We've done "boot camp" for a couple of years now, just before start of school. The first year I was very ambitious with teambuilding activities, sections on networking, communication skills and other topics that they quickly forgot because it didn't apply to their daily tickets. This year we focused on very specific tasks they need to do, and of course customer service skills, and I think that was more successful. I'm happy to share my training outlines if anyone would like them. I'd love to see what others are doing.

Suzanne

Suzanne Gaynor
Director, Technology Resource Center
Hartwick College
[log in to unmask]
607-431-4670

On Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 4:05 PM, Rachel Weaver <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I realize that I'm hijacking this thread a little by asking, but I'm wondering how those of you with successful technical training programs do it? So far, hands-on experience and mentoring has been our most successful method, but it's challenging with a staff of over 50 student workers. Are there any resources you'd be willing to share? Thank you!

Rachel Weaver
Client Services Manager
Information Technology Services
Macalester College

On Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 3:05 PM, Rachel Weaver <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I realize that I'm hijacking this thread a little by asking, but I'm wondering how those of you with successful technical training programs do it? So far, hands-on experience and mentoring has been our most successful method, but it's challenging with a staff of over 50 student workers. Are there any resources you'd be willing to share?

Rachel Weaver
Client Services Manager
Information Technology Services
Macalester College

On Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 3:01 PM, Andrea Tanner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Matthew,

 

Here are some answers to your questions about our Help Desk staffing.  We service students, faculty, and staff via phones, walk-up and in person visits.  We are the “face” for IT at Eastern Michigan U so we do everything from password resets, lab customer service, network jack diagnosis, hardware repairs, software troubleshooting, and everything in between.

 

I have 4 fulltime staff and about 22 student employees (it varies).  We have a tiered student system called passports.  These are skills based.  Students make their way through the passports to gain skills in this order.  If a student does not want to progress through the passports we are okay with that.  We get that a lot with our non-computer-related major students. 

 

-Entry Level Phone (password resets and activations)

-Advanced Phone (software installs, items solved over desktop remote control so a field tech can help show them what to do)

-Entry Level Field Technician (imaging, hardware troubleshooting, network line tests, wireless troubleshooting, software installs, easy software problem solving)

-Advanced Technician (troubleshooting active directory problems, advanced hardware issues, advanced software issues)

-Senior Technician (by invitation only.  This is our top tier student that basically function a level below our fulltime staff in terms of skill sets.  They are highly skilled, functioning, and trusted.  They often perform small projects and assist with keeping the team functioning and efficient.)

 

At every level we work with the student to obtain their career goals.  If they want experience in a particular area we try to ensure they get that.  We find that this extra attention helps them stay motivated and enthused.  One time I had a new field tech that did not have enough money for gas and was calling in. I told him he could work from home, combing through our wiki that day so that he could make a list of all the documents that were out of date (something we needed to do anyway).  He got to read a lot of our documentation and get familiar with what we support in his new role, and I got a task done that no one likes to do.  ;)  Normally students don’t work from home but this little attention really does build loyalty and communication.

 

Do you allow the students to be unsupervised?  Meaning, if your coordinator has to step out, go to lunch, or they are out sick; do you allow the students to be in the TSC without that employee there?

 

We do allow our students to be unsupervised. I prefer to have at least one of my fulltime staff available at all times (two of them work ten hour days so we can accomplish this) to assist with problem users or advanced questions.  Usually we have one senior tech available who can handle the questions and problems if I or one of the fulltime staff is not available.

 

We have never had a problem with equipment theft or missing material in the office.  If we get a tech that is not pulling his weight, our senior techs let us know about it.  Usually we are aware but sometimes one slips by us.  They take their responsibility seriously to keep the team running smoothly.

 

How do you recruit students for the positions?  Since you need someone with some technical knowledge, do you reach out to your CS or Engineering schools to get workers?

 

Our student recruitment is mainly word of mouth and occasional posting on the internal campus job board for students.  We actually hire students based more on customer service skills and technical potential than we do for actual technical knowledge.  If we are in need of a really good hardware tech, for example, we might send out special flyers or reach out to our computer based majors and ask professors for recommendations.  We have found that with support and our passports system we can teach any student how to reset a password or take apart a computer and replace a bad motherboard.  We can’t teach a highly technical student how to have good customer service as easily, though, if they already do not have those skills.  If I am helping a student while we are recruiting and I notice he/she has the right mindset and attitude I might ask him or her if he is looking for a campus job.  It works out pretty well!  Our students love working here so they tell their classmates and friends.

 

Our senior student techs often help us hire other students.  It doesn’t always work out that way with timing but we find that they get good job experience being on the other side of an interview.  Often, they are a LOT harder on interviewees than we are! 

 

One thing we really like to “brag” about is that we have converted and launched a lot of education majors, history majors, english majors, and psych majors into very successful IT careers alongside our information assurance and computer science students.  J

 

How do you handle access to sensitive information with student employees (ie Banner information, account passwords, etc)?

 

Our entry level phone password student employees are granted Banner access (ID verification) and ability to reset passwords.  The sys admins watch logs of those systems & let us know if there is any suspicious logons or activity.  We caught one student about 10 years ago who was viewing & laughing at account challenge question passwords with his friends on a Sunday night.   He was let go the next week.

 

It really does take a steady level of oversight, though.

 

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions!  Take care,

 

Andrea Tanner

Director, User Services

Eastern Michigan University

[log in to unmask]

 

From: The EDUCAUSE IT Support Services Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:ITSUPPORTSERVICES@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Matthew McFall
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2016 12:11 PM
To: [log in to unmask]CAUSE.EDU
Subject: [ITSUPPORTSERVICES] Student ran/staffed support desk

 

I am new to the group and relatively new to my current position.  We have a Technology Support Center that includes our support desk for all faculty, staff, and students.  We only assist with university owned technology, no personal devices.  I currently have one fulltime Support Coordinator in the TSC with a rotation of student workers.  The TSC takes support calls/walk-ups and open ticket requests via phone, email, or walk-up.  We use Dell KACE for support ticketing.  I am sure this is generally how everyone is structured.

 

In reading through a thread that posted the other day, I noticed many of you appear to have a more heavily student ran/staffed support desk with oversight by a fulltime employee.  I am slowly working my way toward a more student ran TSC here also.  I am wanting the student employees to have ownership of the support desk and have oversight by the fulltime employee.  I have a couple of questions that I would like to ask the group.  Please feel free to respond offline if you prefer.

 

Do you allow the students to be unsupervised?  Meaning, if your coordinator has to step out, go to lunch, or they are out sick; do you allow the students to be in the TSC without that employee there?

 

How do you recruit students for the positions?  Since you need someone with some technical knowledge, do you reach out to your CS or Engineering schools to get workers?

 

How do you handle access to sensitive information with student employees (ie Banner information, account passwords, etc)?

 

I have other questions, but these seem like a good starting point.  I look forward to your responses.  Thank you.

 

Matthew S. McFall

Director of Technology Support Center

Jacksonville State University

Office: 256-782-5664

 

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