Updated: RMIT online resources down

No end in sight as IT staff clamour to revive downed Blackboard server

Updated: A spokesperson has confirmed RMIT students can now view and download course documentation, but the university has advised against adding content, "including submitting quizzes and posting on discussion boards until the recover is fully completed". RMIT expects to have all servers up and running later tonight.

Online student services at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Victoria have gone down at the start of mid-semester break due to a major hardware failure in the university’s systems.

The outage affects the Blackboard learning management system as well as the “Studies” tab on the myRMIT site, which gives students access to resources such as recorded lectures, course information and presentations.

According to the RMIT site, the outage was first reported on Sunday 29 August, and is yet to be resolved. An automated phone message for the RMIT helpdesk advises students that IT staff are fielding “a high number of inquiries at the moment due to blackboard outage”.

“Support teams are already investigating the issue,” the automated message states.

One of the IT staff told Computerworld Australia in an email that a major hardware failure had taken down one of the Blackboard servers, taking down the learning management system and Studies page on the myRMIT site.

“We have not been advised about the resolution time and we apologise for this. The support team is currently working on resolving this issue and trying to resolve it as soon as possible,” they said.

The outage comes as on-campus RMIT students enter their mid-semester break. However the outage is believed to affect distance students studying for exams this week, as well as those taking mid-semester intensives and courses.

Blackboard is an online intranet system popular amongst Australian universities, currently in use by higher education institutions such as the Curtin University of Technology, Macquarie University, Australian Catholic University and Queensland University of Technology among others.

RMIT’s Blackboard system has already had one scheduled outage in August, with another scheduled for the end of the week. The university plans to upgrade its systems from version 7.2 to the latest 9.1 edition over the Christmas break in December, providing a new interface and customisable options for users, as well as improved results grading and social media features.

RMIT will be conducting road shows in the lead up to the new rollout, to educate students and teachers on the changes. ITS executive director, Allan Morris, said the outage would not affect the planned upgrade.

Are you affected by the outage? Let us know in the comments below, or contact the author of this article at james_hutchinson@idg.com.au

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