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Digital Support Update, July 17, 2020

Digital Support Update, July 17, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

Greetings again from the IT Digital Support team. We have six updates this week. The first five are primarily for faculty who are preparing for fall courses; the last one is a repeat reminder for offices and administrative departments.

  1. Moodle has been upgraded! (initial details below; more coming next week)
  2. Application process for iPad Pro purchase & loaner programs (overview)
  3. Update on academic departmental consultation process
  4. Reminder about the faculty panel series every Wednesday at 2 pm (register here
  5. Reminder of our July-August workshop & individual consultation program, with new sessions being added for weeks of July 20th & 27th and new campus partner sessions (workshop list here)
  6. Consultation service available to offices that need help thinking through or improving remote workflows

Details are in the corresponding numbered sections below.

As always, please submit help questions via the Request Help link on the digital support site: (Smith login required). Requests that go to individual staff members may take longer to get an initial response and may introduce delays in getting you connected to a person who can help with your specific question.

1. Moodle has been upgraded!

Thanks to the great work of our Moodle service team, we have a new, upgraded Moodle that we’ve just made available this week. This means we are now using an up to date version of Moodle, with a new look and feel, some new features, and we are better positioned to keep Moodle current as we move forward. Our team will be adding some additional functionality and making final adjustments through mid-August. Look for a separate campus email about Moodle sometime next week that will go into more depth. In the meantime, here are a few advance details:

How to log in: If you are preparing a course for the fall, for the next few weeks you can log in at using your Smith login. This will shift back to later in August, after the SSW Summer 2 term concludes. (SSW Summer 2 faculty will continue to access their courses through

How to learn more: We have weekly workshops available; look for the workshop entitled What’s New In Moodle. We’re also developing updated documentation that references the new Moodle version. To register for the workshop, go to the digital support site, select Sign Up For A Workshop, and look for the Moodle offerings. Also, here’s an early look at some of the new features, with more to come next week.

Loading fall courses: has the course list that was current as of June. We know this list will change as the registrar’s office makes adjustments based on recent updates from academic departments. Students will be loaded later in the summer.

If you do not see your course or are unable to log in: You may not see what you’re looking for just yet if you are new to Smith or if your course/teaching assignment wasn’t in the registrar’s system in June. This is not unusual during the summer as we have changes in course and instructor lists. Please contact for assistance.

2. iPad Pro purchase & loaner programs

This targeted program (full details here - Smith login required) is available to faculty who are the primary instructor of record for one or more Fall (September-December) 2020 undergraduate or graduate courses. The purpose of the program is to give faculty the option to work with handwritten content in their courses. The program provides access to one iPad Pro 11” 128 GB device, plus an Apple pencil and a protective case. This is a one-time program with no commitment to replace the device at the end of its life cycle. There are two options: a purchase program and a loaner program.

To sign up for these programs, visit the faculty section of the digital support site, select Request Help (Smith login required) > Submit Covid-19 Digital Support Request > indicate that you are a faculty member when prompted to identify your Smith affiliation, and then select the option for the purchase or loaner program. We will acknowledge your purchase requests within 2-3 business days. Loaner requests will be kept on file for when we are ready with the program.

As mentioned in last week’s email, we will have loaner programs for basic video equipment available in late July/early August. Look for more information on that program in upcoming digital support updates.

3. Academic department chairs consultation process begins week of July 20

As noted in last week’s message, we’ve had multiple requests for consultations with academic departments. The week of July 20th, we’re offering a webinar for all chairs, informed by questions chairs submitted to a recent Provost office survey. After that, we may set up additional consultations with smaller groups of department chairs. These discussions will be an opportunity to explore and clarify support for fall curriculum needs and will also help ITS and the Provost office identify more specialized or local needs that need further study.

4.Faculty panel series, Teaching Community of Practice continues, 2-3 pm Wednesdays in July, (registration required)

What does it mean to teach a multimodal course in the midst of a global pandemic? This weekly series of faculty panels, co-sponsored by the Sherrerd Center and the Learning, Research and Technology group, addresses topics that span pedagogical and technological approaches to the remote classroom. Join us for a follow-up discussion on Thursdays 9-10 a.m. to further explore these topics and learn from each other informally. All panels will be recorded and made available, via Smith login, for later viewing. Registration is required through the digital support site, with a maximum of 20 attendees per session.

Next session:

Wednesday, 7/22 from 2-2:50pm (registration link - scroll down the list of workshops to find the Teaching Community of Practice sessions)
Interactivity in Large Courses
Faculty panelist: Kevin Shea

5. July-August workshop and individual consultation program: (Workshop list & signups)

Update for this week: new sessions for the weeks of July 20th and 27th are now available for signup. In addition to existing pedagogy and tools sessions, the program now includes a new workshop type focused on working with campus partners. Look for sessions with Design Thinking (Thursday, July 23rd, with Emily Norton and Laura Lilienkamp), the Museum of Art (Thursday, July 30th, with Charlene Shang Miller) and the Imaging Center (Thursday, August 6th, with Jon Cartledge, Dan Bridgman and Andrew Maurer). We are monitoring enrollments daily to make sure we have enough capacity to meet demand.

General overview: This program (see corresponding slide deck) includes specific pedagogical approaches and supported tools. There are group workshop sessions and 1:1 consultations available. Workshop sessions are taught remotely, require advance registration, and will be recorded to be shared afterwards with members of the Smith community. Sessions that have fewer than three registrants by 5 p.m. the day before the session may be converted to individual consultations. In August, we will add hands-on sessions to practice multimodal teaching from Smith classrooms.

6. Consultations also available for administrative offices

If your office would like help thinking through how to get your work done in a mostly remote/digital mode, we may be able to help. You can request a consultation by selecting Request Help on the digital support site, initiating a help request, then choosing Request a Consultation as the kind of help you would like.

Thanks to those of you who have read this far, and please join me in recognizing the many staff from ITS, CATS, the Libraries, the Museum of Art, Design Thinking, and the Imaging Center who are key partners in our efforts to support a successful fall term. We’ll be back in touch next week with more updates.