Section II: Communications Regarding Major Outages

Last Updated: 08/08/2013


The section below lists the communications issued to the campus regarding the two major outages that occurred in the spring 2013 semester. This section also includes some of the media coverage that resulted from the January 29 to February 1 outage, given that this outage affected many higher educational institutions in the U.S. as well as several in Canada.

Proactive Communications to the Campus

In order to provide ongoing status updates during the disruptions on January 16, 2013, and January 29 through February 1, 2013, OIT communicated to the campus in several ways. During the January 29 to February 1 outage, OIT provided information regarding alternative technologies (i.e., Google Apps and course rosters) that could be used for certain teaching and learning needs. OIT also solicited face-to-face feedback to hear directly about the negative impact, difficult teaching challenges, and general frustration the faculty, students and staff faced. (See “Summarized feedback from faculty and students” section.)

Messages were communicated to the campus via news story postings on the OIT website and via emails. Messages were also posted on the campus’ login page of D2L and in campus publications. Additionally, given OIT had just launched several social media venues (i.e., Facebook, Google+ and Twitter) at the end of January 2013, messages were also further shared via these venues.

Communications are listed in chronological order:

January 16, 2013, Outage-related Communications

Date Communication Details

Acknowledgement of Desire2Learn Outages

Larry Levine, CU-Boulder AVC for IT and CIO, issued a memo acknowledging the challenges posed by the D2L outage.

January 29 to February 1, 2013, Outage-related Communications

Date Communication Details

Acknowledgement of Desire2Learn Outage

Larry Levine, AVC for IT and CIO, issued this memo to CU-Boulder faculty, staff and students on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, acknowledging the difficulties posed by the outage and indicating that OIT will evaluate the appropriate path forward for the campus’ Online Learning Environment (OLE).

1/30/2013 Desire2Learn Feedback Sessions

This communication invited students, faculty and staff to feedback sessions where they could voice their frustrations and concerns regarding the outage as well as the reliance on D2L as an OLE.


Communicating with Students about the D2L outage

Provost Russell Moore issued an email to CU-Boulder faculty further acknowledging the outage and encouraged faculty to develop work-arounds.

The communication linked to the workarounds, which are listed here for reference:

2/13/2013 An apology from Desire2Learn CEO John Baker

John Baker, the President and CEO of D2L, issued a formal apology to CU-Boulder regarding the outage. In this communication, they highlighted plans for a path forward to avoid a similar outage in the future.

2/13/2013 Desire2Learn Outage Summary & Apology

OIT posted a news story providing further information regarding path-forward evaluations.

This communication also linked to two letters from the D2L company:

  • The apology from the D2L CEO (listed above)
  • And outage summary from the D2L company’s COO
2/14/2013 D2L Open Forum Follow-up

Cary Smith of D2L issued a follow-up email regarding an open call that D2L hosted with OIT clients regarding the recent outage. This communication contained a letter from D2L’s President and CEO, John Baker, highlighting key points. Those who missed the open call were invited to call Cary directly.

Social media reposts of the above-listed communications are available for reference on OIT’s social media venues, including:

(Please note:  The communications listed in this section are in addition to the standard alerts that OIT does for any disruption or outage of the critical IT systems that CU-Boulder depends on.  See OIT’s Service Alert communications. Service Alert communications related to specifically to D2L outages described in this website are also included in the section above, titled Timeline of Service Issues and Outages.)

Media and Social Media References

Below is representative media coverage that resulted given the D2L outage during January 29 to February 1, 2013, which affected approximately 25 percent of the D2L’s national and international clients.

Date Communication Publication

Desire2Learn second system outage 'very disruptive' for CU-Boulder faculty, students

Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.


Desire2Learn outage update

Related tweet:

CU Independent, student news publication covers the outage.


Several Campuses Are Disrupted by Outage in Course-Management Systems

The Chronicle of Higher Education.

CU-Boulder's online learning system Desire2Learn back up and running

Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.


After D2L outages, CU-Boulder considering options

Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.