The ongoing conflict between SmartSite and UC Davis boiled over Wednesday as a Twitter spat between the university and SmartSite’s parent company, Sakai, revealed that the university was responsible for the crash. SmartSite has been shut down since May 20 as part of ongoing “general maintenance.” But controversy flared after SmartSite was not restored by the expected date. Too much maintenance was done — so much so that the server crashed and has yet to come back.
UC Davis has sent out multiple emails to its students apologizing for the inconvenience, but that’s just about it. SmartSite has now listed other options for things that students can do, which include a “Class Email Distribution List” and creating class rosters through Microsoft Excel. Neither of these options had been thought of by professors until it was posted by the school in place of SmartSite.
“These were such great ideas; I had never even considered creating a class roster independent of what SmartSite gave me,” said Lawrence Bobby, a biology professor. “I think I can cope because of these suggestions.”
The problem lies not with the shutdown of the school’s service, but rather that the school admitted to shutting down the database in order to prove a point.
“As one of the nation’s top research schools, sometimes students can forget to think critically. We shut down SmartSite to make sure that our Aggies know how to move on the fly,” said Maria Burns, the head of technological services at UC Davis.
UC Davis sent the following tweet to Sakai:
“We blamed you for our mistakes #IsItTooLateToSaySorry”
“Nobody believed us, but the truth finally came out #DontStopBelievin”
The two parties exchanged heated accusatory tweets earlier in the week, with Sakai accusing UC Davis of crashing SmartSite intentionally. The university denied the claims until eventually coming clean with its most recent tweet.
SmartSite will remain faulty for the remainder of the school year. Students, along with professors, will be expected to think on their feet because apparently this is the best way to educate people on how to think critically. Instead of teaching students how to operate outside the box, students will be asked to get in contact with their peers in order to get the resources that they need.
“I don’t have the syllabus, but the kid sitting next to me did. I asked him for it, and now I have a new friend,” said Shawn Drake, a first year computer science major. “The university is making me think on my feet and make new friends.”
There isn’t much students can do until the site is fully functional. Until then, UC Davis owes its students and faculty for their mishap-turned-experiment. Students are frantically trying to get in the right mode for finals; they are now unable to do so. Simple emails saying the university is trying to address the situation is not enough.
A new database will go live Fall 2017. SmartSite’s demise has been well documented, but it will finally be put to rest after this quarter.
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