This is my first attempt at blogging a conference, and I’m not sure how successful it is. Yesterday I basically took notes, and transcribed slides into the blog. Is this useful? I’m not convinced. So today I’ll try to condense and add commentary a bit more. What I really need is a way of annotating an existing set of slides online.
Having your IT support staff distributed across a variety of locations presents several challenges to university IT support. The speaker (Steve Gough, University of Reading) briefly described the issues, and then looked in more detail at different solutions being used in the sector.
Just about any university has distributed support staff, since it is extremely common for departments to have local IT support of some description. It seems that communication with these distributed staff is key. The methods used to do this include:
Mailing lists and news groups
Hands-on trainig sessions
At RHUL we certainly have a mailing list, but I’m not really aware of the other methods being used. Perhaps we should look at the material produced by Oxford?
Loughborough have created the position of ‘Faculty IT Coordinator’ to bring the distributed support staff into the central support unit.
Alternative approaches to this problem are:
Super-users in departments (suspect this model is used in parts of RHUL)
Techlink scheme at University of Cambridge
The speaker has just suggested that there are issues with us (as central IT support) talking about communicating with the distributed staff. This really has to be a two way communication. It has just struck me that this is exactly the kind of situation that e-learning type tools apply to. We could easily create a ‘course’ which allowed. Perhaps we should add this to our desirable tools list for our pilot portal?