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Setting Up a Faculty-Wide Blackboard Helpdesk Process and Lessons Learned Presented By Ross West and Emma Yench 29 th September, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Setting Up a Faculty-Wide Blackboard Helpdesk Process and Lessons Learned Presented By Ross West and Emma Yench 29 th September, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Setting Up a Faculty-Wide Blackboard Helpdesk Process and Lessons Learned Presented By Ross West and Emma Yench 29 th September, 2005

2 Your Logo Here Overview This presentation covers the first two months of a Blackboard Helpdesk created at the Faculty of Economics and Business, at The University of Sydney. It covers the reasons for a Helpdesk being created, how it was implemented, and how that went for us.

3 Your Logo Here Background

4 Your Logo Here History of LMS in Sydney University Late 90’s - Faculty adopts Blackboard Sydney University adopts WebCT / creates a WebCT Helpdesk Faculty continues to use Blackboard Academic Board passes resolution benchmarking a level of support required for the users of LMS in the University. The WebCT Helpdesk is taken as a benchmark.

5 Your Logo Here History of Blackboard in Faculty Bb run by Faculty IT Workshops by interested academics Voluntary. not monitored CALEB created 2003 2004. CALEB took over Bb training and functional support role Bb administrative support remain with Fac. IT

6 Your Logo Here History of Blackboard in Faculty 2 nd Sem 2004 - Pilot Quality Assurance study of Blackboard sites started Report recommended the establishment of Blackboard Helpdesk with two dedicated staff members May 2005 - First Helpdesk staff member on board June 2005 – Memorandum of Understanding drafted between CALEB and Faculty IT

7 Your Logo Here Why set up a Helpdesk? Implement a Quality Assurance process to meet the University’s legal obligations (Academic Board Resolutions) Provide a central place of support for students and staff using Blackboard in the Faculty (WebCT Helpdesk benchmark) Encourage the use educational use of Blackboard and other learning technologies in the Faculty. (CALEB)

8 Your Logo Here Creating a Helpdesk

9 Your Logo Here Starting from little… Obstacles that came to mind which we tried to address: –Short setup time - semester starts in 8 weeks –Infrastructure of a Helpdesk –Need to create a job tracking system –Advertising Blackboard Helpdesk to staff –Implementing a Quality Assurance process - the site review process

10 Your Logo Here Site Reviews

11 Your Logo Here Advertising the Blackboard Helpdesk Catch staff when they ask for a Blackboard site via online form Ask permission for a site review on form Contact user by phone and/or email once site has been established. Offer Helpdesk support and provide more information about site review if required Emphasis on customer support

12 Your Logo Here What was the site review about? Academic Board policy requires that LMS sites be reviewed Initial site review voluntary Requested coordinator contact Helpdesk when site was ready for reviewing Would provide written feedback about the site after the review was complete

13 Your Logo Here Concerns about Staff Perceptions What we were worried about: –Will staff mind using an online form? –Will staff be ‘protective’ about their sites? –How will staff respond to changes or suggested changes to their sites by the Helpdesk? Strategies adopted: –Emphasize support over compliance –Proactive and personal approach –Keep staff fully informed of what the Helpdesk is doing –Always inform staff when a job is complete

14 Your Logo Here When did staff request a site? Beginning of Semester Initial Contact with Staff

15 Your Logo Here Communicating with staff Phoned each coordinator who requested a site – 30% success rate. Emailed each coordinator with the Helpdesk contact details, what kind of support we provide and more information about the site review process (where required) Pro-active contact was well received by staff. No negative feedback from initial contact

16 Your Logo Here Connecting Staff to Sites 160 site requests for 2 nd semester (about 80% of all sites for the Faculty) 75% of above sites requests permitted a site review Almost none contacted the Helpdesk to say that their site was ready for review Site reviews performed in week 3 of semester

17 Your Logo Here Site Reviews: What were we looking for? Technical Issues –Has the site/menu items been released to students? –Are attachments handled correctly? –Do discussion boards have forums? –Is the site well structured and content appropriately placed?

18 Your Logo Here Site Reviews: What were we looking for? Policy issues –Is copyright material handled correctly? –Is the unit of study outline available? –Are up-to-date instructions for Blackboard included? Educational issues –Is there appropriate and correct information online for students? –Does the site connect with the unit’s learning outcomes? –Are tools being used correctly to support student educational needs?

19 Your Logo Here Site Reviews: What we found… Most sites released and content/tools added in a ‘just-in-time’ basis Not all sites functional by the time a site review was completed (Week 3) Many simple technical issues identified –Most corrected by Helpdesk –Instructions for all corrections sent with written feedback to coordinator –Suggestions for making the sites more user friendly for students provided in written feedback Many sites had changed considerably by Week 5 in semester when a follow-up check was made

20 Your Logo Here Response from staff to site reviews largely neutral (no response) to positive Some coordinators appreciative of suggestions and changes to site. A few made sincere attempts to follow suggestions provided Two complaints regarding having site changed without informed consent Communication by phone (or in person) provided more efficient resolution of issues and was a better source of feedback Site Reviews: Staff response

21 Your Logo Here Basic minimum compliance across sites was achieved Some consistency over units was achieved in: –The placement of administrative material –How documents were presented –The use of announcements in creating student expectation –The set-up of discussion boards –Irrelevant material hidden Site Reviews: What was achieved?

22 Your Logo Here Site Reviews: Limitations Too late to change the role of the site within the larger teaching objectives of the unit of study Too early to provide capture what sites will become Does not encourage the improved use of blended learning Improvements may not carry over into the next semester Need to revise the purpose, implementation and timing of site reviews to achieve lasting results

23 Your Logo Here Logging Jobs

24 Your Logo Here Job Tracking - what did we need? Track on-going jobs Track the amount and type of traffic that passed through the helpdesk Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Find out what the major issues Blackboard users had Create a database of ‘clients’ Gain a perspective of Blackboard use in the Faculty

25 Your Logo Here Creating a Job Tracking System Why choose MS Outlook? Considered various software packages, but setup time and training was a limitation All staff have Faculty email setup around Microsoft Exchange Helpdesk gets an email contact point that can be shared by Helpdesk staff All CALEB staff have recently had advanced training in MS Outlook MS Outlook considered as a short-term solution to an immediate problem

26 Your Logo Here We have you on the system…

27 Your Logo Here With all of your details…

28 Your Logo Here Logging Jobs: Was it successful? Logging jobs takes time Need for consistent procedures between all those logging jobs Analysis of jobs takes time Historical log of jobs very useful in day-to-day Helpdesk practice Allows for a meaningful global perspective on Helpdesk activity Provides figures for bean-counters

29 Your Logo Here Logging Jobs: Contact Statistics (28 working days of data) Emails received:341 Emails sent:369 Phone calls received: 37 Phone calls made: 106 Jobs referred to Faculty IT: 84 One-to-one training visits: 12 Pop-in visits from staff: 10

30 Your Logo Here Counting emails doesn’t count jobs Non-email figures hard to collate and under- represented Analysis requires time-consuming manual sifting of contact reports. This, however, is time well spent. Logging Jobs: Contact Statistics

31 Your Logo Here 1.Faculty Processes (65%) –Request for sites, logins, access to sites –Need to forward on the Faculty IT 2.Blackboard (30%) –Adding/structuring content –Revealing hidden content –Adding/setting up tools 3.Pedagogical (5%) –Running a manageable discussion board –Setting up online groups to effectively facilitate group based assignment work The Helpdesk: Types of Requests

32 Your Logo Here Faculty Process Requests –Request for access to site: 57 –Request for computer account:13 –Student access problems:12 –Special site requirements8 –Not sure of login or password:7 –Archiving/restoring units:3 The Helpdesk: Types of Requests

33 Your Logo Here Blackboard Requests –Hiding/revealing menu items:15 –Discussion Board (various):14 –Releasing site to students: 12 –Structure of site problems:3 –Opening content in new window:3 –Uploading content: 2 The Helpdesk: Types of Requests

34 Your Logo Here Pedagogical Requests –Setting up a manageable Discussion Board to respond to student questions –Setting up Groups to promote group assignment work –Setting up effective Quizzes –Setting up Safe Assignment plagiarism building block The Helpdesk: Types of Requests

35 Your Logo Here Personal communication –Fast response time – contact within 1 working day –Solutions done in person or on the phone are most quickly resolved –Helpdesk knowing the history of the client –Knowing when a job is complete –Being kept ‘in the loop’, CC all involved parties –Good customer service The Helpdesk: What people like…

36 Your Logo Here What Next?

37 Your Logo Here Issues and opportunities 1.Policy 2.Process 3.Timing Site reviews Training 4.Support Issues Resources address common problems 5.Pedagogical Issues

38 Your Logo Here The way forward Maintain and build personal relationships clarify/negotiate areas of authority and responsibility Make compliance easy Build awareness of pedagogical possibilities Take pedagogical rather than technical approach – ‘why’ rather than ‘how’ Encourage knowledge sharing within existing communities

39 Your Logo Here How? Some ideas… Integration and expansion of online and offline resources and promotion of innovative uses of Blackboard –Develop case studies –Develop/repurpose help pages and online tutorials –Provide support materials – templates/policy statements etc. –Create FAQ –Create a ‘How to Build a Compliant Site within an Hour’ handbook

40 Your Logo Here –Move resources to Faculty website - provide different formats –Advertise policy and process requirements clearly and transparently –Redevelop workshops –Develop showcase sessions Internal Helpdesk improvements –Improve and streamline the job logging process. –Consider other logging software –Create a Blackboard Helpdesk manual for Helpdesk staff

41 Your Logo Here Questions ? Comments ? Suggestions ?

42 Your Logo Here Contact Details Ms Emma Yench (02) 9036 9401 Mr Ross West (02) 9035 7091 Faculty of Economics and Business Centre to Advance Learning in Economics & Business

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