Zoom Security Change on September 27

Starting September 27, Zoom will turn on the Waiting Room for any meeting that does have it enabled or require a Passcode. Both are common security settings that help a host control who enters a Zoom meeting and help prevent “Zoombombing.”

This change will only affect you if you host Zoom meetings and have turned off the Waiting Room. If you don’t want Zoom to add the Waiting Room to you meetings, be sure you are requiring a Passcode for them instead. See Zoom’s FAQ for more information.

Guest Access Turned Off in Academic Moodle Courses Sept 9

Since the period for adjusting registration ended, on Wed evening (Sept 9), LITS ran a site-wide process to turn off guest access for academic Moodle course sites.

  • This may not have overridden guest access settings that teachers locally enabled — please double-check the guest access settings for your courses and alter them if needed.
  • A few side effects have been reported:
    • Course name changes – the process reset the course full names back to what was initially created by Bionic. There was no way to prevent this, but they can be changed back.
    • Course section names changing – in a few cases in which the name of a section within a course was reset to the default. This was not expected, but the names can be manually changed back.
    • Duplicate and “zombie” Announcement forums – the Moodle developers really like the Announcement forum. Duplicates were created when we ran the enable/disable guest access processes and they are also often created when you copy content between courses. You can always delete these duplicates, but Moodle requires at least one Announcements forum per course. If you don’t want to use the Announcements forum at all, hide the last one instead. Otherwise, Moodle will helpfully recreate it for you.
    • Course materials disappearing – if you are using the “Collapsible topics” course format, it may look like course content has vanished. In fact, it is only hidden, and this fix will restore it.

If you need help with any of these issues or have experienced some other sudden Moodle change, please email help@brynmawr.eduNow that guest access is disabled, we do not need to make any more site-wide changes to existing courses, so any changes you make to fix the issues above should “stick.”

Bryn Mawr Blogs Upgrade and Editing Freeze 7am to 11am on Sept 23, 2020

The Web Services team will complete a months-long upgrade of the Bryn Mawr Blogs on Wendesday, September 23, 2020. The upgrade involves migrating the Blogs from aging servers and outdated software to new, up-to-date virtual machines running the latest versions of MariaDB, PHP, and Linux. The upgrades should provide a more performant, secure, and reliable reliable service to Blogs users and the wider Bryn Mawr Community that relies on this service.

Between 7 and 11 am on Sept 23, 2020, Blogs will be affected in the following ways:

  • Users will not be able to log in to any Bryn Mawr blogs or edit content.
  • Users that are logged in at that time will be forcibly logged out.
  • Already existing content from the Blogs will still be available for Blogs visitors. This is only an editing freeze.

The Web Services team expects that users will be able to log in and edit content on Blogs again no later than 11 am.

As always, please reach out to help@brynmawr.edu with any questions.

Panopto Video Access Issues

We have received numerous reports from instructors and students about access to Panopto videos. There are a few known issues that Panopto tech support is working to diagnose and fix. In the meantime, here are two workarounds that will fix many problems:

  1. By design, Panopto creates an account for course participants (if needed) and grants them access to course videos the first time they click on a link in the Panopto block in a Moodle course. If you are having difficulty accessing videos, try clicking the link to a recording in the Panopto block in one of your Moodle courses.
  2. As a workaround for video access issues, instructors can get a Panopto share link that works for Anyone who has the link and add it to a course page as a URL resource. (Turn editing on, then click Add activity or resource and choose URL)

We will post more information as we have it from Panopto.

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

LITS Fall Newsletter: BMC Libraries and Associated Services for Fall 2020

Sent to faculty, staff, undergraduate, graduate, postbac, and emeriti listservs:

Welcome to the LITS Fall Newsletter!

These messages collect important information and reminders about library and information technology services that are new or different for the fall 2020 semester.  Watch for future issues into September.

I’m writing with an overview of fall library plans and a few associated LITS service updates as the fall semester gets underway. You can find all of this information for reference, as well as other newsletters, on the LITS Blog. Subscribe here to receive blog updates by email.

Our goals are to support the educational and scholarly missions of the College this fall and to do so with a priority focus on safety measures. These include masks worn at all times in areas with more than one person, six feet or more of social distancing, hand sanitizer available near the doors and disinfectant available to staff and patrons for cleaning any surfaces that we touch, Plexiglass at the service desks, and frequent hand washing.

Starting on September 8 through November 21, BiCo community members will be able to access Canaday and Carpenter via swipe card access during the library open hours. The library buildings will not be open to the public beyond BiCo community members due to the College’s restriction on visitors and our HathiTrust agreement, and similarly we will not have 24-hour access during the fall.

Library hours for Canaday and Carpenter for the start of the fall semester will be these (please consult the LITS website for current library hours):

  • M-Th – 8am-10pm
  • F – 8am-8pm
  • Sat – 9am-8pm
  • Sun – closed

The majority of this message below details the spaces and services that will be available this fall when the College is operating at Level 1, “normal, de-densified” fall operations. First, we include a note here about how the Libraries and other LITS services will be operating while the College is at Level 2 (see President Cassidy’s email from Sept. 1). We’ll communicate about the status of LITS services throughout the semester via the alert.brynmawr.edu site.

Level 2 Library and LITS Operations (Sept. 8 until at least Sept. 14):

  • We will modify our Level 1 operations, which we describe in full below, by opening Canaday and Carpenter for the following in-person services only:
    • Pickup of materials at the Circulation Desks (see “access to library books and other materials” in the Level 1 section for details)
    • Printing (we strongly encourage you to bring your own computer to print from where possible, but we’ll have a couple of public machines designated for this purpose as a backup for those who don’t have a computer and need to print)
    • Pickup of loaner laptops by appointment at the Help Desk (no walk-in service at the Help Desk during Level 2 operations, though Help Desk staff and student employees will be fielding calls and tickets)
  • Patrons can request an appointment to visit the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • The Makerspace will delay the start of student appointments in the space until Level 1 operations, but will start during Level 2 with scheduled pickup of kits for making.

Level 1 Library and LITS Operations:

  • Access to library books and other materials:
    • We’ll page books and journals daily for pickup whenever the circulation desks are open at Canaday and Carpenter. Collier Library will be completely closed to patrons this fall due to inadequate ventilation, and physical materials from Collier will continue to be paged upon request and available for pickup at the Canaday Circulation Desk. We have lifted the summer restrictions on the number of items patrons can request. The stacks at Canaday and Carpenter and the upper floors and B level at Canaday will be cordoned off with signage to indicate that these areas are restricted.
    • There will be a 72-hour quarantine of returned materials, but not a quarantine on materials you request, since the student workers will be taking safety precautions when paging books that we would not expect people using books at home to do.
    • Most formerly non-circulating resources at Carpenter can now be checked out. Some items (double folios; irreplaceable volumes like excavation reports) will remain in-house use only, but community members will be able to request access to these books by appointment.
    • We are retaining HathiTrust emergency temporary digital access (ETAS) to many of our print books at least through the fall semester while we continue to figure out the best ways to provide the most robust access to print and digital resources during our hybrid and changeable situation.
    • InterLibrary Loan (ILL) for electronic items has continued, and we’ll continue to increase physical ILL where possible, though many libraries will remain closed through the fall and many have reduced staffing levels, so availability of physical items via ILL will be somewhat limited.
    • We will continue to circulate non-Hathi ETAS physical materials within TriCo via the TriCollege Libraries van (this service re-started July 27).
    • We will not have physical reserves this year – these materials circulate too frequently through too many hands to be appropriately quarantined. We are working actively with faculty and the bookshop to ensure the greatest possible availability of course texts for classes by other means.
  • Study spaces:
    • Canaday and Carpenter will offer limited socially distanced study seats by reservation for specific periods of time in order to equitably share the available space. Study space will also be available in the Park Science new addition, and we’ll encourage students to study outdoors when the weather permits.
    • We are using the Springshare “Seats” application for reserving seats at Canaday and Carpenter, and we will keep an eye on the space to be sure seats remain socially distanced and occupancy doesn’t exceed the seating we’ve arranged. We will begin the semester with a limited number of reservable seats, ~20 each at Canaday and Carpenter. As we confirm that initial testing results during the quarantine period are coming back with a low positivity level and see that the rates of adherence community-wide to safety protocols are high, we’ll expand during the first month of classes to the full occupancy of ~60 seats at Canaday (on the 1st floor and A level), and a similar number at Carpenter. Community members who need to study in the library will be able to reserve a seat using a reservation system that will allow patrons to book seats in advance for blocks of up to three hours at a time (we’ll assess how this is going in the early weeks and beyond to figure out the timing so that as many people as possible can find seats, and those who need blocks of uninterrupted study will be able to find longer reservation periods). More information will follow on how to use Seats when it goes live.
    • Carrels will not be assigned to individuals or sets of individuals this fall, but some socially distanced carrels will be available to reserve along with other study seats. We need to have carrels and other surfaces cleared regularly throughout the day so that they’re cleaned consistently, and having belongings stored at the carrels does not work for keeping the surfaces cleaned. We also need to provide equitable access to reserved study spaces for all who need to work in the library. You’ll be able to reserve a seat in advance. We believe that you will find ample numbers of seats to reserve in the library, even with our COVID social distancing and disinfecting requirements, and we will monitor and adjust access to space as needed.
    • Lockers are available in the lower level of Carpenter for anyone who wants to store personal belongings or checked-out library materials. We have ample lockers, so these will be a resource fully available to anyone who wants to make use of them.
    • Limited video screening facilities will be available.
  • Reference and research support have continued unabated and will continue to be conducted largely through virtual consultations with individuals and online meetings with classes.
  • Special Collections:
    • BiCo community members can make appointments to work with Special Collections materials in the Special Collections Reading Room. Patrons will be seated one person per table, and one staff member will be at the desk, to allow for social distancing.
    • Small groups (up to 3) can make appointments to work with Special Collections materials and staff in the Special Collections Seminar Room.
    • The 3rd Floor of Old Library is available on an appointment basis for 1-2 people to consult collections stored in Old Library or as overflow space for consulting other Special Collections materials.
    • The Rare Book Room will be open from 10am – 4pm Monday through Friday to allow community members to view the Children’s Book exhibition.  Appointments are not necessary, but there will be signage limiting access to the space to no more than 10 at any one time with masks and appropriate social distancing.  The Rare Book Room may also be used for small (no more than 10-person) class groups or events that are scheduled through Special Collections.
    • Visible Storage will be set up by Special Collections in the 2nd-floor gallery to allow contactless study of materials related to courses.
  • Public computers, access to software, and public printers/scanners/copiers:
    • Several socially distanced public workstations have been set up in the Park extension and in the libraries. Public labs will generally not be accessible to the community and instead have been transformed into computer “farms” so that any community member can access the computers and associated software remotely.
    • Remote access to software will be available using new services, LabStats for remote access to public machines and software, and Apporto, a cloud-based service that allows web-based access to Mac software and other specialized software typically found on public lab machines (SPSS, ArcGIS, Adobe software, etc.). You can connect to a computer on campus through Remote Desktop here or through a web interface here.
    • The multi-function printers with scanning and copying capability will remain available in Carpenter and Canaday. Some have been moved to slightly new locations in the libraries for social distancing between printers. We can also advise about scanner apps for your phone (we recommend in particular Microsoft Office Lens for iPhone or Android, which will allow you to save scans to your OneDrive from your phone).
    • We will continue to lend equipment by appointment via the Help Desk at Canaday.
  • For the limited number of classrooms that will be in use in Carpenter, students in these classes are encouraged to arrive just in time for class and not to congregate in the narrow areas near the classrooms in order to maintain safe social distance.
  • Please enter Carpenter via Old Library; the roof entrance will be locked.
  • Elevators in the libraries should be used by only 1 person at a time.
  • The Makerspace at Park will be open in a limited way to train student employees and then to enable small groups (~3-4 people at a time) to participate in brief demos and activities. Most making will happen by way of kits that students and other community members can take away with them after the brief demo, as well as through virtual programming throughout the year.
  • The Writing Center will be open during Canaday’s open hours and will offer a combination of on-site and virtual programming. Please check the Writing Center website or contact Director Jen Callaghan (jcallaghan@brynmawr.edu) for additional information.

We will plan to start the fall this way and will be open to modifying our approach at any juncture beyond that if we find that this model is not meeting community needs. As College plans evolve, our working assumptions may need to change along with them, and in each case we’ll have contingency plans ready for any period when we need to shift to more remote/limited access and services.

A few reminders while we’re here…

As always, please reach out to library@brynmawr.edu or help@brynmawr.edu with any questions. We’re working collaboratively through these channels to assess needs, track requests, and provide consultation in ongoing ways.

All best,

Moodle Known Issue: Course Content Seems to Disappear

Several instructors have recently reported that content has disappeared from their Moodle course sites. In fact, the course content is only hidden. The culprit seems to be the Collapsible topics course format, which gets reset to show the course containing fewer sections than it actually has. We are not certain what triggers this change, but the fix is to change the Course Format settings to Topics with hidden sections collapsed, and then change them back to Collapsible topics.

  1. On the course main page, click the gear icon (Actions menu) and choose Course Settings.
  2. Under Course format, 
    1. Reset Format to Topics.
    2. Reset Hidden sections to Hidden sections are shown in collapsed form.
  3. Click Save and Display.
  4. Click the gear icon (Actions menu) again and choose Course Settings.
  5. Under Course format, 
    1. Reset Format to Collapsed topics.
    2. Reset Hidden sections to Hidden sections are completely invisible.
  6. Click Save and Display.


Accessing College Software

We’re pleased to announce that remote access to College software is up and running!

To access LabStats, the software that provides remote access to one of our physical computers on campus, please follow the instructions here. 

To access our cloud based solution, Apporto, go to https://brynmawr.apporto.com/ and login with your College credentials. More information is here.

Not sure which to use? Try LabStats first. Use Apporto if your device doesn’t support RDP (i.e. smartphones, tablets, etc.) or if no computers are available via LabStats. Most College software is available via both solutions. See https://techdocs.blogs.brynmawr.edu/6702 for complete lists.

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

Zotero Workshops on Zoom 9/2 and 9/3

Need a tool to help you stay organized as a remote learner? Zotero will help you create notes, bibliographies, and organize your research.

Attend Zotero Workshops on Zoom:

Contact library@brynmawr.edu with questions.

Seeking Community Feedback – We’d love to hear from you!

LITS is committed to continually improving our services and offerings and the ways in which the community experiences those services. One of the ways that we know what needs the most attention is by hearing from you!

We are always open to receiving feedback and hearing about what’s working really well and what may need a little extra attention. Starting on September 1st, one the ways we hope to get some of that feedback will be through very short surveys sent out after Help Desk tickets are resolved. The surveys will be sent out randomly, so you won’t get one every time you ask a question via the Help Desk. You will also start seeing links to a feedback form pop up in the signatures of LITS staff members.

If there’s anything you’d like to share about your experiences or let us know how things could have gone better, we’re all ears. We’d love to hear from you.