With a growing technological dependence for academic activities during the pandemic, students and staff have encountered a variety of issues.
Students commented on technological issues that they experienced for which they did not seek assistance from the school directly. Among these were issues with Wi-Fi at home and lack of resources for certain classes. The students who commented were largely able to combat their difficult situations by contacting relatives, downloading programs required for classes on personal devices, and asking classmates for assistance, among using other methods to keep up with their academic obligations.
However, some technological issues can be solved by the Information Technology team at SVC. On April 7, Peter Mahoney, Chief Information Officer, spoke about IT’s efforts to curb student and staff technology problems with the help of their service desk ticketing system.
“We’re a smaller staff [who have] always been able to work very efficiently through various methodologies—these are best practices that are recognized in the industry—and that helps us to be more efficient with what we’re doing for the size of the staff that we have.” - Peter Mahoney
Anybody who is experiencing technological issues should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Mahoney explained that requests sent to other emails may be overlooked because of the immense number of requests IT receives every day.
“[If sent to the service desk email], all the requests will be funneled in and properly prioritized and tracked,” he said. “In my case, I’ve had hundreds of emails coming in daily over the past couple of weeks and it’s been very difficult to keep up and read through the less important ones.”
As of April 6, Mahoney and the rest of the IT team had been working after hours since the day the announcement about off-campus learning was released. Mahoney discussed the possibility of some days with normal working hours before Easter break began.
“As of [April 6] we still had 417 open tickets,” he said. “Comparing […] March of 2019 to March of 2020, we ended up having a 44% increase in tickets.”
In the March of 2019, IT received 564 requests. In the March of 2020, IT processed 811 tickets. Furthermore, reported issues have varied greatly.
“All of them are different than what we are used to, because (obviously) a year ago, we were not dealing with this scenario,” Mahoney reported. “And now this scenario has opened up—where everybody’s using technology to accomplish all of their educational needs and all of their business needs—where a year ago they were only coming to see us when they had situations with technology issues.”
Where the Registrar Office was readily available in the past and technology was not as heavily relied upon for courses, now issue reports and questions are all sent to IT. Though ticket counts gradually decrease as the remote learning period progresses, IT continues to receive requests.
“If you compared March 1 through April 6 from one year to the other, we’re up by 35% increase,” Mahoney explained. “Just in one week, we’ve had over a hundred requests, so it’s 100 requests more than what we did last year. We’re still riding on a big wave of demand, but I think it’s starting to slow down.”
“I believe we’ll have a good fall semester.” - Peter Mahoney
There are eleven personnel and a part-time receptionist on the IT team. All twelve members of the team are currently working on filling requests and assisting staff and students alike with technological issues.
“We’re a smaller staff [who have] always been able to work very efficiently through various methodologies—these are best practices that are recognized in the industry—and that helps us to be more efficient with what we’re doing for the size of the staff that we have,” Mahoney explained. “But when it’s a situation like this it’s just been a little bit overwhelming.”
Despite the amount of work, Mahoney is thinking about the future in a positive light.
“I believe we’ll have a good fall semester,” he reported.