Monday, 6 August 2012

Summer preparations for the helpdesk...

... or... "Life on the frontline with the Learning Technologies Team Helpdesk"...
Ian Mumby
We are now in that quiet period during the summer when the helpdesk calms down a little as the majority of students have gone home and staff take it in turns to have a well-deserved break.
So what do we do on the helpdesk when most of our customers have deserted ship for a few weeks?

Well there is still lots to do.
Colleagues are preparing all the required MOLE courses for 2012-13 and throughout the summer have been sending out various emails across all the departments requesting different bits of information regarding their requirements. To make life easier replies are directed to us on the helpdesk so we have these to collate and pass on to the relevant people.

We get lots of requests for outgoing courses which are due to be switched off in the summer to be kept live for a longer period to allow for some unforeseen event, so we facilitate this.  And we always have a steady stream of enquiries from staff anxious to know when their next years courses will be available to them so they can make any required changes.    
There are also enough summer students on campus and overseas students still studying online to contact us with their various individual problems -  submitting assignments for example.

Also a lot of departmental admin staff work through the summer to ensure all the requirements of their teaching staff colleagues are in place ready for the start of the next semester and they contact us with their various requests. Some of these cannot me actioned straight away and it’s a case of collating the various requirements for actioning a little later in the summer.
Also team colleagues ask us to help them out with various tasks.  We recently upgraded MOLE 2 which meant it had to be offline for a few days and prior to this we were asked to take part in the  QA testing of the upgraded version looking for potential problems etc.
In addition we always have lots of housekeeping to do – things that you intend to do throughout the year but never get round to doing. For instance when investigating a problem for someone with their course, it's usually necessary for us to register ourselves on that course in order to gain access to it.  Once the problem is resolved we should then unregister from the course but sometimes we forget.  As a result we can end up be registered to dozens of courses and this is a good time to attend to that !!

Ian Mumby and Khalid Rahmatullah are
the Learning Technologies Helpdesk
Also we try to reflect on things that went well last year and identify areas where we can improve on.  One idea we are going to trial in the coming months is promoting the use of Google Chat and Hangouts as a possible method of contacting us on the helpdesk rather than just by email or phone calls.  More news on that soon.
And of course just when you think you have the day ahead all mapped out and planned… the next phone call or email could be a really serious problem to sort out – you just never know do yer??  

Ian

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