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Last week, CU and dozens of other college campuses across the country panicked as Desire2Learn crashed midweek.
Students and professors alike were frustrated and forced to rearrange scheduled readings and assignments. Following the incident, questions have circulated as to why D2L was chosen as CU’s new learning system.
George Moore, an American literature and creative writing professor at CU, is a member of the D2L advisory committee and was one of the people asked to run the D2L prototype system when the campus switched to Blackboard from D2L.
“The entire system runs from the D2L company,” Moore said. “We are one of about a 120 schools or ‘clients’ whose system [was] down or operating at such low capacity that it [was] virtually down. They realized with the crash a few weeks ago at the beginning of the semester that they needed more data backup space. They were in the process of transferring some clients over to the new system when the new crash happened.”
Moore explained that, ironically, one reason CU switched from Blackboard to D2L was because D2L promised the campus a “fool-proof backup system” that would never be down for more than four hours, a promise Blackboard could not match.
Despite the operating system crash, Moore expressed satisfaction with the D2L system as a whole.
“I have still been pretty impressed with D2L after the switch,” he said. “It was immediately faster than Blackboard, and easier in some ways to navigate.”
Many professors reacted to the D2L crash by sending out emails to their students with explanations, copies of assignments and syllabuses.
Students seemed more inconvenienced than angry by the website crash.
Forrest Mellblom, a 20-year-old sophomore open option major, was not greatly affected by D2L’s sudden crash last week because it was early in the semester.
“I heard [CU] has had better systems in the past,” Mellblom said. “I don’t think D2L is the best system in the world right now.”
Some students were more sympathetic to D2L as a company.
“I wouldn’t say it’s user-friendly, but I don’t really have a problem with it,” said Alex Johnson, a 19-year-old freshman biology major. “[Last week] it was inconvenient for everybody. I feel bad for D2L, actually. The emails that CU sent out were so mean to them.”
Larry Levine, the associate vice chancellor of Information Technology and chief information officer, sent out several emails to all CU students explaining the campus-wide frustration with the D2L system during and after the site crash.
“I am truly sorry that the current and past Desire2Learn outages are crippling the teaching and learning activities on our campus,” Levine said in a campus-wide email. “D2L was chosen as the new campus online learning environment based on the recommendation of an evaluation committee that included faculty members and other important campus constituents. Despite D2L’s many strengths as a teaching and learning tool, D2L—the company—has proven unreliable as a service provider.”
Currently, the D2L system runs and operates at the D2L company headquarters. According to Levine, CU is hoping to run D2L on CU’s campus so that it will be under the control of the Office of Information Technology. However, the switch would take time and might not be accomplished for the current Spring 2013 semester.
As of now, the D2L system is up and working as CU, OIT and D2L work on a way to prevent further crashes.
For service alerts about the status of D2L in the future, visit here.
Contact Assistant Breaking News Editor Alyx Saupe at Alyx.firstname.lastname@example.org.