I have a (fancy, high-tech) pink sticky-note on my computer monitor right now, reminding me to notify Carmen users that OCIO staff will be taking the system offline for about an hour early Sunday morning, July 1. As a user of Carmen, how will you find out about that downtime? or other news about updates, known issues, and opportunities?
Here’s a rundown of the options and when we use them.
Carmen News and Service Alerts
The News widget (in the left-hand column after you login at https://carmen.osu.edu) contains reminders and announcements about routine tasks, planned events, and opportunities. Some items are visible only to instructors, while others are visible to all users. News items are always about Carmen or closely related systems.
When Carmen will be taken offline for maintenance, or when planned maintenance doesn’t require downtime but might cause a hiccup*, a Service Alert will be added at the top of the center column, above the My Courses widget. Whenever possible, the Service Alert is posted 3-4 days before the scheduled work. Service Alerts are visible to everyone who can login to Carmen.
* A hiccup, of course, is a technical term meaning that a user who is logged on might experience a brief problem. The problem might be significant (ranging from the user being knocked out of the system to having a Quiz attempt or Dropbox submission not be saved), but a user who logs back in after only a minute or two will find the system functioning normally. When Carmen is undergoing maintenance but is still online, users should plan to complete critical tasks before or after the maintenance windows described in the Service Alert.
OCIO System Status Page
Whenever we post a Service Alert in Carmen, we also post a notice on the OCIO System Status page. Usually, the text and timing of the System Status page message is the same as the Service Alert.
In addition to planned downtime, if Carmen has to be taken off-line unexpectedly (rare, but it has happened perhaps twice in my memory) or if there is an on-going problem, a summary of the situation will be available on the System Status page.
The System Status page is especially handy if Carmen is unavailable and you would like more information. You can also see a summary of past events, subscribe to a listserv that will update you when the System Status message changes, or review the status of other systems that affect your life at OSU.
Carmen News Listserv
Faculty, staff, and graduate students who are interested in having Carmen information sent to their email inbox can subscribe to the Carmen News listserv. This listserv is specifically used to send information about planned maintenance, known or developing issues, work-arounds, and other opportunities to interested users. While the focus of these messages is Carmen, we sometimes send notices about other Learning Technology services.
When possible, a message is sent to the Carmen News listserv at about the same time as a News item, Service Alert or System Status message would be posted. Subscribers can expect 2-3 messages per term that aren’t also posted elsewhere.
If you would like to subscribe to Carmen News, complete the form at https://lists.service.ohio-state.edu/mailman/listinfo/carmen-news .
Are there other ways you’d like to get news about Carmen? I welcome your suggestions! I can’t promise we’ll be able to use them, but I’d like to know where YOU would look for information like this! Or even better, where would you NOTICE information like this, even if you weren’t looking for it?