The Technical Support Help Desk at Salt Lake Community College survived an onslaught of calls for assistance in the months after the majority of students and faculty moved to online classes.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Information Technology department would receive 200-250 calls and help tickets a day, according to Gus Calder, manager of Technical Support and IT Training. Then, in mid-March, as things moved away from campus to an almost entirely online setting, the department started getting about 500 calls and help tickets a day.
Calder said the department had been preparing for employees to work from home in the weeks before the school transferred online after Spring Break.
“It was more of an impact of trying to help people work from home than it was an impact on us doing our jobs,” Calder said.
To help the IT department work most efficiently, Calder advises students, staff and faculty to always start with the basics before calling in.
“Restart your computer,” Calder said. “Bear with us, we’re trying as hard as we can to make sure [students, staff and faculty] are able to do their jobs and succeed.”
Calder said he reminds his team often that people contact them when things don’t work and are often stressed.
“People call us, and they’re frustrated, our job is not to get frustrated back at them,” he said. “We want to be able to help — just give us a little understanding, because it’s tough, especially with everything going on.”
Suzanne Jacobs, associate professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said she has only had good experiences working with IT.
“They are amazing, plus they have a sense of humor about it, which is great,” Jacobs said.
Jodie Jones, assistant professor of communication, said the IT department delivered invaluable support as faculty transitioned from in-person to online classes.
“I can’t praise them enough,” Jones said.
However, Jones worries students may not know the IT department is available to help.
“I’ve walked many students down [to the IT department] and said, ‘here is someone that can help you.’ And they didn’t even know [the IT Help Desk] existed,” Jones said.
Calder said his team appreciates students, staff and faculty, too.
“Without them, we wouldn’t have a job,” he said. “Thank you for helping us grow and to help you to grow.”
Calder explains that they enjoy helping others with their tech problems.
“It’s good to be diverse because it keeps us growing as an IT organization, it forces us to keep up to date with the new technologies,” he said.
Calder also noted that feedback requested in surveys sent via email after a help ticket closes helps the department know how to do better.