Students wait in line for slow FlashLine

William Schertz

Students encountered error messages and slow-loading times when trying to log on to FlashLine during the first two weeks of the semester.

The university division of Information Services made improvements to FlashLine during the summer, but it was not enough to support the vast number of students who were logging on at the beginning of the semester.

“We’ve been doing quite a few patches,” said Judy Molnar, director of Administrative Computing.

Molnar said with the updates to FlashLine, the system can handle up to 5,000 people at once, but the department underestimated how often students would be signing on.

“The vendor we use has software that pretends all the students are hitting the site at the same time, with 100 people logging on every five minutes,” she said. “What happened on the first week of classes is we were getting 100 people per minute.”

Molnar also said many students were closing their browsers without logging out first, which made the system even less stable.

Since then, the university has improved the situation by occasionally closing FlashLine to student access to prevent the system from overflowing again.

Though the university’s server was backed up, Molnar said the first week of this school year was a big improvement over last year.

“It was a lot worse last year,” she said. “The system would completely crash with only 1,200 people on it.”

Alice Iden, director of Shared Services, said she attributes the large number of sign-ons to the increasing amount of services provided by FlashLine.

“People are now starting to use FlashLine for more services,” Iden said. “Last year, they had problems with FlashLine, and we took steps to address them. And this year we’ll take more steps to address these problems.”

Molnar said the university will continue to work on FlashLine to improve it, but with the drop in student activity on the site, they won’t know if the improvements have been beneficial until students move back onto campus after winter break.

“There’s a lot of people who get on during the first two weeks, but now it’s not that bad,” she said. “We won’t know for sure if the changes will help until the next big move-in during the spring.”

Contact technology reporter William Schertz at [email protected].