Desire 2 Learn suffers largest outage ever

The Jan. 29 Desire 2 Learn outage has angered students, faculty and the company itself.

JP Dunn, a learning management system administrator for the Center for Teaching Excellence, said D2L is still working to figure out what caused the outage, but the company wants students and faculty to know it is just as upset as the site’s users.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before, and as we speak we are continuing to do upgrades and improvements to the site so nothing like this will ever happen again,” Dunn said.

Dennis Kavelman, the chief operating officer for D2L, said in a Feb. 7 letter to all users that the company worked around the clock to fix the problem and ensure users have not missed anything that will cause a recurrence. “I apologize for the frustration caused by the loss

of service,” he said. “We understand the disruption this produced for learners and educators, and it was unacceptable.”

Kavelman said the company’s goal is to be completely reliable.

He said the company began working on major upgrades that include moving to a new storage platform once the site was fully restored. This will allow D2L to run smoother during high-traffic periods, he said

D2L was first introduced to the university in 2010. Dunn said the university began to seek other options once the contract for Blackboard, the former online course outlet, neared expiration.

“We formed a committee and began conducting surveys to find out what students and faculty wanted out of an online tool, and we discovered D2L would be the best route to take,” Dunn said.

Amanda Williams, a degree- holding senior from Bluffs studying psychology, said she preferred Blackboard to D2L because of its simplified navigation. “Compared to Blackboard I honestly dislike D2L,” she said. “When the outage happened, I couldn’t print notes that I really needed for class so it was definitely a big inconvenience.” Austin Johnson, a sophomore

from Chicago studying exercise science, said he didn’t experience the outage because he only checks his D2L every few days.

“I wasn’t aware of an outage, but thankfully I only use D2L to check grades a couple times a week, “ he said. “If I needed it for something important, I would have been really upset.” D2L has existed for about 13 years, Dunn said.

The site serves about 200 higher-education institutes worldwide, with a majority of them being schools in the U.S., according to its website.

Dunn said every college or university in Wisconsin and Georgia has switched to D2L from Blackboard. Dunn said the newest version of D2L will be downloaded May 15, and the process should take about two days to complete.


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