, add audio tracks, add titles and backgrounds, and export as a movie.

Please sign up using the link below.  We have a limited number of MacBooks available with iMovie to use during this workshop.  If you have a laptop with iMovie, please bring it with you for hands-on practice.

Current Sign-up Sheets

No sheets available at this time.


Blank Skill Print Map

Skill Print Questions

1. Before you begin filling in your map, answer the following questions:

  • What do you spend a lot of time doing?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do you enjoy doing?

Download your own blank Skill Print Map!

2. Then start coloring!


your emerging skills


skills you feel more confident in

Fault Lines

points of great tension or conflict


what helps to refresh or replenish you

  • Add extra growth patterns to show steeper inclines and declines.
  • Shade in the levels differently, with darker shading representing steeper gradients.

Tuesday, March 17, 12:00-1:00pm in the DLC Design Space

Join the DLC staff in exploring a unique tool for assessing the topography of your developed and emerging skills. During this brown bag lunch, you will have an opportunity to make your own skill print, and discuss how stress points, replenishing factors, and growth patterns play a role in your skill landscape. Come bring your lunch and try out something new!

Thanks to the Stanford D School for the idea!


Skill Print Workshop

Tuesday, March 17, 12:00-1:00pm in the DLC Design Space

Join the DLC staff in exploring a unique tool for assessing the topography of your developed and emerging skills. During this brown bag lunch, you will have an opportunity to make your own skill print, and discuss how stress points, replenishing factors, and growth patterns play a role in your skill landscape. Come bring your lunch and try out something new!