It was a frustrating first week for many students and faculty at Purdue University, where the Blackboard system went down four separate times over a period of nine days. The outages, which resulted largely from increased usage and the use of a new version of the learning management system, ranged from 45 minutes to more than four hours.
Purdue, which hosts Blackboard on its own servers, has been in communication with Blackboard technicians three times a day and has also contacted other universities to see how they have managed the upgrade to Blackboard Learn. According to university spokesman Steve Tally, the downtime was not the result of one big problem, but of several small glitches that needed to be fixed.
Blackboard, for its part, acknowledged that the back-to-school period can be particularly problematic, since the systems see much more traffic than usual. But Matt Maurer, a spokesman for the company, said Blackboard has seen a decrease in the downtime for all users in the past few years, along with a faster response time by technicians when there is a problem. In Purdue's case, a representative from Blackboard was sent to the university to help deal with the problem on-site.