Online learning access disrupted by server failure

March 22, 2010 | UToday



The Blackboard computer server that houses data for more than 2,000 online learning courses has failed, leaving Blackboard inaccessible until the evening of Wednesday, March 24, as UT officials work to repair the equipment and recover as much data as possible, UT officials said Monday.

Dr. Ben Pryor, assistant vice provost for learning ventures, said that while a backup system was in place, it failed to function correctly for a short period of time before the server failure.

“Learning Ventures was faced with a decision to either restart the server immediately with data available from March 11, or to do a more complete backup from another source that will take up to three days to finish,” Pryor wrote. “In consultation with my staff, I have decided to choose the path that gives us the most data.”

According to Pryor, this reconstruction process will save nearly a week of data, and users will be able to re-enter the system as it looked March 17. The memo stated that Learning Ventures’ student services staff will give priority to students who have been disadvantaged by this failure and will work with designers and with Pryor to resolve any issues.

Pryor wrote that Learning Ventures will work with Academic Support to investigate the issue and support any changes necessary to ensure this does not happen again.

“I regret any inconvenience this may cause for you,” Pryor wrote. “The backup system we have in place has worked for 10 years without serious problems. I hope you will agree that the best course of action is to preserve the most data even at the expense of a few days’ access.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or questions.”

Pryor’s e-mail address is benjamin.pryor@utoledo.edu.