Scheduled Moodle Maintenance — Tuesday Aug. 24, 9-11am

We will be upgrading our Moodle instance to version 3.10 on Tuesday, August 24 from 9-11am.

This is a minor upgrade and we do not expect any service downtime, although users may experience slow or unusual behavior during the upgrade and notice some new features and enhancements. We will provide more information about those changes closer to the date.

Please note: this work is being done outside our routine maintenance window so as not to conflict with placement exams occurring at that time.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Panopto Downtime: 6/26 9pm – 1am

On Saturday, June 26, Panopto will be updating its cloud service, and these updates will require an estimated 4 hours of downtime starting at 9:00 pm EDT.

During the downtime, you will not be able to access videos on your Panopto site. You will be able to record locally on your computer, but attempts to upload from the recorder client on your computer to the server will result in a “Server unable to connect” message for the duration of the downtime.

Panopto anticipates needing to do another update requiring downtime on Saturday, August 14. LITS will communicate the details of that scheduled downtime when we have them.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Skype for Business to be Retired on July 31, 2021

Microsoft will be retiring Skype for Business on July 31, 2021.

  • If you have Skype for Business meetings scheduled to occur after July 31, reschedule them with either Teams or Zoom.
  • If you regularly use Skype for Business, please switch to Teams or Zoom. For a comparison of the two, see Which Web-Conferencing Tool Should I Use?

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Moodle Update Monday, May 24, 6-7pm

We will be updating Moodle on Monday May 24th between 6 and 7pm. This is a minor update, and we anticipate no service downtime and minimal disruption during this period.

After the update is complete, Moodle will have a new, more accessible look, but otherwise the update will be largely invisible.

If you have any questions about Moodle or this update, please contact the Help Desk at 610-526-7440 or help@brynmawr.edu.

Share Name Pronunciations in Moodle!

We’ve added NameCoach to Moodle!

NameCoach has developed a suite of tools that enable people to record the pronunciation of their name and share that recording with others. Anyone can use NameCoach’s free Personal Name Badge to create name recordings they can attach to their email signatures, online biographies, etc.

This new Moodle integration brings that functionality to our Moodle site: Teachers can add a NameCoach activity to their Moodle courses and course participants can use that activity to record their own name and hear each others’ names pronounced.

If you have any questions about using NameCoach or adding it to your Moodle courses, please contact the Help Desk at help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

ASR Captioning Now Available in Zoom

Zoom has added English-language ASR (automatic speech recognition) captioning to Zoom. Currently the meeting or webinar host must use the Captioning/Live Transcript feature to turn on ASR captions for all participants during a meeting. In future updates, Zoom plans to enable participants to turn Live Transcript on and off for themselves and to support additional languages.

ASR transcription uses computer algorithms to analyze audio and translate sounds identified as speech into text. With live transcription, this analysis is performed almost in real time, and text displayed with a delay of several seconds. Accuracy can be very good if speakers speak clearly, slowly, near a microphone and without ambient noise; however, even under these conditions, technical terms, acronyms, and non-English words may not render correctly.

Although ASR captions can be a helpful adjunct for many meeting participants, the speed and accuracy levels are usually not sufficient to replace human-generated (CART) captioning as an accommodation for participants with hearing disabilities. If you have a hearing impaired student in a class/webinar, you must reach out to Deb Alder, Director of Access Services (dalder@brynmawr.edu) to arrange human-generated captions (CART) services. Organizers of non-course related events should arrange CART services if participants request it as an accommodation; see Captioning for more information.

Moodle-Zoom-Panopto Integration Fix on 3/15/21

LITS has developed a fix for the bug that is causing cloud recordings of Zoom Meetings scheduled through the Zoom activity in a Moodle course to upload into the host’s personal Meeting Recordings folder in Panopto, rather than to the Panopto folder for the course. We will apply this fix on moodle.brynmawr.edu on Monday, March 15.

  • After the fix, cloud recordings for Zoom meetings scheduled through the Zoom activity in a Moodle course should begin automatically uploading to the corresponding course folder in Panopto and thus to the Panopto block in that Moodle course. (It might take a little time for the fix to propagate to all courses.) Instructors will no longer need to manually move these recordings.
  • Cloud recordings of Zoom meetings scheduled in other ways (i.e., through the Outlook Add-in or the Zoom web portal or a desktop/mobile app) will not be affected; they will continue to be uploaded into the host’s Meeting Recordings folder in Panopto. (Note: if you have scheduled Zoom meetings for a course using one of these methods, but want your recordings to automatically upload into Moodle, please contact us at help@brynmawr.edu for help setting up a Zoom activity for your course.)
  • Viewing permissions and links to existing recordings on Zoom and Panopto should not be affected. Students will still be able to click the Shared with Me button in the Panopto sidebar to find all their course recording. Direct links emailed to students or embedded in a Moodle page should continue to work.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Freeing Up Zoom Cloud Storage Starting Monday March 8: Your Help Needed

Our College Zoom account is nearing our shared storage limit, and LITS will need to begin deleting old Zoom Cloud recordings to make way for new ones. As a reminder:

  • All Zoom Meetings recorded to the cloud are automatically uploaded to Panopto for longer-term storage and access. See Zoom-Panopto Integration for details and info on where to find your recordings. If you need help, please email us at help@brynmawr.edu.
  • Please take a few minutes to go to https://brynmawr-edu.zoom.us/recording and delete recordings you no longer need. (This is also a good practice from a privacy standpoint.)
  • Starting Monday, March 8, we will begin deleting the oldest recordings on Zoom Cloud. We will initially delete recordings made through 9/1/2020; however, within a few weeks we will need to begin deleting fall 2020 recordings as well in order to free up sufficient space for spring. Please note that the copies of these videos stored in Panopto will not be affected and will continue to be accessible.

Note: Zoom meetings recorded locally (i.e., to your computer’s hard drive) are not included in our Zoom account storage limits and will not be impacted. Local recordings are not automatically ingested by Panopto, owners of those recording can manually upload recordings to Panopto if desired.

Preventing Zoom-Bombing

Zoom’s popularity has made it particularly vulnerable to Zoom-bombing or -trolling, in which uninvited individuals join a meeting with the goal of disrupting it. See our Security and Zoom guidelines for a range of steps you can take to minimize the chances that your meetings will be disrupted.

The most important thing is to be careful how and with whom you share meeting links:

  • If you are setting up a Zoom meeting that will be advertised publicly (e.g., on a publicly accessible web page) or very widely (e.g., through a large mailing list), turn registration on and share the registration link instead of the meeting link. Participants will need to register with a working email address to receive the meeting link, and this requirement is usually enough to deter trolls.
  • Meeting hosts can also now use the Require authentication to join setting. Turning this on will allow only people who are logged into a BMC Zoom account to join your meeting.
    • If you do this, be aware that BMC students, faculty, and staff who log into Zoom with a personal account will receive a “this meeting is for authorized users only” message and will be unable to join your meeting.
    • If you see a “this meeting is for authorized users only” message, make sure you are signing into Zoom using the Log in with SSO or SSO login option If you log into Zoom any other way, you are logging into a personal Zoom account, even if the email address you use is your brynmawr.edu address. See “Am I Using a BMC Zoom Account?” for help.
  • Turning on registration or authentication is not usually necessary for meeting links shared only in Moodle courses, since access to the courses themselves is restricted to enrolled participants. However, some Zoom links may be visible while guest access is on — see Guest Access and Zoom for details.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynamwr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Upgrade Your Zoom Apps to Access Feature Improvements

Zoom released a major update to its desktop and mobile client apps on December 21, 2020. Below are the changes that we think will be of greatest interest to College users; see Zoom’s Release Notes for a complete list.

You must update your Zoom desktop or mobile apps to the latest version to access these new features.

Improvements to reactions and hand-raising:

  • All reaction options, including emojis and the options that were on the Participants pane (e.g., yes, no, faster, slower), have been consolidated into a single Reactions menu in the meeting toolbar.
  • All reaction icons now show up in the Participants pane and on people’s Zoom windows.
  • Hosts now see a running count of each reaction type at the bottom of the Participants pane.
  • There is now a single Raise/Lower your hand toggle on the Reactions. Although now yellow, it behaves like the old “blue hand”: participants with “raised” hands appear at the top of the Participants pane in the order in which their hands were raised and the hand icon will remains visible until “Lower hand” is clicked.
  • Hosts and co-hosts can now raise and lower their hands

Other changes:

  • Meeting and webinar hosts can download the results of a poll immediately. (Previously poll results were only available after a meeting or webinar had ended.)

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Spring 2021 Course Shells Now Available in Moodle

Spring 2021 Course Shells are now available in Moodle. As we did for fall courses, we have made them guest accessible to facilitate sharing information with students who are not yet registered, and we will disable guest access once registration closes.

Instructors can always hide specific course sections, resources, and/or activities from both guests and enrolled students during this period.

As a reminder, courses from semesters prior to Fall 2020 are at moodlearchive.brynmawr.edu. LITS will copy old course materials into spring shells on request or instructors can do it themselves.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Upgrade Your Zoom App(s) to Access New Features

Several recent updates to the Zoom mobile (iOS/Android) and desktop (PC, Mac, Linux) apps have added new meeting features as well as performance updates.

Although Zoom prompts you to install security updates for your current version as needed, you may need to manually upgrade to the latest version to get these new features.

New features added in recent versions include:

  • Self-select breakout rooms – host can enable users to choose which breakout rooms to join, but only if host and ALL participants are using a Zoom app that supports this feature.
  • Configure time limit for Join before host to 0-15 minutes before a scheduled meeting.
  • Pin and spotlight multiple participants (Mac and PC apps only; host can disable)
  • Additional meeting reactions (only if sender and recipients have version that supports it; not available on Linux)
  • Save multi-page Whiteboard as single PDF or multiple PNG files (not available on iOS or Android)

Note: None of these features are available for the Chrome OS app.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.