Archive for category Digital Learning Commons

DLC welcomes new staff

eric_morrowEric Morrow has accepted our offer of promotion to the position of web and social media manager.  Eric’s outstanding work developing multimedia content will now be complemented by the excellent management skills he demonstrated this summer, as he led the effort to keep the web site current with a greatly reduced staff.  All of you who have had the chance to work with Eric will understand how happy we are to have him continue in this new role.



27ff726We are also welcoming a new staff member on Tuesday, September 4. Melissa Jennings comes to us from IES Abroad, where she where she managed content for programs in several countries. She also co-authors a blog: Creative MedEA – An Education Abroad Ideas Community for Digital Media.  Melissa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in international studies and French.



374c1a5Jessy Bradish, who just completed the MBA portion of her joint IEP-MBA degree, will also be joining the DLC staff for the next three months, using her extensive experience as a DLC graduate assistant to help us manage the projects and services of the DLC. She’ll oversee and train a talented new cohort of graduate assistants starting work this fall.

DLC Academic Technology Working Sessions Scheduled

The Digital Learning Commons is hosting a series of open technology learning and working sessions on managing online instructional materials in the MIIS iLearn platform (Moodle) and Sites dot MIIS the campus website and blogging network (WordPress) this week and next.  The Course Hub will also be briefly covered in each of these sessions.

iLearn (Moodle 2.4) Basics *
Review Moodle course set up basics, file uploading, discussion forum, assignment types, and general site management. Please be sure to bring electronic resources you plan to provide your students (e.g. course syllabus, files, E-reserve access details).

  • Friday, August 16 2:00-3:00pm
  • Tuesday, August 20 1:00-2:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 21, 10:00-11:00am

Sites dot MIIS WordPress Website Creation Basics *
Review website creation and site management basics (navigation, posts, pages, themes, adding users).

  • Friday, August 16 3:00-4:00pm
  • Tuesday, August 20, 2:00-3:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 21, 11:00am-12:00pm

Complete the RSVP form to attend a session on either or both topics.  If you cannot attend a session, please let us know so we can try to schedule an alternate time.

Sessions will be held in the the Design Space at the Digital Learning Commons; McGowan 001, 420 Calle Principal.

E-mail Bob Cole with questions: bcole at

Blogs@MIIS domain name to change August 11, 2013

blogs_miis_logoThis summer marks four years for the Monterey Institute’s “Blogs@MIIS” blogging network, supported and maintained by the Digital Learning Commons and Middlebury’s Library & Information Services teams!  The MIIS WordPress community has been a dynamic engine for networked communications, reflection, and collaboration; hosting hundreds of individual, departmental, and course websites and thousands of posts.

Middlebury’s Vermont campus changed the domain name (website address) for their WordPress blogging platform from to earlier this year.

Scheduled Domain Name Change & Redirects

The DLC Web & Social Media Team has been in conversation with Middlebury Library & Information Services (LIS) this summer about making a similar change for the MIIS Blogging Network.

PLEASE NOTE:  This change is now scheduled to occur Sunday, August 11, 2013 beginning at 7:00am Pacific time.
The entire Blogs@MIIS network will be placed in maintenance mode for approximately two hours while the database and blogging network are updated with our new domain name.  Access to blogs will not be available during this time.

Sites vs Blogs

The underlying purpose for the domain change to is that the term “site” better reflects the multiple ways that the WordPress platform can be used.  The blogging function is only one element of the platform, and the term “blog” comes with a perception of informal, social, and for some less-than-professional types of communication.  Wordpress developers now refer to individual blogs as sites.  A domain name change is a more accurate reflection of how the platform can be used for course and content management, e-portfolios, conference proceedings, and personal websites.

Midd LIS conducted a survey of their blogging community earlier this year and posted the results here:  As you will see, the overwhelming response was in favor of making the change which was implemented this Spring.  The Monterey Institute’s Web & Social Media Team participated in this survey and supported this shift.

Technical Concerns Addressed

The domain change will include the implementation of URL redirects from all links from the domain to the domain.  Thus, all current links between content and the platform will maintain their integrity.

If you have any questions or concerns about the impact of this change, please comment on this blog post or contact Bob Cole in the Digital Learning Commons at bcole at

Blogs@MIIS improvements scheduled

The Digital Learning Commons staff have been coordinating with Middlebury Library & Information Services (LIS) to bring some overdue improvements to the Monterey Institute’s internal website and blogging platform: Blogs@MIIS.

Improvements to look forward to:

  1. Logins will be managed by Middlebury’s centralized authentication system otherwise known as “CAS.”  This update is scheduled for the early morning of July 18, 2013.
    Current users with credentials should not experience any major changes other than being re-directed to Middlebury’s login page and then back to “Blogs@MIIS” after a successful login.  MIIS WordPress users with non accounts who are not able to login should review the Alumni & Guest Accounts information page and complete the “reconnect” form to let the staff of the DLC know which sites you are trying to access.
  2. With CAS comes additional tie-ins with the web groups and information systems features in Outlook.  This plug-in update will be deployed along with the CAS update.
    Site administrators will be able to add individuals and entire groups of additional subscribers and authors to their blog sites on their own – a service that the Digital Learning Commons had previously handled manually and upon request.
  3. An improved “Private Blogs” plug-in allowing users to generate RSS feeds from sites and into web reader services.  This plug-in update will be deployed along with the CAS update.
    This plug-in should offer additional flexibility for faculty or campus groups wishing to keep their blog sites out of the public eye, while at the same time offering convenient feeds to newsreader services and aggregators.

If you have any questions or concerns about Blogs@MIIS access or functionality, please e-mail the Digital Learning Commons at miisdlc at

Completion of MIIS iLearn Upgrade Scheduled for June 3


As some of you are aware, plans to upgrade MIIS iLearn to Moodle 2+ are well underway. This Spring a pilot of the newer  Moodle has been going well with a handful of faculty members and their courses.

We are preparing to complete the campus-wide upgrade to the Moodle 2+ in the coming weeks.  This switch is currently scheduled to take place Monday, June 3, 2013.  We do not anticipate interruption of service for current iLearn 1.9 or pilot Moodle 2+ users.  On June 3rd at roughly 8:00am, the current url for iLearn, will point directly to the upgraded version of Moodle 2+.

2011-2013 iLearn Course Archive
All courses from the past two years (academic years 2011 through Summer 2013) will reside at after June 3.  A link to the new archive server will be visible from the main iLearn site.

Tuesday, May 21 Server Maintenance
Please note that in preparation for the integration of centralized authentication services on the Moodle 2 pilot, the current Moodle 2 pilot will be briefly offline for maintenance on Tuesday, May 21st, from 9am – 11am.

Rollover Requests for Fall 2013
Additionally, we have implemented an improved iLearn Course Rollover Request page. We are now accepting Fall 2013 requests and expect to begin fulfilling these requests by July 1st, if not sooner!

Future iLearn Bulletins
Our team will continue to keep you updated and informed in future bulletins on some of the following topics:

  • new features available in iLearn Moodle 2+
  • handling of Fall 2013 course rollover requests
  • Face-to-Face and web-based information sessions to get you acquainted with the upgrade

Some features to look forward to in iLearn 2+ include:

  • Drag and drop file upload
  • Drag and drop resource and block editing
  • Simplified resource adding interface
  • Support for viewing via mobile devices
  • More robust internal course navigation and the “awesomebar”

Thanks for your support, and have a great summer!

MIIS Helpdesk & the DLC


DLC Workshop: “Voice, Audio, & Story,” with Barbara Ganley & Friends

MIIS Radio Logo

WHEN: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 1:30 – 4:00pm (open to all MIIS community – no tech required!)

WHERE: Digital Learning Commons Design Space (MG 001 @ 420 Calle Principal)

WHAT: With an emphasis on understanding the deep complexity of the human voice and the soundscapes we live in, this hands-on workshop will explore what happens when we turn off the visual and turn up our attention to the voices and sounds around us.  The session is being offered in collaboration with Barbara Ganley, a former Middlebury writing professor, and DLC expert-in-residence on community development and digital storytelling.

Barbara Ganley

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to join the Digital Learning Commons team for our first ever live MIIS Radio broadcast.  Hear from an esteemed panel of experts including: Sarah Kramer, Emmy and Peabody award winning multimedia journalist from the New York Times and StoryCorps;

Andrea Olsen, Professor of Dance and the John C. Elder Professor of Environmental Studies at Middlebury College; Alan Levine, Open Education renegade and instructor of the DS106 “MOOC”, and Barbara Sawhill, Oberlin College Spanish language teacher extraordinaire.Join our live audience to participate in the conversation about the possibilities of human connection through digital audio, the neuroscience of storytelling, and innovative digital storytelling initiatives.

Sarah Kramer

Andrea Olsen

Alan Levine

Barbara Sawhill








Participants will also learn about MIIS Radio, Blogs @ MIIS, Midd Media, and MiddLab@MIIS as platforms for documenting academic research and field experiences for academic and professional purposes.   Tools and practical implications for how digital audio can be used in field research, storytelling and documentary will also be discussed.

Tackling Wicked Problems by Design: DLC Brown Bag Lunch with Dr. Nancy Roberts

Join us for an informal brown bag lunch with Naval Postgraduate School professor Dr. Nancy Roberts on Thursday November 1st, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm in the Design Space @ the Digital Learning Commons.

Nancy is looking forward to discussing her journey to the topic of “wicked problems,” why Design Thinking has promise in “wicked problem territory,” and what you need in any setting to get started as a Design Thinker and problem solver. For more information on Nancy, you can read her bio at the bottom of this post.

What are “wicked problems,” you ask?

If you’re a MIIS community member, chances are you’re already quite familiar with them:

Climate change. Health Care. International Drug Trafficking. Nuclear Nonproliferation. The Global Financial and Economic Crises. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Human Trafficking. Poverty. HIV/AIDS. Small Arms. Public Education. Disaster Relief. Refugees. Dark Networks. Nuclear Energy. Pollution. Human Rights. Ecosystem Degradation.

“Wicked problems” occupy the messy spaces this world’s most important issues oft lead us; the spaces where past efforts have worsened the situation and stakeholders cannot agree on what, exactly, the problem is.

We look forward to seeing you!


Nancy Roberts  is Professor of Defense Analysis in the Department of Defense Analysis, School of Operational and Information Sciences at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.  She received a PhD from Stanford University, a MA and BA from the University of Illinois, and a Diplome Annuel, from the Cours de Civilization Francaise at the Sorbonne.  Her previous faculty appointments have been at the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School, the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University as a visiting associate professor. Dr. Roberts has published extensively in the areas of public entrepreneurship and innovation, strategic management and planning, leadership, stakeholder collaboration, complex networks, dialogue and deliberation.  Her recent work, focusing on “wicked problems”such as the organizational challenges of peace operations and post-conflict reconstruction, won her the Freider Naschold Award for Best Paper at the International Public Management Network Conference in Sydney, Australia.  She is the co-author of Transforming Public Policy: Dynamics of Public Entrepreneurship and Innovation (1996) and editor of two books—The Transformative Power of Dialogue (2002) and Direct Citizen Participation (2007).  Dr. Roberts serves on the editorial boards of Public ManagementThe American Review of Public Administration, and the International Public Management Network Review.  Her current teaching assignments include courses on Planning and Organizing in Complex Networks and Coping with Wicked Problems. She also has served as a consultant for numerous public and private sector organizations and is Co-Director of the Institute for Whole Social Science in Carmel, California.

MIIS Radio: Coming to Your Classrooms This Fall

Dear MIIS Professors,

Have you considered incorporating MIIS Radio in a your coursework? Radio is an excellent forum to showcase student research, interviews with experts, and/or in-depth policy analysis. In addition, students will learn many marketable skills including:

  • Audio and video recording and editing
  • Multimedia content production
  • Interviewing and journalism techniques
  • Narrative storytelling
  • Publishing content online

Listen to one student’s feature story on a local organic agriculture conference as an example of MIIS Radio in action.

The Digital Learning Commons and MIIS Radio will work with teachers, students and classes to design tailored projects that add a technological twist to conventional coursework! To discuss how to incorporate multimedia assignments into your classes, please contact Bob Cole or Rebecca Walters, or come visit us in our new space in McGowan, facing Calle Principal!

Where in the World is the Digital Learning Commons?

In case you were wondering… the Digital Learning Commons is very much in business at its NEW LOCATION: McGowan 001 / 420 Calle Principal. Our new space is still a work in progress, but we needed to move before the start of the semester to make way for the Center for the Blue Economy, now in the process of moving into the Craig Building across from McCone.

The new Commons is light, airy, spacious, and includes a large, flexible teaching and learning area called the Design or “D” Space. When it’s finished, we’re going to love it, and so will you.. but it’s a little hard to find at the moment because we are waiting for a city permit to cut a door through from the McGowan lobby.

Until our new main entrance is finished, here’s how to find us.  Think of it as a treasure hunt… or your new exercise regimen!

1.  Go to the McGowan Building located at the corner of Pacific and Franklin Streets.

2.  Enter through the right set of doors at 411 Pacific.

3.  Walk straight. Classroom MG 102 will be to your right, and a campus information monitor (large wall mounted flat-panel display) in front of you.  Curve to the right and follow the corridor.

4.  You will see a vending machine.  Turn left and down three steps to another door on the right.  (If you go right at the vending machine you will find the restrooms).

5.  Go down the steps and at bottom, through the door on the left.

6.  You should be on the lower floor of the Commons (which, right now, looks like a big empty room with a very prominent staircase).

7.  Go up the stairs to the second level.  That’s where the DLC Team will be located.


New and returning faculty – iLearn Course Management Reminders

As we power up the Spring 2012 academic term, your friends in the ITS Help Desk and the Digital Learning Commons have some useful reminders and updates about iLearn course management services and support.

Logging In

The campus supported course management system, iLearn, is available at:

  • iLearn user accounts are activated by logging in. Use your current Middlebury email account username (everything before and password to log in.

Course Archives Policy

  • All iLearn Moodle course sites are backed up and archived for two years beyond the semester of instruction.
  • Fall 2012 courses will continue to be archived on  Summer and Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 courses will be officially and archived some time in May or June 2012
  • Spring 2011 courses are archived at, where “ay” stands for academic year.
  • Pre-Spring 2011 Courses continue to be archived on our old server

Course Rollover Requests

  • Faculty who wish to import an archived course from an archive of a previous academic term should complete the Course Rollover Request Form.  Look for the yellow call out bubble on the main iLearn page.  Requests will be processed by the ITS Help Desk.  Please allow at least 3 working days for processing.
  • Please allow at least 3 working days for processing.

Accessing Your Spring 2012 iLearn Course Shell(s)

To gain editing privileges to an iLearn course shell:

  • New faculty – be sure to Login to iLearn at to activate your profile.
  • New and Returning faculty – Email the Help Desk with the course name and names of any other instructors who need access.

iLearn Help & How To

  • Schedule an iLearn Orietnation or Refresher Session: If you are new to campus or are feeling a little rusty with iLearn, contact Bob Cole [bob dot cole at] at the Digital Learning Commons to schedule a one-on-one or small group training session.
  • Knowledge Base: Common Moodle questions and answers can be found in the Knowledge Base “KB”:
  • Help Forum: Have a quick question? Post it in the iLearn User-to-User Forum on iLearn.  Your questions make the community smarter!
  • Just in Time Video Training: We have access to a great new resource called which includes video-based tutorials for software ranging from iMovie to Excel to Moodle.  Login with your Middlebury webmail credentials here to explore further: