Dates and Disasters

April 30, 2010

April has been quite a month for Palomar’s Blackboard system, including two disasters on Thursday, April 8th.  To my amusement the major disaster that ended in ten hours of data loss went by with barely a comment, which the minor disaster that just blocked access to the system for about three hours got a furor of complaints.

May should be quite a month too, with the traditional dates of note for Blackboard courses right around the end of the academic year.

Here’s the bare bones of what was and will be important with Palomar’s Blackboard system:

  • Spring 2010 semester ends on Friday, May 21st.
  • Student access to the semester-length Blackboard courses will end two weeks later, so by Saturday, June 5th most students will no longer be able to access the Spring 2010 course sites.
  • The old Spring 2009 Blackboard courses will be removed from the system on the morning of Tuesday, May 25th.  If you haven’t yet, this would be a good time to archive your old courses.
  • The Fall 2010 Blackboard courses will be created the morning of Friday, May 21st, approximately 90 days before the start of the Fall semester.
  • Thursday, April 8th saw two system disasters take down Palomar’s Blackboard system; neither of these was the fault of the Blackboard software, but were instead classic cases of GIGO.  (That’s “Garbage In, Garbage Out” for those who don’t know that particular acronym.)  All things considered, we recovered from both those disasters pretty well.
  • We are changing the scheduling of Blackboard maintenance in accordance with the unanimous will of responding faculty); now Reboot Wednesday will happen every Wednesday instead of only on the first Wednesday of the month.  Expect regular Blackboard outages each Wednesday between 6 and 7 AM.

That’s pretty much it, although Terry and I found enough to fill over twenty minutes of audio on these topics.


Reliability Wins!

April 29, 2010

A month ago I asked for feedback from faculty at Palomar as to their preference for less scheduled system outages or less liklihood of system failures… and got back only two responses.  So, with 100% of responders in favor of more frequent scheduled system outages, our planned outage schedule has changed.

Instead of Reboot Wednesday coming on the first Wednesday of every month, Reboot Wednesday is now every Wednesday!  At or around 6 AM each Wednesday morning, the Palomar Blackboard system will be restarted.  This process may around an hour, although we will obviously take all steps we can to minimize the downtime.