Page 7 - Campus Technology, January/February 2018
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negotiations with for an ERP integration project.
Richard Middaugh, senior VP and founding member of Dynamic Campus, remembered the call from Marxuach. It came on Sept. 29, nine days after Maria. His main question: “Could you guys get me to the cloud? I’m not going to have electricity here for months or maybe a year, and I want to continue to deliver coursework and services to our students.” A miraculous two-and-a-half weeks after that call, Sagrado was back in action, registering students, issuing financial aid and delivering courses on campus and online. In fact, enrollment data shows an increase from the previous semester of more than a hundred undergraduates.
Getting Back to Business
Sagrado is a four-year private not-for-profit in Santurce, an 11-minute drive from Old San Juan. Before the storm, student enrollment was between 5,500 and 6,000 students, nearly half of whom were studying nursing. The institution, one of the oldest and largest in the territory, didn’t lose buildings, but it did lose trees — about a hundred of them, many of which had toppled two weeks earlier, victims of Hurricane Irma.
When the call from Marxuach came in, Middaugh and Mike Glubke, Dynamic Campus president and CEO, sprang into action to perform a quick assessment.
There were four key applications the university needed
in place to be able to operate:
The enterprise resource planning system, Jenzabar EX, to handle admissions, registrations and transcripts;
The learning management system, Moodle; The financial aid management system, The College Board’s PowerFAIDS; and
The institutional finance system, Kuali.
This software had been hosted in a data center
on 20 servers. In normal circumstances, Dynamic
Campus would have figured out what was on
each server, gained access to those systems and
planned the migration to Amazon Web Services.
But nothing was normal for Sagrado at this time.
For example, Middaugh’s team had to work around generator runtimes. The generator in place at the data center was intended to provide power during intermittent outages, not continuously. As a consequence, he said, “every two days it has to have about eight hours of maintenance done on it.” That included changing the oil and filters, which school personnel had to wait to have shipped to them since there were no filters left on an island where everybody was relying on generators for their power.
On top of that, Middaugh and his staff couldn’t simply fly to Sagrado to do the work. For a long time, all commercial flights had been suspended and the airport
closed. But even if they’d been able to get to the island, all the hotels were either damaged or occupied by FEMA workers. “We couldn’t get a hotel room until the first of November, which is when we went down,” he said.
So, in the early days of the project, they relied mostly on text messages, “which for some reason worked better than phone calls. Phone calls were choppy and hard to understand,” Middaugh recalled. Eventually, the two teams — Middaugh’s on the mainland and Sagrado’s in the data center — would hold daily scheduled phone calls. When that wasn’t enough, they continued texting and using e-mail. “It took a lot of logistical coordination,” he noted.4
Students attending classes on campus mostly sit outdoors under tents, in gazebos and in breezeways.
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January/February 2018

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