Update: Learning Portal Issues in February and March

Since Feb. 17th, users of our Learning Portal have had to deal with a series of unexpected ‘outages’ for our Learning Portal.

First of all, as the person ultimately responsible for this system, please let me extend my apologies for any difficulties, and let me assure you that the entire team is working very hard to eliminate these issues.

Second, I just want to clarify something about the outages. Many people have complained about ‘Blackboard’ because this is the software we use for our Learning Portal. For the record, the problem has not been with the Blackboard software, which has actually functioned perfectly well throughout. The problem has been, in fact, with a database application on which Blackboard relies.

This is little comfort to those who have attempted to use the Learning Portal and have not been able to, but I thought it important and fair to share some of the details.

Back on February 17, we attempted what should have been a routine upgrade to the database software. After rigourous pre-upgrade testing on the test server for the database, we ran the upgrade on our production server and it failed, corrupting the database. The vendor analyzed the situation and it turns out that there was a bug in their upgrade routine.

We did manage to get the thing running again so people could use the Learning Portal, but since then, we’ve had a couple of more crashes of the database as we recover from the original failure. As I said, our entire team is fully committed to making sure the Portal experience is stable and effective!

Again, my apologies and my thanks for your patience.

Avi Hyman, Director, Academic & Collaborative Technologies

(For Portal system status messages, please see:
http://www.systemstatus.utoronto.ca/system/systems/portal )