How College Help Desks Are Helping Transform Students

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You may think hiring students to man the campus help desk will help your university to reduce costs. And we’re not denying that it’s cost-effective, but cutting costs shouldn’t be what drives a college to hire students. A college should seek to develop students as professionals and utilize their expertise.

When students collaborate with other students to solve tech problems, there are many benefits. For starters, those who pursue IT jobs after graduation have an advantage. Some colleges have designed help desks to be run almost entirely by students. 

These students have more professional experience than those who only complete short-term internships. They develop HR skills, management skills, and demonstrate high levels of autonomy and professionalism. Here’s how help desks are helping transform students and equipping them for success.

Enhancing Student Experiences

A while ago, help desks were only used to field questions about software installation and Wi-Fi passwords. But due to the growing competition for students, institutions have had to reconfigure the role of the help desk in order to deliver positive student experiences.

Universities are now increasing customer service training because students expect higher levels of service. They are investing heavily in training and technology to turn students’ problems into student-retention opportunities. For example, the help desk and email ticketing system at Arizona State University was born out of frustration. The college used to outsource the help desk, and complaints about poor service were the norm.

By bringing the service in-house, ASU addressed the many complaints by faculty and students. No longer do students have to talk to different representatives to get help with IT issues, financial aid, and other problems.

Proactive Security 

Technology solutions at Milwaukee Area Technical College have made the help desk team to be proactive in resolving problems. While students and faculty still get traditional support, the employees also monitor queues and check emergency service tickets so issues can be resolved before they affect users.

For instance, if the IT department spots a malware infection, the right people are sent to go and fix the infected equipment. Due to the increase in ransomware and malware attacks, the college’s focus on security has significantly increased.

Supporting the Community

Colleges such as ASU which have a solid and efficient help desk in-house are partnering with their cities to support their communities. For example, ASU has partnered with its city and state to develop an emergency contact center. This elevates the campus’ help desk, giving it a new important role.

In the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane, emergency management teams can leverage the help desk’s capabilities. The help desk team will be able to relay information to the public and students.

College help desks shouldn’t only be manned by IT experts, students can build important life skills when they learn how to manage help desks and handle tickets. They learn about operating systems, connection issues, network devices, and escalation procedures--skills that are vital in almost every industry.

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