Thursday, 8 March 2012

Life on the frontline with the Learning Technologies team Helpdesk.

If you use MOLE or MOLE 2, there is a very good chance we may have already crossed paths or will do so in the near future.  If you have ever sent an email to it is likely that I replied to you, hopefully with some useful information or a resolution to your problem.
L-R: Ian Mumby and Khalid Rhamatullah
I and my colleague Khalid Rahmatullah, provide a first line point of contact and support in terms of MOLE and MOLE 2.  We handle about 95% of our teams helpdesk activity but if something crops up that we cannot deal with, we refer to our colleagues who between them will either already know the answer or will set about finding it.

The Helpdesk is a busy place. We took 3,300 calls in 2010-11 and this year, at the time of writing (early March) we have nearly surpassed that total already, only half way through this academic year.  This has undoubtedly been caused by the introduction of MOLE 2 to 50% of the University’s departments last September.  The other 50% will come on board this September.  Obviously we have had a lot of extra calls as people get to grips with the new application but in addition we still have had 50% of departments using the original MOLE system and it’s been business as usual supporting them as well.  It’s been a bit of a challenge for us constantly having to get our heads round whether we are dealing with MOLE or MOLE 2 when answering queries.  

I referred above to ‘calls’.  By calls I really mean ‘enquiries or requests’.  The vast majority of which are via email.  We prefer emails to phone calls wherever possible because phone calls can be time consuming in callers describing their problem and us deciding on and then explaining the solution.  This can tie up the phone line for quite some time leading to frustration for others trying to contact us.  For this reason we do not have a dedicated Helpdesk telephone number.  We find we can work through emails much more quickly and methodically and we receive many comments remarking on the speed of our replies. Obviously if you do need to speak to us directly you can call either me or Khalid on our individual numbers.

All emails received to to us at the Helpdesk are logged automatically by the ‘Supportworks’ software which is used widely throughout the University, but we have to log phone calls manually. Each enquiry is given a reference number and we can refer back to this later and update the log as may be required.  These reference numbers are also trackable by you the user via the CiCS Self Service system.

In future blogs I will explain more about what we do and what we’ve been up to etc.

Must dash now – lots of enquiries to reply to!


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