Ouch, can you feel the pain, of faculty, students, tired techies… The servers hosting the Blackboard Enterprise system 6 of our colleges share had some sort of “cataclysmic” failure of the SAN- the data storage. It has been down and out about 2 weeks before finals. Ouch.

I am not directly involved with Blackboard in our system, but it did mean it is unavailable for a few days while scrambling goes on to notify students. get replacement hardware, and try and resurrect the databases. I know there are folks out there pulling all nighters to get the system back, but you can bet that some work or materials are going to be lost

Judging from the emails flying around, folks on both the instructional and technical sides of the house are being understanding, creating work-arounds, but it may serve to create some ripples of distrust.

Maybe it will be a lesson for some that will learn to not rely on faith that the technology will run perfectly all the time. Like most things mechanical, it is prone to failure, and if all your teaching materials sit on one server, and is not anywhere else in your reach, well, you are on thin ice.

There are valid Murphy-like laws I have dealt with mostly for presentations– the network will go down for a web demo (do you have an offline way to show the same info?), the key projector cable will have vanished (do you have a spare?), the set up did not provide a speaker cable for your video files (do you have mini speakers?), or you may have a typo in your PowerPoint (Can you make a joke of it? turn it into a lesson?)

I often start my technology demos with a disclaimer:

Before I begin, my expectation is that the technology I will show you will likely fail.

If it does fail, than I have met my expectations.

If it does not fail, well, than I have exceeded my expectations.

Quite often we expect technology and people using it to be perfect, so allowing for or even inviting imperfection at the outset can set a stage of relief from over stated expectations.

Perfection is highly over-rated.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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