The University has made a significant effort to improve our technology services over the last year. The nationwide outage experienced yesterday by our Internet/Network provider, Windstream Communications, was unfortunate. You may be asking why we have not made changes based on the repeated issues we have experienced over the last year. It is a good question and one I am happy to answer.
We are making changes.
Last Summer, USAHS began a complicated process to change providers for our University network. This includes our Internet services, phone system and the wide-area network for our multiple campuses. It also includes a new datacenter and redundant network connectivity. While this migration to a new vendor is taking time to complete, it must be managed carefully to insure the best services possible as we move to a more reliable and stable service. We expect to complete this migration by the end of this calendar year. In the meantime, we took some added precautions which paid off yesterday in a BIG way.
A recently completed initiative to improve services for campus-based students was incredibly useful during yesterday's outage. Over the break, Information Technology installed new Student Wireless Internet circuits on each campus. Students who were on campus yesterday during the outage did not lose connectivity to the Internet. This meant that USA e-mail remained available and provided a method to send communications to faculty. Externally, e-mail remained available for the entire institution.
Your new student wireless network has vastly improved bandwidth speeds. This is dedicated bandwidth for student use and is a direct result of student requests and survey feedback. In addition, we listened when you asked for the ability to access streaming media sites, such as Pandora, to use as a study aid while on campus.
The University's careful planning is paying off and creating a better student experience.
How Did USAHS Respond to the Outage:
- During the outage, we utilized our Emergency notification system to let you know what was happening and what to expect
- This was also done to help notify faculty on campus, who may not have been able to access e-mail
- This was also done to inform online contributing faculty
- We communicated via e-mail during and after the outage
- We placed an automated message on the eLearning 24x7 help desk 800 number alerting students and faculty about the outage. This message was recorded at 7:00 PM.
- We placed an alert on the eLearning Help Desk so that the technicians who take your calls, 24 hours a day, would have the latest information to communicate to callers. This alert was created at 6:45 PM
- Information Technology Staff Members from Florida and California actively monitored the outage to provide the most current information until there was a resolution
- a notifications was added to MyUSA for students and faculty to view after logging in
- e-mail notification explaining the resolution
While it is never acceptable to have down-time, we hope that our efforts mitigated the inconvenience you experienced.
Our Promise to You:
In regards to the USAHS Network, which includes access to MyUSA and eLearning. We regret that we have not been able to move more quickly to migrate to our new provider. We are getting close! Please know, we are responding and we are listening. Our goal in Information Technology and Student Customer Support is to provide you with the best, and most reliable, services. We will continue to strive for that goal every day.
Thank you for your patience, we will continue to earn your trust.
Do you have a suggestion? Tell us what's on your mind in the Suggestion box: https://my.usa.edu/ICS/Student_IT_Support.jnz?portlet=Forums&screen=EditForum&screenType=change
Director of Information Technology