During winter recess, beginning February 18, ETS began a comprehensive upgrade to the College’s entire network infrastructure. This upgrade required the decision to close the College during the upgrade because critical communication and academic delivery systems like Microsoft Outlook (email), Cisco phones, M:Drive, and myMCC (email) were taken offline. To close the College for four days was not an easy decision for the President’s Cabinet to make, but the decision not to replace critical technology put the College in a very vulnerable position.
The why and the what of the upgrade are detailed in the attached memorandum from Donna Pogroszewski - a document worth your time to read. What was accomplished during the four days technologically is amazing. We are still experiencing glitches in our network system but generally the massive upgrade was accomplished. The fact that there were lingering technological issues after the four days shutdown did cause some communications and online course delivery problems.
The communications plan for the upgrade was developed by a team of 11 MCC staff members representing offices from across the college. The plan comprised two phases: pre-network shutdown and post-network shutdown. Representatives from CCR and ETS worked together each day to provide updates as they became available until all systems were restored.
Initially the communications committee was not aware that a step had been missed in terms of providing names to SUNY regarding late-start, online courses. The impact for students who missed preview week and couldn’t access these courses was significant as were the frustrations of the faculty regarding access to Angel. Although alternative links were provided and Angel page alerts were issued, as the status of many of the systems was intermittent over this period, it was difficult to communicate to end-users up-to-date information regarding Angel access.
In regards to future communication plans, based on our experience and valuable lessons learned during the February network upgrade, two things are paramount. First, we will include a representative of online learning on future technology upgrade project teams to anticipate the potential impact to online teaching and learning. Second, an external information and status report web site, independent of MCC technology will be established for uninterrupted communications about the status of services.
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Educational Technology Services
Feb 2012 Network Upgrade Report.pdf