Technical malfunction causes Blackboard shutdown

A Blackboard malfunction occurred on Friday, Oct. 25 which caused the site to shut down for approximately 24 hours during the morning backup process.

According to James Raber, the executive director of Educational Technology and Service Management, the backup process of the content malfunctioned because of a script that had to run to recover services and the script took a while to run.

“Most other outages that we’ve had have been planned system updates or we’re upgrading hardware, and that only takes an hour or so, but this was certainly not planned, it was unexpected,” Raber said. “We had a technical issue and as far as I can remember that’s the longest we’ve had with this Blackboard shutdown.” 

Raber said that the well-defined communication plan that they follow when they run into problems helped them get through the situation with less damages. They posted notifications about the system on their site and had people at the help desk answering calls and providing people with information.

Kent State students couldn’t submit their work and the malfunction created an inconvenience for teachers. Some students complained about the shutdown on social media. 

“We had some complaints that came through social media and through some other channels kind of asking, ‘what’s going on,’ ‘how long it’s going to be down,’ but we handled it pretty well,” Raber said.  

Todd Ryan, the director of infrastructure engineering, said since the beginning of last spring the department has recognized it needs to have a new recovery plan, and it will be completed next year. He said this outage would have not happened if the new process was implemented because it would’ve taken less time. 

“We’ve learned a lot from this experience,” Ryan said. “We were already in the process of developing an improved disaster recovery process, but we’re also implementing some short term changes in the interim to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again before that new system is in place.”

Contact Sara Al Harthi at [email protected].