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    Posted March 19, 2013 by
    Eugene, Oregon

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    UO students petition the university to cancel finals


    UPDATE: Barbara Altmann, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs RESPONDS BACK with this following message in an email:



    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 isbaltmann@uoregon.edu. 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.



    Sonny Mehta, a student at the University of Oregon, has created a petition on Change.org to try and cancel all finals for March 19th, 2013 due to the Blackboard system crashing.


    What is blackboard? Blackboard is an online site that allows faculty to add resources for students to access. Powerpoint, Captivate, video, audio, animation, and other applications are created outside of Blackboard and added into Blackboard courses for students to enhance teaching and learning efforts.


    Sonny: "Blackboard has been offline for over 10 hours, access to course websites for ALL students is crucial for student success during for final exams..Example: A student can't find his/her final exam study guide, has to go to blackboard the day before his/her final to access the course website and re-download study guide, finds that blackboard.uoregon.edu is down for some reason, student cannot re-access course materials necessary for studying for their exam. Not canceling ALL finals tomorrow would be an affront to civil society, would be an injustice never before seen, finally it's just plain messed up."


    Petition Link: https://www.change.org/petitions/the-university-of-oregon-cancel-finals-on-march-19th-2013


    In the last two hours, Sonny's petition has gained 605 signatures and that number is steadily increasing.


    Below are a few comments from supporters:


    Sarah L. EUGENE, OR
    Blackboard down the first day of finals week? Ridiculous. Maybe if the school observed dead week then students would not feel the need to cram the day before exams.


    Maggie H. EUGENE, OR
    I have a very hard history final tomorrow, my last one as a student, and I am unable to access all the online readings our professor laid out for us as well as the final exam study guide.


    Nathan S. PORTLAND, OR
    Blackboard goes down the day before I have an organic chemistry final? I demand blood.


    Jordan Y. BEAVERTON, OR
    Blackboard has all of my course materials. Any grade I receive on my final will not accurately reflect my full understanding of the course, and puts me at a complete disadvantage.


    Blackboard is CRUCIAL for studying for my final and my ability to study has been compromised by the complications with Blackboard!!!!! JUSTICE!!!


    What do you think of this petition? Should the University of Oregon cancel all finals tomorrow? Are students simply trying to get a way out of finals?


    Comment below or tweet me @Mizzballin01

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