Don't Let Your Students Make You Their Help Desk
Often faculty members are confronted by students, the digital dog having just eaten their homework. Because students are closest with you, their professor, you are generally the first stop on the student’s list of helpful people. A broken pencil? Easy. Error: gwsync.exe? Not so much!
Don’t be your students’ help desk. Whether they know it or not, your students have numerous professional resources to answer their technical problems – so you don’t have to. Feel free to copy this information and add it to your syllabus and Blackboard course:
Student Computing Services
Students can get live help 24 hours a day by calling 516-463-7777 and pressing option #1.
Students can request email help anytime by emailing Student Computing Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.[]
Encourage your students to be as specific as possible when asking for help.
- What operating system are they using (pc? Mac? Linux?)
- What software application is giving them trouble? (Word? PowerPoint? Blackboard?)
- Exactly what were they doing when the problem occurred? (I had just launched Internet Explorer when…)
- What did they try on their own to fix the problem and what was the outcome? (I tried restarting the computer and…)
If they cannot fix the problem this way, Hammer Lab is open 24-hours a day. If the problem they had was a printer with no toner, they should know that Hammer Lab offers access to printers, all day and all night.
Students can PRINT to Hammer Lab from anywhere in the world via the iPrint service (iPrint is under "my apps" in the portal). They just need to swing by the lab to pick up the printout. (So don't accept any "my printer wasn't working" excuses for late papers, either!)
As the faculty member, establish from the beginning of the semester that you are not the help desk! Putting good habits in place early will allow you to focus on what you do best: teaching. Let the pros handle the computer problems, and teach your students to do the same.
Back to Digital Literacy