University of Essex

FASER

May 19, 2017

Improvements to FASER

Filed under: Elearning, FASER, News — Benjamin Steeples @ 3:12 pm

FASER originally started life as a project in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE). When it was adopted by IT Services in 2005/6, FASER had roughly 5,000 submissions per academic year.
Since then the number of students has increased, but behind the scenes FASER has remained largely unchanged. 2015/16 saw nearly 150,000 student submissions in addition to 120,000 items of feedback, that’s over 50x the number of items FASER was initially designed for. Despite a partial rewrite of FASER in 2011 its performance has not scaled as well as we’d hoped, and last year it was clear that more drastic action was needed.

Over the last year we’ve been working hard on a new and improved version of FASER, developed in response to feedback from staff and students. The main goal of this new version has been to change the underlying infrastructure, paving the way for future enhancements and providing a modest performance and usability improvement. Other improvements include:

  • Implementing Single-Sign-On (SSO) to reduce the number of login prompts.
  • Ensuring FASER only reloads parts of the page that have changed, rather than reloading the entire page every time. We have combined this with additional caching of information and some database changes to ensure that pages and information loads faster than before.
  • Adding calls to action to FASER. These guide staff to common outstanding tasks relating to an assignment, and reduce the number of clicks and page loads required to achieve that task.
  • Rewriting the majority of FASER to take advantage of MVC software design. This allows us to separate the code responsible for the appearance, logic, and underlying data of FASER, and enables us to make changes to the service in a quicker and more responsive manner.
  • Finally, we have taken the opportunity to fix a lot of minor annoyances and bugs in FASER.

These are major changes to FASER, and things are still a little rough around the edges. To help us refine these improvements we have invited nearly 100 members of the University to trial this new version. With their help we hope to release this new version to all staff and students for the start of the 2017/18 academic year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 9, 2017

Drop-in sessions with TEL, IT Training and the Library

Filed under: Elearning, Events, FASER, IT Training, Library IT, Listen Again, Lynda, Moodle — sgswaine @ 1:53 pm
Supporting teaching and learning

Supporting teaching and learning

Would you like some help designing your Moodle module or embedding a Lynda video? Do have some questions about building your Talis Aspire reading lists or how to provide feedback on FASER?

Come along to our drop-in sessions during May and June, where someone from TEL, IT Training or the Library, will be on hand to help you with these and any other questions you might have about technologies used in teaching, learning and assessement.

You can just pop in for as little, or for as long as you want. Just let us know if it will be in the morning or afternoon by booking a place on HR Organiser (login with your Essex ID and password).

 

Sessions dates and times:

23/05/17 10:00-13:00 and 13:00-16:00
31/05/17 10:00-13:00 and 13:00-16:00
06/06/17 10:00-13:00 and 13:00-16:00
14/06/17 10:00-13:00 and 13:00-16:00

TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning)
IT Training (IT Services)
Library

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

May 4, 2017

[Resolved] FASER Degraded service

Filed under: FASER, [Resolved], [Service Alert] — Samantha Thornton @ 3:54 pm

Update – 15 May - 09:30

FASER is now back up and running.

 

Update – 09 May - 09:00

The hotfix has now been deployed and we believe that FASER is back to normal. FASER will remain ‘at risk’ until we are certain that the problem is resolved.

Note: as previously mentioned. Coursework marks are currently hidden in FASER. We aim to restore these next week.

 

Update – 08 May – 12:50

We are continuing to investigate the cause of FASER’s performance issues, and plan to deploy a hotfixed version of FASER early tomorrow morning (09 May 2017) during our Network At Risk period.

To aid diagnosis of this issue we plan to temporarily hide coursework marks within FASER. We will reintroduce this feature as soon as possible.

 

Update – 05 May - 09:46

We believe that FASER has now overcome the majority of performance issues that it was facing yesterday afternoon. A small number of users may encounter pages which time out.

As before, students are advised to attempt to upload to FASER in the first instance, and then contact their department if they are still having issues.

 

Update – 18:24

As before, we are still investigating the cause of FASER’s performance issues, but we believe that the problem is partially resolved.

Student’s are advised to try uploading to FASER first, then contact their department if they are unsuccessful.

 

Original – 15:54

We are currently experiencing issues with loading times on the following services:

  • FASER

This is being investigated, and should resume normally as soon as possible.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

April 27, 2017

[Resolved] FASER – Degraded service

Filed under: FASER, [Resolved], [Service Alert] — Samantha Thornton @ 3:14 pm

Update – 02 May – 09:33

After monitoring FASER over the weekend, we believe that the issue has now been resolved.

 

Update – 28 April – 12:51

We believe that FASER has now overcome the majority of performance issues that it was facing yesterday afternoon. A small number of users may encounter pages which time out.

As before, students are advised to attempt to upload to FASER in the first instance, and then contact their department if they are still having issues.

 

Update – 28 April – 09:55

FASER has had additional hardware added to improve performance, however this service is still considered as at risk. We are actively investigating the root cause.

As before – We still advise you to try uploading to FASER first, please be patient.

If you’re unsuccessful, please contact your department.

 

Update – 18:00

We are still investigating the cause of FASER’s performance issues, but we believe that the problem is partially resolved.

As before, student’s are advised to try uploading to FASER first, then contact their department if they are unsuccessful.

 

Update – 16:51

FASER is still experiencing issues – We are still working to find the cause.

If students have a deadline between today and 10am tomorrow (28/04/2017) please do the following:

- Try to upload your work to FASER first;

- If this doesn’t work, please contact your department.

Departments have been made aware of the issues, and may relay advice to students with deadlines.

 

Original – 14:45

We are currently experiencing issues with loading times on the following services:

  • FASER

This is being investigated, and should resume normally as soon as possible.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

January 27, 2017

[Resolved] Widespread IT Service Issues – FASER, Listen Again, ORB

Filed under: FASER, [Resolved], [Service Alert] — Samantha Thornton @ 8:16 am

Information Update – 9:15am

IT Services including FASER, Listen Again, and Orb have now been restored and operational.

 

Original Alert

There are widespread service issues with IT services including FASER, Listen Again and ORB.

IT Service Personnel are aware of the issues and are currently working to restore services.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

 

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