OIT services address campus-wide interruptions

At the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester, the UCCS Office of Information Technology experienced recurring service interruptions.

The first interruption happened in late December and was resolved during winter break. The other two outages happened over a one-week period and were resolved on Jan. 30. The three issues impacted students, staff and faculty campus-wide.

Assistant Director of OIT Services Dan Lemack and Director of Networks and Infrastructure Greg Williams explained the causes of these incidents and how they were resolved.

“We’ve had three of what we would consider major outages that we announced during that one-week period of the semester. The campus has been fortunate over the past years to not have many outages at all, so when we do have an outage like this, it’s unusual,” Williams said.

The first interruption on Jan. 24 was a networking and communication interruption. The help desk phone lines could not receive phone calls, but anyone who needed to could still contact OIT via the live chat on their website.

Academic resources including Canvas, Microsoft Office and Teams remained unaffected during these issues. The interrupted services were related to the virtual machine hosts being affected that are used to communicate across the campus network.

On Jan. 26, Microsoft experienced an unavoidable global networking issue that impacted extended login and logout times on Windows PCs and Microsoft Teams. Lemack said the issue greatly impacted people who utilize campus resources.

The service desk received nearly 100 incident reports, including extended login, missing messages, failure to load messages in channels and chats and the inability to view or download media.

“Obviously, that’s not ideal for faculty or students. We take it very seriously, which is why we have an all-hands-on-deck attitude for an interruption to student learning or faculty teaching,” Lemack said.

The final login-related issue interrupted logins for Windows and Mac PCs that utilize on-campus authentication services. This happened on Jan. 29 and was updated the same day.

In December of 2023, the myUCCS portal experienced service interruptions that caused a display error message when students attempted to register for classes. The issue affected portals across the CU system and the University of Denver.

At the time, OIT said students could work around this display error by clearing their cache and cookies until it was resolved. The errors were linked to University Information Services and the data center relocation.

“That one was more widespread — I think we ended up with close to 300 incidents tied to that problem that even got our CIOs involved across campuses to ensure that we had the resources available from CU information systems to make sure that problem was resolved,” Lemack said.

After around-the-clock OIT service error identification, team collaboration, incident reports to the service desk and consistent campuswide communication, the issues were finally resolved.

“We’re a student-focused organization as a university and a student-focused organization as a department, so anything that impacts students we take very seriously,” Lemack said.

In the event of a technology-related issue, students, staff and faculty can contact OIT by emailing [email protected], calling them at 719-255-4357 or using the live chat on their website.

Desktop photo of a recent OIT maintenance emails, sent out campus-wide to students and faculty. Photo by Megan Moen.