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UPDATED: SmartSite Remains Offline

By TechNews on May 23, 2016 in University

Quick Summary

  • Vendor misses 11 a.m. target to have learning management system back online
  • SmartSite went down for emergency maintenance at 9 p.m. Friday
  • Academic Technology Services technologists offer options for instructors

Update 1:30 p.m. May 23 from IET's TechNews:

Scriba, which hosts the SmartSite learning management system for UC Davis, missed its deadline of restoring the service by 11 a.m. today after taking it offline late on May 20 for emergency maintenance.

As of 1:30 p.m. today, Scriba had not said when it expects SmartSite to be restored. UC Davis is pressing the company for answers, including when it will implement its backup restoration plans if the outage continues.

UC Davis routinely creates backup copies of important data, and has copies of all data contained in SmartSite as of 9 p.m. May 20, when the service interruption began.

•••

Update 11:19 a.m. May 23 from IET's network status page:

The SmartSite learning management system continues to be unavailable. Scriba, which hosts the service for UC Davis, is performing emergency maintenance and is working to resume service, but has missed its target of restoring service by 11 a.m. today.

UC Davis is asking Scriba for further information on the interruption, and will post an update as soon as one is available. The campus is also pushing Scriba to pursue its established contingency procedures.

Other universities that employ Scriba to host their learning management systems report that their services are coming back online.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the IT Express Service Desk (see contact information below), and continue to check status.ucdavis.edu for service updates.

•••

Update 10:03 a.m. May 23 from IET's network status page:

The SmartSite learning management system continues to be unavailable. Scriba, which hosts the service for UC Davis, is performing emergency maintenance.

Scriba told us this morning that it might not meet its goal of having SmartSite back online at 11 a.m. Pacific time Monday, May 23. However, other universities that employ Scriba to host their learning management systems report that their services are coming back online.

We will post a status update to status.ucdavis.edu at 11 a.m., or sooner if events warrant.

•••

Scriba, which hosts SmartSite, told UC Davis Thursday afternoon (May 19) that the company is taking SmartSite offline this weekend for emergency maintenance. SmartSite will be unavailable from 9 p.m. PDT today (May 20) until 11 a.m. PDT Monday (May 23).

Scriba hosts Sakai-based learning management systems like SmartSite for several universities and colleges, and the outage will affect all of them. UC Davis has contacted Scriba to protest the short notice and extended duration of the outage, but the interruption in service seems unavoidable. Faculty, students and staff should plan accordingly.

If possible, any work you would normally do in SmartSite from Friday night through Monday morning should be done outside of SmartSite. You can move the work into SmartSite after the interruption, as needed.

Ideas for instructors

Academic Technology Services’ instructional technologists also offer these ideas for faculty who use SmartSite:

If you have Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions or Announcements that are timed to end during the outage, you might wish to edit those items so they have an end date after the outage concludes.

If you want to give specific instructions to your students before the outage, you can do so by using the Announcements tool. When you create a new announcement, select “High — All participants” from the “Email Notification” area at the bottom of the announcement creation page.

You might wish to use these non-SmartSite tools to share information with course participants:

  • Class Lists can be used as a substitute for the Mailtool in SmartSite to send email to students.
  • Class rosters are available to print or download (as Excel) here or from my.ucdavis.edu > My Classes > Classes I'm Teaching.
  • Files can be shared (or worked on collaboratively) through drive.google.com or box.com by using the email addresses in the "Email" column found in your class roster download.

Scriba’s message

In a May 19 email to SmartSite administrators from Michael Sanders, president of Scriba, the company said: “Over the past few weeks we have experienced a large number of failures in our primary data center. The failures are as of a result of a third party and are outside of our control. We have been using a number of backup resources to keep our systems operating. However, these systems were intended as a short-term solution, and will not continue to run much longer if the data center cannot resolve the issues.

“Therefore, as a result we are going to have to schedule an emergency maintenance window ... to relocate our equipment to a higher class facility. This facility will ensure continued operations.

“We apologize for any inconvenience that may be caused, and we can [as]sure you we have thoroughly investigated the performance and stability of our new vendor, and we are confident future problems shall not arise. We can assure you that all systems and data are secure, and there is no risk of data loss during the emergency maintenance.”

For more information

UC Davis will post updates about the status of SmartSite at status.ucdavis.edu. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the IT Express Service Desk:

As previously announced, UC Davis is moving to a new learning management system, UC Davis Canvas, starting in 2016-17.

Read the Jan. 11 UC Davis Canvas announcement and the April 4 project update.

 

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