The Help Desk in the basement of Tutt Library is the primary center for students to receive assistance with technological problems. Although they have always been accessible after-hours for assistance, the Information Technology (IT) now has a formal policy regarding their role in after-hours support.

 

Joseph Sharman, current System Administrator for Information Management (IM), said, “The new policy basically formalizes what we’ve already been doing. It isn’t different from what we have now, but it does tell people how to address an after-hours IT outage.”

If a student experiences a technological problem after-hours, that individual must first call Campus Safety. Campus Safety will then contact the “IM After-Hours Phone” in order to notify the staff member on duty at that time, and that staff member will contact the original caller.

 

The phone circulates among various staff members from the Network and Systems Services and the Educational Technology Services team, but one staff member is responsible each night. However, it is possible that the staff member on-call is unable to address the specific problem. In such a situation, the staff on-call will contact another staff member more familiar with the troubleshooting area, and together they can attack the issue. IM seeks to resolve the issue within two hours of the initial report.

 

Despite the accessibility, the after-hours support should only be utilized under certain circumstances.

 

Before contacting Campus Safety, students must confirm that the technical problem affects numerous people, is critical in nature, and cannot be resolved through standard troubleshooting procedures.

 

“We wanted to make sure students knew they could contact Campus Safety to reach IT staff about critical system outages after hours. We aren’t able to help with individual computer or printing problems after hours, but we can address larger IT problems (like Internet outages, etc.) that affect multiple people,” Sharman said.

 

In any other case, the problem can be fixed the subsequent day.

 

The major difference that the after-hours support policy introduces is its formality.  Students have always been able to contact IT outside of their office hours, but there was never an explicit policy outlining the circumstances in which a student can seek help.

 

“We wanted to formalize our process and make sure people knew how to get help for system problems after hours,” Sharman said.

 

For students, the policy clarifies what sort of responsibilities the role IT staff can be expected to fulfill under the delineated conditions.

 

One dilemma with employing this policy is that it will likely increase the number of calls that Campus Safety receives. Sharman additionally expects to receive more reports while on-call, as students will now be more aware of the service.  However, due to the fact that calls may only be placed in certain circumstances, Sharman does not anticipate the increase to be too drastic.

 

For technical concerns of any nature, the Help Desk is accessible by phone at 719-389-6449 between 8:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. For larger problems outside of these hours, Campus Safety can be reached at (719) 389-6707.

Megan Masuret

Staff Writer

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