SmartSite changes approved; system will shut temporarily starting Dec. 17

The campus is proceeding with an upgrade to SmartSite and a new partnership with a vendor to host the system. The decision follows extensive testing of the upgrade, consultations with faculty and other key campus groups, and a focused pilot during fall quarter.

The changes will require SmartSite to be unavailable for one to three days starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17. Tentative plans to temporarily shut SmartSite for the mid-December installation were announced several weeks ago.

Most people who use the online course-management and collaboration system won't notice any change, because SmartSite will look and feel much like it has. The improvements include an upgrade to version 2.6 of the underlying Sakai open-source software; new tools; better support materials; and the transfer of system hosting and maintenance to rSmart, a leading commercial affiliate of Sakai. Previously, SmartSite has been maintained by the campus.

Preliminary plans for the upgrade were announced months ago, with the final "go/no go" decision scheduled after the pilot, testing, consultations and review. Vice Provost for Information and Educational Technology Pete Siegel announced the decision to proceed on Wednesday, Dec. 16, following a meeting this week of the Campus Council for Information Technology (CCFIT). Its members, including faculty and Academic Senate representatives, unanimously approved the proposal to proceed with the upgrade and transfer of system hosting and maintenance to the vendor, rSmart. (See CCFIT's observations and recommendation to Provost Enrique Lavernia and Vice Provost Siegel here.)

"I want to express my appreciation to CCFIT Chair, Professor Joe Kiskis, who ensured that the broader committee was actively engaged in this review, and the CCFIT members for their extraordinary attention to ensuring this SmartSite pilot evaluation was a broadly-based, thorough, and sound proc ess," said Siegel in his message to the campus. "I couldn't be more pleased with the broad community commitment, creativity, and diligence that led to this important campus decision."

The IT Express Computing Services Help Desk will open for special Saturday hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 19 to assist people as needed because of the upgrade. Call them at (530) 754-HELP (4357).

Find more information at Please direct any questions or comments to SmartSite Program Manager Kirk Alexander at