Computer lab technicians expand help for students

By Elise Reed

Starting this fall, students will no longer need to trek to McVey hall for minor computer problems like a forgotten password. Consultants in any computer lab on campus will be able to reset student passwords.

The change is part of a number of projects that Student Computer Services is working on over the summer break.

By August, all campus computer lab employees will be able to reset student passwords, said Doyle Friskney, associate vice president for information technology at UK. Also, lab consultants will help handle calls to the McVey Hall help desk when phone traffic is heavy. More complex questions and problems will be routed back to the main help center.

“Right now, McVey is the only place students can go for help,” Friskney said. “I thought, wouldn’t it be neat if instead of making everybody come to us, we came to them?”

The majority of calls to McVey are from students with password problems, Friskney said. He said he hopes having the call center software and password-changing capabilities in all labs will help students resolve password troubles more quickly.

The software has already been tested in W.T. Young Library and will soon be tried in other labs. Leonard Howell, who manages the lab in the Business and Economics building, said he is not worried about consultants having trouble handling their new responsibilities.

“There is a learning curve to the software,” he said. “But once they’ve adjusted, they will be able to handle the system without difficulty.”

Some lab consultants have already undergone training for their new responsibilities. Ben Osborne, an education senior who has worked for Student Computing Services for four semesters, found his first training session difficult.

“It was a lot of information at one time,” Osborne said. “Not all of the computers had the software loaded, so we had to watch rather than experience.”

Despite this initial complication, Osborne said he thinks having the software in labs around campus will be a positive change.

“If it’s designed to make the process easier, it’ll be beneficial in the end,” he said.

In addition to the call center and password software being installed, Friskney said Student Computing Services is working on three other projects over the summer:

  • All computer labs will include both Mac- and Windows-based computers by the beginning of the Fall semester. Currently, UK operates separate labs for each operating system.
  • Students will be able to access their university Blackboard accounts through Facebook using a program called bbSync, which Friskney said the university has loaded and activated.
  • The success of The Hub in the basement of W. T. Young Library inspired plans for the third project: the creation of smaller hubs, or hublets, in other labs around campus, Friskney said. Hublets, which will consist of new workspaces, are scheduled to be created in the Business and Economics lab, King Library lab, and Fine Arts lab.