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Blackboard Status Update

From our system administrator:

I wanted to bring you up to date on the progress we’ve made with Blackboard.

Over the Christmas break, we moved Blackboard’s database from Windows to RedHat Linux to make it easier for the Oracle Database Administrator group to maintain. This should also provide about a 10% increase in performance from the database. The Oracle DBAs are currently testing a standby database configuration to allow faster recovery in case we have another database server crash. We are aiming at having a full disaster recovery system in a separate building on campus by the end of this term.

In addition to the database move, we also applied Blackboard’s Service Pack 2 for Application Pack 2. This provided us with 28 bug fixes, and further improvements to the system performance. We will be looking at Service Pack 3 for an upgrade sometime between Spring and Summer. The Service Pack 3 upgrade will give us further stability in the system, and some performance enhancements.

As you’ve noticed, so far this start of term has gone much smoother than last Fall. The only outages we’ve had have been network related, and mercifully short. We are working on a handful of students who haven’t been put correctly into course sections, and six sections that weren’t created correctly. The Banner/Luminis/Blackboard integration has run better. The biggest issue remaining for integration is a bug that prevents cross listed courses from showing up in Blackboard. This problem is currently being handled by getting the extracts of cross listed courses from Luminis and importing them into Blackboard on a daily basis. The bug is supposed to be fixed in Service Pack 3.

Your Blackboard admin, and the head of IMG have a standing weekly meeting with the Blackboard support team. Please feel free to contact IMG with any concerns you might have, or ideas for further Blackboard enhancements. We are currently working on issues with links in the Calendar tool, and problems copying content from courses with groups. We are also working on a scheme to rename the “Cross List Section Group” courses to a more meaningful title.

Finally, I want to thank you all for sticking with Blackboard. As of today, we have 1,270 sections on campus using Blackboard for Spring 2008. This is 26% of the total active sections for the term.

Blackboard Status (1.24.2008) (PDF)

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