Managing Maintenance Days

patienceAs a reminder, Monday, February 20 (Presidents’ Day holiday) is a full maintenance day. All systems will be offline from 7 AM to 7 PM. If you gain access during this time, you may be cut off without warning.

We are planning out on a work-around to allow for Blackboard access during times like this, but that’s not in place yet. Since Blackboard is now hosted at Open SUNY (i.e. off campus), that part of the system is available. The issue is that the authentication (i.e. usernames and passwords) are stored on site in Batavia. As a result, Blackboard is up and running but there’s no way to log in.

By the next major maintenance, which would be October, we’ll have an alternative login site available so that you can log into Blackboard. The Library will still not be available, but just Blackboard being available will be helpful.

It’s useful for faculty to make sure your students have something to ‘do’ on that day. A number of students may have the day off from work and will plan to ‘catch up’ on the work they may be behind on. Help them be prepared for the maintenance so they can be productive.

My list of things you can suggest students do:

  • catch up on reading; point out textbook chapters that should be read
  • set up a reading list of online materials and indicate students should download/print the list (the rest of the internet isn’t going to be closed!)
  • if you have tests/quizzes that are not one-time-only or timed, encourage students to download/print the quiz so they can enter their answers later
  • point out discussion entries that may be due; students can write their responses offline and enter them later
  • point out what part of an upcoming writing assignment can be prepped offline; what non-digital non-Genesee materials will they still have access to
  • students who have their Genesee email set up on a mobile device will still be able to access their Genesee email; but you can’t count on everyone having access to that
  • if you use a publisher web site, can your students access that without Blackboard? If they can, remind them how it can be done

You don’t have to work hard to help your students be productive… just give it some thought!

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System Maintenance – July 13, Mid to 7 am

Genesis / Blackboard will be off line for planned system maintenance on Wednesday, July 13 from Midnight to about 7 am.

The system may be available before 7 am, but the midnight is a firm time.

STUDENTS: Plan to complete any tests or submit assignments well before midnight. If you are still online at midnight, you will be cut off without warning.

FACULTY: Please look at your summer course schedule and make allowances for this down time.

Library resources will still be available and students can access email through the http://mail.genesee.edu link.

Questions? Send them to helpdesk@genesee.edu and we’ll get back to you.

 

Computer Maintenance Dates – Fall 2015

As you are putting final touches on your syllabus, it should be helpful to be aware of the following scheduled maintenance dates.

We will be finalizing the actual work that will be done and there’s always a (slim) change it won’t affect access, and it may take less time than scheduled, but better safe than sorry.

Plan that there will be no access to Genesis, Blackboard, faculty email, library databases and the web site on the following dates:

  • Sunday, September 20 – 8 am to 12 noon
  • Monday, October 12 – 7 am to 5 pm (Columbus day holiday)
  • Saturday, November 28 — 8 am to 4 pm (part of the Thanksgiving weekend)

Please, please, please… give your students a list of things they can do offline on these days. I am very aware that there are many students who have jobs, kids, parents, dogs, cows and just lives (although how do they get a life when I don’t have one!), and they do depend on the holidays to ‘catch up’ with your courses. Help them help themselves by being ready with suggestions on what they can do without needing to access Blackboard.

Any or all of the following:

  • What can they download
  • Reading assignments they should be doing
  • Non-GCC web sites they can use
  • What can they print from your course, work on offline, and upload later

You know your students won’t think of any of these… being prepared will help deal with some of the angst!

I’ll be sending reminders the week before each date, but wanted to send the list now!

Have a great semester!

Blackboard Maintenance

In order to perform routine maintenance and to install some updates, we need to take Blackboard offline for an extended period of time.

Blackboard will be offline
from 6:00 pm on Sunday, May 19
through 8:00 pm on Tuesday, May 21.

There will be no access to Blackboard during this time!

Yes, this is 2 full days.  If you get into Blackboard during this window, be aware that you may be kicked out without warning. Any work you perform during this time may be lost!

As you know, there’s no good time to do this, and we try to schedule major maintenance around the major portions of the semester. We’re aware that you may be prepping summer session or have an ongoing ACE class…

If you have questions or concerns, do ask!

 

New Features in Blackboard!

As you may have heard we will be installing several Blackboard updates on May 19-21. These updates will correct several issues and enhance some of the current tools. There is also some new functionality that will be added.

Because you won’t have access to the new features until after May 21, I have decided to offer a New Feature Showcase session next week.  This 3 hour session (this is not a hands-on workshop) will introduce you to some of the new features and changes that will happen as a result of the May 19-21 update. You can check out of all the new features at the Feature Showcase by following this link http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Learn/Products/Blackboard-Learn/Features.aspx#inspired-vista

Here are some of the enhancements:

  • The new Blackboard Global Navigation where all course information (messages, assignments, posts, etc.) from all courses is in one place. This has long been a request from faculty everywhere.
  • The totally new Retention Center used to monitor student performance (think the old Track Students tool on steroids).
  • The inline grading function that allows grading of assignments without leaving the course
  • The improved Discussion tool.
  • A dynamite Calendar tool. 
  • The new Video everywhere feature that allows you to easily add video to discussions, announcements and other places throughout your course.

Here is the schedule for the New Feature Showcase: (All sessions are in T-205)

  • 9-12 Wednesday Morning May 15
  • 1-4 Thursday Afternoon May 16
  • 9-12 Friday Morning May 17

No reservation required. Just stop by and see all the cool new stuff.

We hope to see you at one of the sessions next week.

Blackboard Collaborate Maintenance window

If this is all “blah, blah, blah, blah..” reach out and ask me if this applies to you!  ::grin::

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This is for Blackboard COLLABORATE only. Only for the Webinar software within Blackboard. Not for Blackboard itself.

There is a maintenance window happening from 10:00 PM on Saturday, January 26 through 2:00 AM on Sunday, January 27. (EST)

During this time, Blackboard COLLABORATE will be unavailable. Webinars and recordings of webinars will not be available during this maintenance window.

In theory, the upgrade happening this weekend allows for conversion of recorded webinars to MP3 and MP4 format. Hmmm… okay, more documentation that I need to look at sooner than later!  This may be cool!

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Questions? You know where I live!

–MJ

Intermittent Blackboard Access, Jan 18-20

This actually applies to all college web services, but since this is the Blackboard blog… 🙂

As you plan your Spring coursework….

Cole’s Notes Version:

Internet access to college resources may be intermittent and unreliable from 5 pm, Friday, January 18 through 12:00 noon, Sunday, January 20. Some users will see absolutely no problems, other users may have little or no access. And no predicting who or how long.

(PS: Anyone know who “Cole” is?)

Bottom line:

If you have work due the end of the first week of classes, be flexible in your deadlines. My personal recommendation is to extend anything to Monday, January 21 at midnight to stay away from the work window.

The Unabridged Version:

The college is moving to a new Internet Service Provider (lower cost and more bandwidth!) and we have to do the cutover to the new ISP. Which means new IP addresses for servers on campus and for the college in general.

The best analogy is when you move to a new home, it takes a while for some of your mail to catch up to you. Even when you notify the post office, most of your mail comes through but then there are the folk who only send you mail a couple of times a year who may miss the window during which the post office does that automatic forwarding. Or you have a new mailperson who misses that the mail should be forwarded and your handful of letters goes to your old address and the new folk throw it back in the mail (if you’re lucky) and then the next mail person realizes the problem and forwards it to you.

Gonna be like that. Some folk will get the ‘message’ that GCC has moved to a new IP address and have no problems. Other folk won’t have the message anywhere and it will take time to get to them. There won’t be any rhyme or reason to explain why some folk can get in and others cannot.

And there will be some (brief) outages while we first do the cut-over, mostly on Friday night. That’s like the night you spent in a hotel while moving because the moving truck needed 2 days to get to the new house and you don’t have any furniture anywhere….

The Library and the Computer Lab (T207) should be fine on Saturday, but it’s the first Saturday of the semester, so we’re not expecting huge crowds. And the majority of work should really be done by Sunday, so any Sunday classes should not be affected.

Phew.

Questions? Ask! You know where I live!