School Days, School Daze

The semester at EMU started on Wednesday, but the first day of teaching for me was yesterday, September 4. The first day of school is always a somewhat strained and awkward, that uncomfortable situation where you meet someone who you are going to have to “deal with” for the next 15 weeks, one way or the other. So far, so good– I think I’ve got three pretty good classes this semester.

Of course the big talk on campus these first few days is the failing performance of For anyone who might be reading this from someplace not at EMU: last year, they began implementing a “portal” system at EMU called “my.emich,” also known by its commercial name, “campus pipeline.” Essentially, it’s a software package that intergrates just about any Internet-based application that you would want to use regardless fo what you do at EMU– email, of course, but also anything having to do with scheduling (for students), calendar functions, grading, other teaching things (for faculty), managing nearly anything on campus (for staff). Well, that system has essentially crashed and crashed hard– sometimes it will work for a few minutes, and then it will stop working. And then it will come back for a bit and then it will stop.

I have no idea what’s wrong, and so far, no one in Informational and Communication Technology seems to be talking about it in any detail either. Maybe they don’t know what’s wrong. But if I didn’t know better, I would say that the problem had to do with the tech folks dramatically underestimating the level of useage. It is behaving like what happens with web sites or other types of sites when they get too many hits. If that’s the problem, that’s a pretty amateurish problem, especially since they spent something like $27 million on all of this stuff.

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