Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

IT plans to ‘beef up’ Blackboard Web site

A power outage that caused the student online database Blackboard to crash also prompted USF Information Technology (IT) to enhance the site’s internal structure.

Director of Educational Technologies for IT Dennis Walpole said it’s actually been a concept for some time, but IT now has a more concrete time line as to when the Blackboard enhancement plan will be complete.

After the power outage at USF on Oct. 4, IT noticed Blackboard was down around 3 p.m. when the generator used to power the system failed, Walpole said.

Until the site was restored – about 3 a.m. the next day – Blackboard’s performance could not be “optimal due to a reduced capability of the disaster recovery system,” according to a maintenance post on the site.

So, IT wants to “beef up the disaster system,” Walpole said.

The goal is to install a third system that will act as another backup in the chance of a similar situation like the power outage.

“(It’s) enhancing the system to have less impact on the students and faculty,” Walpole said.

Students and faculty shouldn’t have lost site information because the recovery system contained the files, he said.

Blackboard has two systems: production and disaster recovery.

Production is the main system and disaster recovery is the backup. But students don’t really notice a difference between the two, Walpole said.

The process will involve three phases. The first was to get the production and disaster recovery systems working again.

The second includes the installation of a third system. Walpole said IT wants to have that completed in November.

In the third phase, IT will implement a separation of the systems. Walpole did not specify a completion date for that.

On Oct. 4, a technical glitch with a transformer box in a USF substation on Fletcher Avenue left some campus buildings and 3,500 other Tampa Electric Company (TECO) customers in the Tampa area without power for more than two hours, said Rick Morera, spokesman for TECO.

The USF Library, Athletics, Sun Dome, Marshall Student Center, academic buildings, residence halls and areas north and west of campus lost power.

The enhancement plan is more “cost effective,” Walpole said. He said IT is still looking at new equipment and did not give a specific cost value of the system.