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The ResNet Obstacle Course Kathleen A. Hausmann University of Notre Dame ResNet98 - Emory University.

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Presentation on theme: "The ResNet Obstacle Course Kathleen A. Hausmann University of Notre Dame ResNet98 - Emory University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ResNet Obstacle Course Kathleen A. Hausmann University of Notre Dame ResNet98 - Emory University

2 The ResNet Obstacle Course Kathleen A. Hausmann University of Notre Dame ResNet98 - Emory University Special thanks to Brian Burchett, who helped me throughout the planning and implementation of the 1997 ResNet Obstacle Course. Thanks to Brian Burchett and Steve Hideg for creating the necessary “re-breaking” scripts. Thanks to Travis Korth, Chris Miller, and Scott Siler, who helped to test the Obstacle Course before the RCCs went through it.

3 Our ResNet Clients n ResNet was activated in August n We had 6,762 students living on campus during the year. n 3,573 students were connected to ResNet during the year (53%).

4 Our ResNet Clients n 432 registered Mac users. n 2,597 registered Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 users. n 76 registered Windows NT users. n 7 registered computers with unsupported operating systems. n 461 unregistered machines.

5 Our Support n We have approximately 60 Resident Computer Consultants for our 27 undergraduate residence halls and our graduate student apartments. n Most residence halls have 2 RCCs, but a few smaller dorms have 1 RCC and a few larger dorms have 3 RCCs. The graduate residences have 2-4 RCCs.

6 Our Support n There is a Notre Dame RCC listserv for RCCs to post questions to other RCCs or OIT staff. A message sent to this listserv usually receives an immediate response from multiple RCCs.

7 Our Support n There is a dedicated web page for RCCs to access support information: –our problem tracking system, –frequently needed solutions, –archives of the ND RCC listserv. n RCCs can be contacted when a student needs assistance with ResNet. RCCs do not assist with non-ResNet related software.

8 Our Support n RCCs set office hours for walk-in traffic, and they are also responsible for setting up appointments with students who request help via our problem tracking system. n Cases for our problem tracking system can be created via the web or by calling the Help Desk.

9 Our Goal for Successful Training n Our goal was to create a way to ensure that every RCC had a basic familiarity with all of the common problems associated with ResNet and would have the experience of fixing each type of problem at least once before attending the Installation Fairs and working on “real” machines.

10 Our Solution - The ResNet Obstacle Course n We came up with the idea to create a series of machines that exhibited networking errors, operating system errors, hardware problems, and installation conflicts that the RCCs would work on one by one, trying to successfully connect each computer to the network.

11 How Did We Do It? n Before we could worry about how we would set up the obstacle course, we had to decide what problems needed to be represented. n We referred to a list of problems we encountered: –during our Installation Fairs, –from our Notre Dame RCC listserv, –through our problem tracking system.

12 How Did We Do It? n Once we identified common problems we wanted the RCCs to be able to solve, we started setting up the course.

13 How Did We Do It? n We took one of our computer clusters and reformatted the drives of the computers in the cluster and installed appropriate operating systems. n We switched the cluster from our ND network to our ResNet subnet. n We then ran our ResNet software installer on each machine.

14 How Did We Do It? n Once we had these computers ready, we went through and “broke” each computer so that it would exhibit one of our common ResNet problems. This was done to ensure that we could replicate on our computers the problems we had seen throughout the year.

15 How Did We Do It? n Once we were certain the problems could be replicated, we created scripts that could be run off of floppies to “re- break” a computer after a group of RCCs had fixed it. –We used batch files for the Windows computers. –We used AppleScript and Stuffit InstallerMaker for the Macintosh computers.

16 What Was Our Obstacle Breakdown? n We had a total of 19 stations: –Stations A - J used Windows 95 –Stations K and L used Windows 3.1 –“Station” M could be completed on any machine in the course –Stations N - S used Macintosh

17 Obstacle Course Documentation n Once we set up each broken station, we created documentation for each station with a “user’s explanation” of the problem. n The documentation also asked the RCCs about their experience working on each computer.

18 Obstacle Course Documentation “User’s Explanation” Example: “User’s Explanation” Example: The computer starts to boot into Windows 95, displays an error message about the network adapter not working properly and then freezes. No icons or shortcuts are visible on the desktop. All that can be seen is the mouse pointer and the green desktop color. The computer starts to boot into Windows 95, displays an error message about the network adapter not working properly and then freezes. No icons or shortcuts are visible on the desktop. All that can be seen is the mouse pointer and the green desktop color. What was the problem? What did you do to attempt to fix the problem? What was the problem? What did you do to attempt to fix the problem? Were you successful in solving the problem? Yes No Were you successful in solving the problem? Yes No If you were not successful, why not? What would you say to the user? If you were not successful, why not? What would you say to the user?

19 Obstacle Course Documentation n We also created detailed solutions for each station. The solutions provided suggested fixes and listed the target skills that the RCCs should have learned while working on each machine.

20 Obstacle Course Documentation “Solution” Example: “Solution” Example: Suggested fix: Suggested fix: The underlying problem is an IRQ conflict. First shut down the computer and boot into safe mode. Then remove the network device from the Device Manager. Restart the computer. At this point, most Windows 95 computers will recognize the card. This machine has plug and play turned off, which may require an additional shut down and the use of a 3Com configurator disk to set the IRQ to 3 and to turn plug and play back on. The underlying problem is an IRQ conflict. First shut down the computer and boot into safe mode. Then remove the network device from the Device Manager. Restart the computer. At this point, most Windows 95 computers will recognize the card. This machine has plug and play turned off, which may require an additional shut down and the use of a 3Com configurator disk to set the IRQ to 3 and to turn plug and play back on. Target skills: Target skills: Learn how to boot into safe mode, how to remove devices from the device manager, how to add new hardware, how to resolve IRQ conflicts in Windows 95, and how to use the 3Com configurator. Learn how to boot into safe mode, how to remove devices from the device manager, how to add new hardware, how to resolve IRQ conflicts in Windows 95, and how to use the 3Com configurator.

21 Final Preparations n When the RCCs returned to campus for training, I had them complete an information sheet that included questions about what platform they were the most familiar with and what previous computer experience they had (i.e. were they consultants in the clusters, were they RCCs last year).

22 Final Preparations n I compiled the forms and divided the RCCs into teams of three, making sure that there was at least one returning RCC to a team, and I tried to balance the skill levels of each team.

23 The Day of the Course n Rules were provided to the RCCs informing them of what resources (staff, disks, new network cables, etc.) were available to them. n Each team was provided with a packet containing the “User’s Explanations” of every station in the course. n The RCCs were warned that not every station had a problem that an RCC could fix.

24 The Day of the Course n We had two full-time staff members armed with the Course Solutions available to answer any questions that the RCCs had during the course. System disks, virus checkers, and driver disks were available by asking the supervising staff. Once a station was completed, the staff would “re- break” the computer using the reset disks.

25 RCC Feedback “The Obstacle Course was the most useful part of training - you can tell people how to fix a computer, but it doesn’t mean anything unless they do it themselves.”

26 RCC Feedback “I liked the Obstacle Course. I thought a lot of the stations were difficult, but I later saw those problems in the dorm.”

27 RCC Feedback “Do the Obstacle Course again - I really enjoyed it.”

28 ? Questions ? Kathleen A. Hausmann University of Notre Dame


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