In light of the website failures that have happened so far this year, the staff of The Poly would like to comment. Recently, the Rensselaer Student Health Center website was hacked by ./Ru74K due to lack of a secure password. As extreme as this example may be, this isn’t the first time Rensselaer websites have caused problems for students.
During finals last semester, students were faced with a huge predicament as the Learning Management System was unavailable for a significant part of the time period. Most professors at RPI use this online platform to post homework assignments, lecture notes, exam solutions, and reading assignments. Finals at RPI are usually a culmination of everything learned in the class, and students hope to use the materials on LMS as tools for review before and during the big week.
Due to this sudden outage, students rushed all over campus and emailed professors and friends in order to see if there was any chance of the materials on LMS being available from another source. As RPI students, we know that there are no excuses to not study for an exam and that professors will not postpone finals due to technical difficulties.
At approximately 9:15 pm on Thursday, December 12, 2014 an email was sent out by the LMS management team stating that the outage was finally resolved. Students were both relieved and frustrated. The fix had come too late for many students. Should students of a technical school really be facing this type of problem right before a big exam? Classes are already tough as it is, and having the LMS server unavailable for a long period of time is another weight to bear.
It is understandable that there are some issues completely out of information technology professionals’ control, but as a technical institute, online resources should definitely be better maintained.