Blackboard still deemed reliable

By on October 3, 2002

A recent server failure prevented faculty and students from accessing Blackboard, a program used for communication outside of the classroom.
The trouble with the Blackboard server started the first week of classes, but the Academic Technology Department quickly moved to a better server to try and solve the problem.
“It was a hardware failure, and this is something that’s hard to plan for,” said Bill Clyde, dean of Academic Technology. “I mean, look, the lights don’t work some times.”
More changes were made to the server just two weeks ago to help prevent any further errors, according to Clyde. He praised the work of the Academic Technology staff.
“I’m quite confident that we’re on top of this [problem],” he said.
Last year, the first that Blackboard was used at Quinnipiac, there was also a problem with the program, but Clyde said it was not related to the server. He said that it was due to the unexpected amount of use that the program got.
Once the troubles were solved last year, Clyde said the system was dependable for the rest of the year.
“We anticipate that kind of reliability this year,” he said.
The Academic Technology Department contacted all members of the Quinnipiac community who use Blackboard to make them aware of the problems, and Clyde said that the responses he received from students and faculty were very positive. Many thanked him and the staff for working hard to correct the problem.
Clyde said he understands that some Blackboard users may have been frustrated with not being able to access certain features, considering that many professors use the program as a teaching mechanism.
Colleen Rice, a junior physical therapy major, said that most of her professors use Blackboard for announcements, including directions to off campus labs and clinicals. She said the reliability of the program concerns her.
“The recent problems have caused a constant fear that I won’t be able to access my lab materials when I need them,” Rice said.
Junior mass communications major Adam Seigel has also run into problems with the latest Blackboard failure.
“I had to take an online quiz for a class and because of the Blackboard problem, the professor didn’t properly receive it,” he said. “I ended up having to spend time to retake the quiz.”
Despite these problems, some students and professors think Blackboard is a good program.
“I think Blackboard has the potential to be beneficial to Quinnipiac students,” said Rice.
Jill McKeon, a computer science professor, uses Blackboard frequently in her classes and said she has not experienced any problems with the program. She pointed out that it is a great classroom tool.
“I love Blackboard,” she said. “It offers teachers a tremendous platform to not only provide content resources for students, but to create lessons and tests.”
An updated version of Blackboard will soon be available, but Clyde said the university will not implement this new version until next year. He said that he does not want to create any more problems that may result from transferring to a new version.
Once the new version is set up, Clyde said it will be very well equipped to respond to any problems that may arise.
“Next year, we’ll be able to recover from a worst-case scenario in a matter of hours,” he said.


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