5.16 Technology Support Overview

Background

The multiple avenues of technical support available on campus need to be coordinated from two standpoints

  1. Users need a clear understanding of where to obtain assistance for specific problems.
  2. Technical support staff must communicate among the various technical support units.
Relevant to both users and technical staff are continuous training and support.

Users may obtain assistance from a variety of service centers, including the Reference Desk, the Miller Center HelpDesk, the CIS-AdC HelpDesk, and MnSCU HelpDesk, college/administrative technicians, and the Web. As a result, users may not know where the most appropriate assistance might be found. From the perspective of technical support staff (technologists), training is based upon position descriptions, yet in some cases, users approach technicians with specific needs outside the technologist's realm of training or experience. Also, the expansion of technical support is often a response to technology expansion. When technologies become available to meet existing needs or when technologies are needed to meet new needs, the support for these technologies should not be an afterthought. Even so, when planning for technology support does accompany the acquisition of new technology, it isn't always clear how mature the technology is and what level of support may be required to maintain it. Problems associated with the type, level, and availability of support are confounded by the sheer magnitude of new technologies and pace of adoption.

An example of new on-campus technology is the advent of the new HuskyNet Web page, which offers email connectivity to the Help/Reference Desks along with other LR&TS and Administrative Computer support centers. As these services are developed, SCSU must coordinate effort regarding what services are provided and by whom, must educate user about services, and must provide continuous training for technical staff. The role of a technologist in one instance may be to provide service to the whole university; in another case, that role may be to provide support for a single department. However, the current structure of training, hiring, and location of technologists needs to be examined to determine if we can improve it to provide a more coordinated and interconnected support system across the university infrastructure.

Goals

To ensure a coordinated and interconnected support system across the university,
  • all technology users must have up-to-date knowledge of the various support centers on campus.
  • technologists must have a basic understanding of the nature of technical support across campus.
  • SCSU must provide technologists with continuous training.
  • appropriate technology should be acquired to support and enhance the technology service centers.
  • an appropriate level of technical support should be available.
  • technology support should be aligned with the acquisition of new technology.

The specific actions and timelines, resources, and evaluation that will enable us to achieve these goals are mapped out in sections 5.16.1, 5.16.2, and 5.17.

Revised: May 2003