October 2021

Moodle Evaluation

13 years ago, Android was released, the Apple App Store and Spotify were launched, Bill Gates fully retired as chairperson of Microsoft, and Breaking Bad premiered on television. Also, in 2008, Clark University adopted Moodle as our Learning Management System (LMS).

Like most things in life, it’s important to regularly check that systems we use are still meeting our needs and supporting us as we grow. To that end, this academic year, Clark is doing an evaluation of Moodle.

Share your Experience

We want to know what you think about Moodle, and how it supports (or doesn’t support) your teaching, learning and work at Clark. Whether you use Moodle every day, once or twice a semester, or even if you’ve made the decision not to use Moodle, your experience matters, and we’d love to hear more.

We have a number of ways you can let us know what you think:

  • Survey: Click here to participate in a very quick survey about your experiences with Moodle. The survey has 6 questions and you can answer one, some or all. This is the quickest and easiest way for your opinions to help Clark evaluate Moodle.
  • Listening Sessions: ITS will host three listening sessions on 11/8, 11/9 and 11/10, where any constituent can join a Zoom meeting and talk to an ITS representative about their experience with Moodle. These sessions are open to students, faculty and staff and we’re eager to hear from you regardless of how regularly you use Moodle. Click here to register to attend a session.
  • Focus Groups: We know that groups use Moodle in different ways. ITS is offering to come and talk to your group (faculty cohorts, departmental meetings, student organizations, etc.) about their use of Moodle and their hopes for an LMS in the future. If you would like to organize an ITS representative to visit with your group and discuss Moodle, please contact Joanne Dolan at jodolan@clarku.edu

Moodle is one of the most used systems on campus and your feedback will help ITS and Clark make the right decision for you and the institution as we continue to learn and grow.

Click here for more information on the Moodle Evaluation project.

Ask ITS – Your Questions Answered!

Last month, we invited you to “Ask ITS”, an opportunity to ask us all of your burning IT questions. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. However, if you have more questions, don’t wait until the next time we invite you to ask. If you have any general questions about ITS, article ideas, or technology you’d like to know more about, click here at any time to submit your questions or ideas.

If you have a personal technology question (I need to change my password, I need help with Moodle, etc.) please contact the Help Desk for more immediate support.

Your Questions

Why can’t I use my Smart Device on campus?

Good news! Our new Gadget network allows many smart devices to connect to our network from campus offices and residences. This includes Amazon Dots/Echos/Shows, Apple Homepods, Google Homes, and various smart plugs and bulbs.

Click here (and choose Gadgets) to learn more about how to connect your smart devices on campus.

How can students work for ITS?

Student employees are a critical part of the ITS department. From staffing the Help Desk 7 days a week, to helping customize our Moodle, to printing posters for Fall Fest, students help ITS meet your needs every day. We also take pride in the training and professional development we offer our students to become thoughtful, technology-literate, community members. While not all of our student employees go on to pursue careers in IT, many of them leave our positions better able to use technology to accomplish future goals.

While the majority of our positions are filled in Spring for the following academic year, some positions are hired throughout the year – all via Handshake. Click here to learn more about some of the ITS student jobs available.

How many classes use Moodle?

While faculty aren’t required to use Moodle to support their teaching, this semester (Fall 2021) 91% of regular courses are using a visible Moodle course.

How can I get training on …

We often get questions about training on our various software and systems. While we don’t have a dedicated training office, we approach supporting technology-literacy in a few different ways.

  • For certain priority technology on campus – such as Banner, Moodle, classroom technology, etc. – designated ITS departments are available to support with group training, individual consultations or documentation
    • Academic Technology Services (ATS) is available to support software that supports teaching and learning such as Moodle, Zoom for Teaching, Turnitin, Panopto, etc. Click here to learn more about support from ATS.
    • Administrative Information Services (AIS) is available to help with software such as Banner, Argos, BI Query, etc. Contact the Help Desk to learn more about how AIS can help.
    • Media Services is available to help faculty and staff learn more about the presentation technology in the classrooms, and Zoom for Events. Contact the Help Desk to organize training with a Media Services representative.
  • For other software – such as Microsoft Office, WordPress, Adobe, etc. – we recommend starting with LinkedIn Learning. Our subscription to LinkedIn Learning allows you to access hours of training on a wide range of software at a time that is convenient for you. Click here to access LinkedIn Learning.
  • For a small number of specialist software, Clark has purchased extended support options from our vendors. A great example of this is Qualtrics, where all members of our community can contact Qualtrics experts 24/7 for support with the survey tool. Click here for more information on Qualtrics Support.

In short, if you’re unsure on who to ask about support options, contact the Help Desk so we can get your request to the right person as quickly as possible.

Why do we have to call the Help Desk for everything?

ITS is a department of 38 IT professionals, resident in various buildings across campus, and with a wide-range of specialties. By centralizing incoming requests and issues to a single group like the Help Desk, we can prioritize requests, identify systemic issues quickly, and direct concerns to the correct member of the staff as quickly as possible. It also helps us accurately log, report, and analyze requests coming in to ensure that we provide effective and efficient service to the community.

Get to Know Us: Dorothy Erickson

This month, we meet Dorothy Erickson, our new Academic Technology Associate.

Dorothy is a Worcester-area native, and after a stint in New York City, moved back for a “brief” period and 25 years later (luckily for us) is still here! After working for a pharmaceutical consulting company, and having kids, Dorothy got her MFA in creative writing and started teaching as an adjunct. For the last four years, she has worked as an Academic Technologist, most recently at Anna Maria, “supporting faculty do what they do best.”

At Clark, Dorothy is a primary liaison for faculty teaching in the School of Professional Studies, Economics, Education, Geography and Language, Literature and Culture. She’s excited to have conversations with faculty about their pedagogical challenges and successes, and states, “I always learn so much, and I think it’s helpful for faculty to know they’re not alone.”

True to her creative writing roots, Dorothy loves to write fiction and read. This year she has particularly enjoyed reading Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. Finally, she can’t spend enough time with her two daughters, either enjoying the outdoors, or curled up inside binging on The Americans.

Interested in learning more about Dorothy’s writing, or super-star Academic Technology skills? Click here for her contact information.

In case you missed it … Turnitin

As announced earlier this week…

ITS is excited to announce that Clark University now provides access to Turnitin for all faculty and students.

Clark subscribes to two Turnitin products, both of which are fully integrated with, and accessed through, Clark’s Moodle environment:

  • Turnitin Originality is a tool that allows students and faculty to analyze written work and checks for citation mistakes, inappropriate use of text from other resources, and accidental or purposeful plagiarism.
  • Turnitin Feedback Studio is a tool that helps faculty offer effective and efficient feedback on student papers by offering in-browser markup, audio feedback options, integrated rubrics and a library of frequently used comments. This also includes access to Grademark (a rubric tool) and Peermark (a peer review tool).

Getting started

Click here for information about Turnitin at Clark, including:

  • Videos and instructions for students
  • How-to guides and videos for faculty
  • Best practices for using Turnitin in a student-centered, positive and equitable way.

Additionally, Academic Technology Services (ATS) will be offering Turnitin workshops via Zoom. Click here for more information, dates and times.


Faculty can contact your Academic Technology liaison, and student and staff, can contact the Help Desk at 508-793-7745 or helpdesk@clarku.edu.

Tool Spotlight: Qualtrics

Qualtrics is a sophisticated, industry-standard, web-based survey tool. Available to all students, faculty and staff, Qualtrics allows community members to create surveys for research, feedback, workflows and more.

With access to a wide variety of question types, the ability to add different branches depending on question choices, sophisticated reporting options and access to premium research features, Qualtrics should be your first choice (over free options such as Google Forms, Survey Monkey, etc) when creating a survey.

Clark University also subscribes to on-demand Qualtrics support. This valuable subscription allows all community members access to video training, how-to guides, and survey best practices on their support site (Qualtrics Support). Additionally, you can log in to chat, email or talk to a representative over the phone.

Click here for more information about Qualtrics, and begin using it today.