Computing Environment and Labs

Computing Environment

Information Technology Services (ITS) Help and Support web pages include information about College computing facilities, supported software applications, accounts, email services, computer configuration and repair.

It is your responsibility to back up and to protect your data. ITS encourages all faculty, staff, and students to store files where they will be secure and backed up, either by one or more of the available Middlebury cloud file storage services, or in some cases, by ITS. You must install and use virus protection software. Please contact the Helpdesk for assistance.

No fees are charged by the College for Internet use, and we do not monitor the details of individuals’ activities except under extraordinary circumstances. (See also these policies: Responsible Use of Computing and Network Services and Facilities; Web Policies; Network Policies)

Computing Labs at Middlebury College

Middlebury College student, faculty, and staff access to computer workstations is given precedence over all other use, except for non-college patrons who want to access federal government information resources.  Those using the labs should be prepared to present their College ID card, if asked.

Researchers and members of the community may use library computer workstations for research needs and online information access. A special guest login may be required; check at the library circulation desk to obtain login passwords. Middlebury College student, faculty, and staff access to computer workstations is given precedence over all other use. Non-College community members may be asked at any time to relinquish the workstation to Middlebury College students, who are encouraged to approach any ITS staff member if they need access to a computer, or to raise concerns about the appropriateness of computer use. All use of these workstations by non-College community members are governed by the same policies that govern the College community.  These policies can be found under Responsible Use of Computing and Network Services and Facilities.  Those using the workstations should be prepared to present proper identification, if asked.  Those who abuse this privilege or violate the College’s Responsible Use Policy will be asked to leave, and will no longer be permitted to use College library and computing facilities.

Students have printing quotas in computer labs and the libraries, as recommended by Community Council.  Once the quota is exceeded, students may be charged for each page printed. Campus visitors will be charged or restricted in using public printers.

For the safety and well-being of our students, all public computing labs are only accessible via Middlebury ID Access Card after normal business hours.

Family members of faculty and staff are welcome to use the computing facilities, as outlined above.  Parents should be present to supervise children and remind them that those around them may be studying or working on projects that require concentration.  Unsupervised children creating exceptional disruption will be asked to leave.

Limitation of Liability

ITS and Middlebury College disclaim all warranties, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Neither ITS nor Middlebury College shall be liable to a user or any other person for any loss or damage of any kind related to configuration and operation of any computing equipment, including but not limited to, out-of-pocket expenses, consequential damages, inconvenience, loss of data, loss of profits, loss of use, emotional stress, physical injury, or damage to software or hardware. ITS will endeavor to perform timely assistance, but ITS will not be liable for failure to do so. ITS makes no warranty, express or implied, that it will be able to configure or repair equipment.

Faculty and Staff

Information Technology Services (ITS) provides a single office computer to each faculty and staff member who requires one for performance of job responsibilities. This is a College-owned computer and must be returned to ITS on or before the last day of a faculty or staff member’s employment. ITS does not provide desktop computers for use at home.  A laptop is encouraged for faculty members with long-term appointments to expedite a computing environment in which faculty may use the computer in the office, at home, and in the classroom. Printing is done via the network to departmental printers.  Middlebury College’s Information Technology Services policy is to purchase computers and other electronics that are Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certified.

Special software for curricular use may be purchased with ITS funds, within budgetary limitations, and after review by our staff to ensure its functionality in public computing labs. Software requests should be submitted at least four weeks prior to the start of each semester. Software solely for research applications should be obtained through departmental or grant funds. All departmental software and hardware orders should be verified with ITS to ensure best pricing and compatibility with existing College systems and licensing arrangements.

Faculty and staff may not register their own domain names with commercial Internet domain registration service providers pointing to office computers on the College network. Similarly, registration of personal domain names for individual faculty or staff accounts is not supported.

Under normal circumstances, when employment is terminated, an employee’s e-mail account, file server accounts, and personal web pages are deactivated six months following the last date of work. Emeriti faculty may retain e-mail accounts upon request. Retirees will receive an e-mail notification that their accounts are flagged to be deactivated, and given an option to reply to the message in order to retain the account. In situations of involuntary termination, accounts may be immediately terminated by ITS upon direction of College administration. It is an employee’s responsibility to copy for personal retention all personal files from his/her computer and file server space prior to departure.

see also: Employee Handbook 2.18 Staff E-mail and Computer Use Policy

Confidential Data and Personal/Laptop Computer Security

Unencrypted personally identifiable information (individual names associated with driver’s license, social security, credit card or bank account numbers and access codes) and other confidential information related to Middlebury activities must not be stored on individual faculty, staff, or student employee computers, or personally-owned devices. College employees must not reconfigure a College-supplied laptop and personal computer to bypass the prompt for an authorized College username and password upon start-up: passwords must be keyed in, rather than set to be entered automatically. Loss or theft of a College laptop, personal computer, or personally-owned device that may contain institutional data must be immediately reported to the ITS Helpdesk.

Online Course Material Retention

ITS will retain online course materials for a minimum of two years from the end of the course. Materials may be available after the two-year period, but instructors should not depend on their availability. Instructors who need help moving their materials to longer-term storage may contact ITS at Faculty may request that their course materials be deleted earlier than specified by this policy.

This policy covers online course materials stored on disk space managed by ITS and created by or managed through applications supported by the College including course management systems, central course folders and web space; stand-alone discussion forums; email distribution lists; documents; discussions; etc.  Some applications do not currently allow deletion based on term; these may be modified as necessary by ITS to allow enactment of this policy. This policy does not cover materials stored in an individual’s home directory, personal web space, or departmental or program-based space.

Guiding principles for this policy:

  1. To comply with any federal or state laws related to online course material retention.
  2. To comply with any fair use policies related to online course material content.
  3. To retain centrally-stored online course materials for a period of time that instructors will find helpful.
  4. To guide instructors in developing their own procedures for long-term storage of their online course materials.
  5. To ensure that online storage space funded by ITS is used efficiently, and to minimize the financial impact of using constantly increasing disk space.

This retention policy shall be reviewed by the AVP for Information Technology Services and College administration at their discretion annually at a minimum, and at other times as needed.


Student Computers

Students may purchase a computer system or bring their own computer and/or mobile devices to campus. Students may connect computers to the campus network from their residence hall room. See Network Policies for details.

ITS will provide free support, to the best of its staff members’ ability, with configuration of a student’s computer so it will function successfully on the Middlebury College campus network. Difficulties with an operating system, software applications, and printing will be handled on an as-time-permits basis if ITS staff members have sufficient expertise with the product and system. ITS will exercise care with student computers and software, but we cannot guarantee we can fix operating system or software problems, and we are not responsible for random hardware failures. Students are required to stay with their computers or to sign a work order/waiver form when ITS staff or student consultants are working on them. ITS may cease configuration of computing equipment if it determines that configuration is impractical or would require extraordinary efforts, or that equipment is not in good working order. If ITS determines that a computer requires professional repair, it will be the user’s responsibility to arrange for such repairs. Authorized service should be arranged through the supplier or manufacturer of the user’s equipment. Upon request, ITS staff may be able to arrange commercial service, but this is not necessarily available for all makes and models. The user will be responsible for any charges incurred for outside professional service.

Sharing Music & Videos: Your Responsibilities with Respect to Copyright Law

Many members of the Middlebury community have questions about the sharing of music and movies in digital format over the Internet. These policies and procedures describe how Middlebury College handles alleged copyright violations concerning file sharing. You should understand the risks of certain types file sharing given potential legal action.

Peer-to-Peer Programs (P2P)

Spurred by the widespread use of the Internet, P2P programs make it easy to share music, video, games and other files without regard to the restrictions placed on that material by the copyright owners.

Most commercially produced music, movies, games and software are copyrighted and are not to be freely shared without permission. This is the law.

Protect Yourself: Do it Legally

Members of our community must follow college policies for appropriate use of technology resources under the law as described in the College Handbook. (See Responsible Use of Computing and Network Service and Facilities and Network Policies.

Legitimate means to share and acquire music and videos include services that provide options to buy individual tracks & videos (e.g., iTunes, Amazon); or subscription services (e.g., Napster). Some sites that advertise “free downloads” may not offer legal sharing; others offer content freely in order to promote new albums, videos, or other artistic creativity.

Sources for legal downloading may be found at Educause’s list of legal alternatives for downloading books, movies, TV shows, and music.

File sharing software resident on your computer may make your audio and video files available for uploading over the Internet without your knowledge or permission. For more information on how to remove a file sharing application, please contact the Technology Help Desk at 802.443.2200.

Copyright Law

Copyright law is complicated and its interpretation can be controversial. Title 17, United States Code governs the making of reproductions and performance (including transmission over the internet) of copyrighted material regardless of the format of that material. Under the law, you are responsible not to violate the rights of copyright holders.

In most situations, permission needs to be obtained from the original copyright holder such as the publisher, author, or performer before a copy can be legally made.

In some situations, portions of works may be made for personal, educational and research use under “fair use” guidelines. You can learn more about these situations at the Library’s Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines page.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) also spells out protection for copyright holders and actions internet service providers (including Middlebury College) must follow if an alleged copyright infringement takes place (see below).

If you distribute copyrighted music and videos you are putting yourself at risk of facing civil or criminal actions in federal court if you have not acquired appropriate permissions.

The potential consequences of illegally sharing copyrighted material over the Internet are serious and costly.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) specifies procedures that Middlebury College must follow when notified that an individual using our network is violating copyright laws. If the copyright holder contacts Middlebury about a violation, if we are able to trace the network address for the alleged time of violation, we notify the user of that network address, and require removal of the offending material from the computer. For repeated notifications, we block network access from the identified network address.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is known to send pre-litigation settlement letters to internet service providers (including hundreds of colleges and universities across the U.S.) to forward to students, suggesting payment of hundreds of dollars per song allegedly acquired illegally via the internet, instead of facing a possible lawsuit. If Middlebury College receives such letters, ITS will attempt to forward them to the right users. The settlement letters contain an internet address of a computer (such as identified by the RIAA that downloads or uploads copyrighted music files.

If the College receives a notice to subpoena the names of people who are sharing music over the internet, ITS will immediately contact College legal counsel for advice on how to proceed. We may be required to provide the name of the alleged violator who is using our network. These subpoenas can lead to lawsuits, substantial financial penalties and perhaps jail time. Typically, if copyright infringement claims are settled out-of-court, the costs can be several thousand dollars per song, totaling tens of thousands of dollars per lawsuit.

If a copyright holder files suit, the individual has the right to claim that the material is not protected by copyright and then a legal process begins between the individual and the copyright owner. If you receive a pre-litigation settlement letter or a subpoena, immediately contact your own legal counsel.

Learn More

The recording industry perspective: RIAA

Concerned about public policy, the law and your rights? Visit the Electronic Music Foundation.

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