University of Oregon



To:      University Community

From:  Barbara Altmann, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Re:       Problems with Blackboard, March 18-19, 2013

As you may know, there have been problems with the on-line Blackboard system over the last day. It became unstable as of 3:22 p.m. Monday and was restored by 1:00 a.m. Tuesday.  The UO Libraries and Information Services took immediate action and worked on the problem well into the night. It was thanks to their creative problem-solving that a stable version of Blackboard was up and running by early this morning.

Instructors and GTFs with Blackboard course sites for Winter ‘13 were notified last night, alerting them to the problem, and then again at 7:00 a.m. today, announcing that another configuration of Blackboard had been deployed and that it was once again stable for use of course materials and exam administration. There have been no further problems reported.

It is possible that some students and instructors were affected by this lack of availability, to various degrees and in different ways. I have consulted Student Affairs, the Provost’s office, the University Registrar, the UO Senate president, and the Library and Information Services in coordinating our response.

  • Students affected by lack of availability of Blackboard resources should contact their instructors to discuss accommodations if needed.
  • GTFs affected should work with their lead faculty.
  • Faculty should take into account the impact this inconvenience might have had on their students. I encourage faculty to work with their department heads or deans to work out fair, equitable, and quick accommodations.
  • Multiple sections of the same course should be handled in a consistent manner.
  • Deans and department heads are encouraged to call me if they want to discuss options and approaches. My phone number in Academic Affairs is 6-2172 and my e-mail is I’m happy to consult as we work through any necessary adjustments.
  • No change has been made to the due date for grades in schools and colleges just ending winter quarter – it remains 12 noon next Monday, March 25th.

Any accommodations that instructors and departments choose to offer will vary widely. Accommodations will depend primarily on whether and to what degree Blackboard was integral to preparing and administering exams during the final week of W13. Our first concern – shared by faculty, students, and administration – is the academic integrity of the various assignments and exams being administered this week, and the fairness of any approach we take to compensate for the lapse in service.

For the latest update on Blackboard's status, see