Wednesday, October 24, 2007

General system slowness / database error

Today we are still seeing generalized slowness on the Blackboard system.  Right now there are 1622 concurrent users on the system (down from yesterday’s high of 4200) and the system is still touchy.  Several reports of “Database Error” messages in particular.  We’ve been told that the main source of the problem is again the gradebook/assessments module.  District IT is putting two more web servers into place immediately (should be finished this morning) which will bring the total number of Blackboard web servers to 13.  We’ll keep you updated as we get more information.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Five o'clock update

I hate to sound like the boy who cried wolf, but we are again seeing some irregularities in the system performance.  Right now we have nearly 3600 concurrent users on the system.  Apparently today we hit an ALL TIME HIGH for the number of concurrent Blackboard users at 4200.  Remember, the more people we cram onto the boat, the more likely we are to take on water...  We are also experiencing both midterm exams and the start of the second 8 weeks courses at the same time.  Thanks for your patience in bearing with the system as we navigate these choppy waters.  

Performance problems today

The problem with Blackboard today appears to have been related to a background process that was running in the system.  IT staff terminated that process and restarted Blackboard.  As of now, Blackboard has returned to its normal functionality.  We are sorry for the inconvenience.

To: ARC Faculty <>, CRC-Faculty <>, FLC - Faculty <>, SCC - Faculty <>
Conversation: Blackboard
Subject: Blackboard

There was an issue with Blackboard today, October 23rd, from 2:00-2:40pm.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

------ End of Forwarded Message

Blackboard VERY slow right now

We are currently experiencing some extremely slow response times from Blackboard.   We (SCC) are checking with District IT to determine and resolve the problem. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Connect 2nd 8 Week Rosters

(10/17) We have modified our process for requesting roster-to-course connections.

There is still an Acrobat document that guides you through the questions and send us email with your request details. It also save the requests to a database.

So what's new? We have a searchable database of all your courses because there is often confusion when there are several Bb courses that could be linked to several class rosters.

Start by searching for your courses at
The link on search results page opens the Acrobat Blackboard Course Request form.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Firefox users - beware of Java update

I advocate Bb users have more than one browser on their computers, and my preferred browser on Windows and Macintosh is Firefox. Here is a tip from Greg Beyrer (CRC) "I updated Java this morning like a good soldier but then discovered that it is taking more than 20 minutes to load the visual textbox editor to post something to a discussion board. I even restarted my computer without making a difference. I then disabled Java 1.6 (leaving Java 1.4) using the Java console control panel and that didn’t help. I even uninstalled Java 6 and it didn’t help. Firefox now works with the old version of Java (1.4) so I’ll stick with that version."

Mid semester - don't mess with success! And, backup your gradebook and take 30 minutes to organize the files on your hard drive to better reflect the organization of your online courses.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ups and downs of internet / Bb access

After I posted the “all clear” message we received from IT yesterday morning at 10:50, Los Rios once again lost access to the outside world (internet connectivity) for a large portion of the late morning and afternoon.  Again, this means Blackboard was not accessible to students from off campus until connectivity was once again restored at 4:25 pm.  Clearly this affected students’ ability to access their courses for majority of the day.  We have seen a rise in service interruptions over the past few weeks—generally due to differing circumstances, such as power outages or AT&T circuit problems—but regardless of the cause, connectivity issues are troubling to online faculty and students and present an barrier to effective teaching and learning.  SCC staff will be working with District IT to develop further safeguards against service interruptions.  Thanks for your patience as we continue to work through some of these issues.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

From District IT: Internet services restored

Internet services, including off-campus access to Blackboard, have been restored.  The message from IT is below:

Subject: FW: Internet services restored

Internet Services to the District were restored at approximately 9:55 AM this morning (Wednesday 10/10).  Once AT&T dispatched a technician in the field, the problem was quickly diagnosed and resolved.  Los Rios IT has escalated this and other recent Internet outages to our Internet Service Provider (CENIC) for ‘root cause’ analysis and long-term resolution.  
Thank you for your patience during this outage period.  
Brian Roach
Director, Technical Services
Los Rios Community College District

Internet Services Not Working and Limited E-mail

The following message is from IT staff at SCC sent this morning at 7:50 am.  Please note that Blackboard may not be accessible to students from off campus until this issue is resolved:

SCC Community –
We are currently experiencing problems with our connection to the internet. This means you will not be able to connect to external (non Los Rios) websites. Blackboard, Peoplesoft and all other Los Rios websites are still accessible from campus.  In terms of e-mail you will be able to send/receive messages from people with a Los Rios e-mail account.
The District Office is aware of the problem and working with AT&T. I will forward you any additional information I receive. Thank you for your patience.

Los Rios Internet Access Down (Blackboard affected)

Following is a message from District IT regarding a loss of internet connectivity today. Until this issue is resolved, Blackboard is not accessible from off-campus.
10/10/07 7:53 a.m.

Los Rios lost access to the internet this morning about 2 a.m. Los Rios is connected to the internet by CENIC (Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California).

CENIC leases a high speed circuit from ATT. The problem appears to be with the circuit provided by ATT. CENIC has been aware of the problem since early this morning and has been working with ATT to get it resolved. This circuit has gone out of service several times this year, and ATT does not seem to be able to decisively resolve the problem.

Los Rios has been working for several years to secure fiber optic cable to link our campuses together and to provide a redundant link to CENIC, eliminating the need for this problematic ATT circuit. The fiber for the connection to CENIC is in place and equipment has been ordered to bring it into service.

I apologize for the lack of service this morning. Our goal is to provide continuous high quality service throughout the network. Over the next two months, we hope to complete the fiber optic network project, providing improved protection against these kinds of outages.


Mick Holsclaw

Associate Vice Chancellor for IT

Los Rios Community College District

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Internet Connection Lost - Sat 10/6

Notification from LRCCD Help Desk: On Saturday (10/6/07) about 5:45pm we experienced an outage of the DS3 circuit connecting Los Rios to the Internet. The problem was isolated and resolved by AT&T technicians at about 9:15pm. Although there were no problems with the Los Rios servers that support Blackboard, PeopleSoft, and other systems in the Data Center, this network outage caused these servers to be inaccessible via the Internet.

We realize that Blackboard is heavily used on the weekend and evenings and we apologize for this disruption. Los Rios technicians, in addition to the AT&T technicians, respond quickly and the problem was resolved as timely as possible.