News - November 16, 2010

Breakdown shuts down blackboard

A major breakdown concerning databases of Wageningen UR made it impossible for students to log in to their digital learning space EDUweb and blackboard yesterday morning. For the cell biology subject, three hundred students could not attend their ICT practicum.

Ten thousand students were temporarily cut off from information on marks and timetables. Presentations, group working and lecture literature were also not available. The breakdown was repaired at about two in the afternoon.
Cell biology
The three hundred students taking cell biology had their lecture as usual yesterday morning, but the subsequent practicum could not be carried out. Lecturer Lidy van Kemenade: 'We have designed the lesson in such a way that the materials from the lecture can be used immediately in the subsequent practicum. Students are given two hours for this, and they can ask questions on the spot. A great pity that this could not be done, especially when it involved so many students.' Van Kemenade has meanwhile set a date for a make-up session. She is not angry with the ICT department. 'They've always provided good service.'
Marco Otte of FB-IT explains the problems technically: 'During the weekend, we installed standard Windows updates and then we restarted the servers. Things went wrong after the restarting. On Sunday evening, we discovered a breakdown and we worked through the night. But it was only after contacting Microsoft did we find out that the so-called SQL browser service - responsible for the connection to the databases - did not restart automatically.