DR. TECH: OSU Service Desk changes location

Dr. Jon Dorbolo Ask Dr. Tech

If there’s something strange in your technology and it don’t look good, who you gonna call?

If you are at OSU the best answer is; Service Desk.

You now have a single-point-of-contact for direct assistance on all things technology. On the web get the help that you need at is.oregonstate.edu/service-desk.mOn the phone call for help at 541.737.8787.

On wheels or on foot go visit the genius consultants in 201 Milne Computing Center.

That last point bears repeating because last year Service Desk was in the Valley Library.

I recommend that you drop into the new location, 201 Milne which is directly across from the library and east of Kidder, just so that you know where to go when you do need to use their help.

Service Desk hours for wheel-up/walk-up and phone are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Web and phone support are open to all OSU members including Cascades Campus, Newport and wherever you may be in the world.

Service may be extended to an OSU branch campus on Mars by 2060, but I am not certain of that.

To understand the range of help available to you I spoke with Kirsten Petersen and Jeff Bonnichsen who are both key people making Service Desk work.

These folks have chosen careers based on helping others and their sincerity in serving the OSU community is evident in all that they told me.

Bonnichsen is dedicated to providing assistance that is relevant to users by; “becoming either your last stop or next to last stop on your way to a solution.”

In other words, even if Service Desk cannot solve your issue directly, they will find someone who may do so and guide you through the process of connecting with that source.

In the information technology world this is known as a “warm transfer” because your first contact takes responsibility for putting you in touch with the right person to address the issue and follows-up to make sure that the transfer is successful.

That is more than service; it is active care.

Petersen said that the Service Desk goal is to be more than a fix-it shop but to contribute to “making OSU a great place to be, a great place to work and a great place to learn.”

Moreover, you will always have an opportunity to express your opinion about the quality of support and know that your feedback is taken seriously by OSU leadership.

What amazes me about Service Desk, other than the awesome people there, is the broad range of hardware, software and network issues they are prepared to handle.

Service Desk will help with a sick laptop, tablet and even desktop.

Service Desk will help you find answers for issues with Canvas, Clickers, WebEx, Email, VPN, Wifi, Kultura, Google Apps, Citrix, Qualtrics, Office365, BeaverPrint, Sharepoint, publisher online textbook content and a whole lot more including Box.

That kind of dedicated support does not come cheap in our world, yet you have it available for the asking just because you are part of OSU – that is special and you won’t find the same level of support many other places.

Petersen notes that the major challenge that Service Desk faces is that; “many students, instructors, researchers and staff do not know that we are here for them.”

Bonnichsen and Petersen both emphasize that while some people get frustrated with technology issues, Service Desk is there to help you no matter what.

Even though you may feel as though the universe has singled you out for special technology torment, keep in your mind the comfort that Service Desk personnel understand your exasperation and want to help.

This raises an important point that I hope you will take to heart: your human duty to treat support people with respect.

Often we seek technical support when things are going wrong and we are frustrated.

That is normal and it is appropriate to express as a fact that you do feel frustrated.

It is not appropriate to make the tech support person the target of your frustration.

They did not cause the problem and do not deserve to be treated with anger or disrespect.

The fact that someone feels discomfort is not a sufficient reason to cause discomfort in others, especially those who are trying to help.

Those who have taken lifeguard training can tell you that a drowning person will in their panic try to pull their rescuer under water.

That is a bad idea whether you are submerged or struggling with broken technology.

The better course of action is to recognize the help that you are given, appreciate the people giving the help and let them get on with the task of helping.

Maybe the tech support person will ask questions that seem obvious to you.

If so, understand that they are implementing a problem-solving procedure by eliminating factors in order to find the probable cause and solution.

Cooperate with the people who are trying to help you and success is far more likely.

This is a critical life-skill whether the issues that you face are technical, academic, economic or personal.

On the other hand, even if you do blow off some steam while interacting with OSU Service Desk folks, they will still offer you a kind and helping hand.

I recommend that the effective immediate means to helping Service Desk help you is to wheel-up/walk-up to 201 Milne just to say “Hi” to the folks there.

That familiarity will form a basis for confidence and direction in the event of an actual technology emergency.

I am grateful that quality technical support is available at OSU.

You will do me and the OSU community a favor, Beavers, if you will agree to tell at least one other person about Service Desk and what it provides to us all.

Web: http://is.oregonstate.edu/service-desk

Phone: 541.737.8787.

Wheel-up/Walk-up: 201 Milne Computing Center.

The opinions expressed in Dr. Dorbolo’s column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Barometer’s staff.