Why is Blackboard Unavailable?
What systems does Blackboard use?
There are many systems that work together to bring digital content to users of Blackboard. Included in this list are systems such as:
- the Internet infrastructure system accessed by the University through one or more Internet Service Providers (ISP),
- Student Information System (SIS),
- LDAP (Light Directory Access Protocol) which helps to direct your access to appropriate systems through your UWin ID and a single login,
- Security systems (which prevent unauthorized access to content and systems),
- Internet load distribution hardware and software (which prevents overloading through only one access point),
- Database(s) (which house the data used throughout the system),
- Systems that are peripheral to the Blackboard, but are necessary for Blackboard to perform specific functions (such as UWinGmail, Faculty/Staff Webmail, Library systems, SafeAssign, Blackboard Collaborate, Echo360, TurningPoint, LectureTools, publisher websites linked into a course through a web link, LTI integrations into Blackboard, etc).
This list is ever expanding, and constantly evolving, which is where a system such as Blackboard, gets its strength. This is the back-end of the system provided to you through technologies used by many "servers" and "storage systems." There may be total outages of one or more of the above systems, bringing access to Blackboard Learn to a full halt until the problem has been resolved. There may be partial outages to parts of Blackboard when a peripheral system is down, which may get unnoticed by most users unless you are trying to utilize a specific function that has been impacted. If you think you might be experiencing a failure of a function or system, please let us know at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp.
To maintain this set of systems, regular maintenance needs to occur, which involves applying patches and restarting the systems, similar to when you install a new program on your computer that requires rebooting. The University has regular maintenance hours in the early part of the day to accomplish this in order to impact the least number of users, while having necessary supports in place for the technical components. Blackboard's scheduled maintenance times are:
* Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
- Between 5:00 to 6:00 AM
What can get in the way from my end?
Even if everything at the University is working well, there are problems that can occur from your end. Below are some of the reasons, and locations that you can find support to solve your problem.
- Account Problems
* Browser and Plug-In Issues
- Blackboard has this help page which details the supported browsers and where to find help. A quick check of your browser's compatibility and needed plug-ins can be accomplished by visiting http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbchecker. For a handful of Blackboard functions, (uploading multiple files, Blackboard Collaborate) you may require java plugins. More details at: [Blackboard Browser support pages https://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Learn/9.1_2014_04/Instructor/015_Browser_Support/013_Browser_Support_for_October_2014].
*Your Computer Isn't Connecting to the Internet
- Check your computer's cable connection points to see that they are working correctly, access points (such as a router or modem - sometimes a quick reset of the power to these devices solves many problems), **Your Internet Service Provider is having issues providing Internet access (e.g. construction has severed a line).
*Your Mobile Devices Aren't Connecting to Blackboard