The Keene State College Information Technology (IT) Department has been forced to adjust to a hybrid semester much like the rest of the school.
As teachers, faculty and students have made the transition to a hybrid curriculum for the fall semester, it is only natural that they would need help to get familiar with new technologies and programs like Zoom and would then call the IT department.
However, according to Chief Information Officer Laura Seraichick, it took the IT department some time to get used to the new circumstances and programs too.
“We’re in a changed world,” Seraichick said. “Our staff had to get used to the transition too. Anything new takes time to learn. It’s been the same for us as everybody else.”
Seraichick added that the department had to undergo this transition while understaffed. According to Seraichick, the department had professional staff vacancies that they were looking to fill in February, but when Keene State shut down because of the pandemic, they were unable to fill those spots.
“Everyone had to pick up the slack,” Seraichick said. “Our resources are stretched. Everyone has been working a lot of hours. Although we were able to lean on our IT family when we needed to.”
The “IT family” Seraichick referred to is the University System of New Hampshire’s IT group. Each school in the USNH had its own group, however, Seraichick said they consolidated their departments, and are now one family.
IT help desk staff and Keene State junior Sam Foley said that he noticed the help desk being “comparatively understaffed” from before.
“We make do and we manage,” Foley said. “There’s always one adult around to help if we need it.”
IT help desk staff and Keene State junior Brian Holowitz added that his and Foley’s bosses have been very helpful.
“If we feel like we can’t handle something they always help,” Holowitz said.
With new classrooms and curriculums across campus dependent on technology, the IT department has seen a lot more calls relating to virtual learning, meetings and events. Foley said he has worked with the IT department since his first year at Keene, and had not heard of Zoom until the pandemic.
“Now I know more about Zoom than most people need to,” Foley said.
According to Foley, there are definitely times when the help desk is very busy. Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. are the busiest, he said.
Holowitz added that working at the help desk is usually a “laid-back” job.
“It’s not something you can’t manage,” Holowitz said. “If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, it’s nothing compared to that.”
Seraichick said the amount of calls being received by the help desk has been level and similar to what she has seen before.
“The first few weeks have required lots of helping so everyone can get used to the new circumstances,” Seraichick said. “But as the faculty continue to get used to the new technology I think the calls will level out.”
Seraichick said that although it has been slow, the department has been trying to fill their staff vacancies, and that once fully staffed the work loads will be lighter. “I look forward to being fully staffed again,” Seraichick said. She added that the IT department is always looking for students to work part-time and they are currently hiring.
Students who are interested in working with IT can contact KSC Helpdesk Manager Elise Morrissette at email@example.com.
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