Thursday, April 06, 2006

How do we make them care?

No, not the students. Despite all the griping about students over at The Chronicle, I think the students already care.

How do you make the Department of We're Here to Help You Tech Support care whether you can do something as simple as play an audio file in class?

We're Here to Help You Tech Support (not its name) is one of the many, many heavily staffed computer support service units where I teach, and its sole purpose is to help faculty with technology in the classroom--playing DVD's, etc. That's it. This unit doesn't even have to deal with Blackboard/WebCT; that's another department.

I team-teach a course in which the other instructor yesterday wanted to play a song to illustrate a point in class. He had done this last semester in the course, and WHHYTS had given him a cord and instructions. All had gone well, so this semester he went back to the same place and asked for the cord. No, we don't have a cord like that, he was told. In fact, you couldn't have gotten that cord from us because we don't support your type of computer.

He found a cord from someone else and hooked it into the panel; no sound came out. I tried to help and couldn't get it to work, either. He called WHHYTS from the classroom, which is next door to WHHYTS, and--sorry, no, they couldn't help with that, either.

We didn't hear the song. The instructor was good-natured about it, as were the students, but the old retro boom box/overhead projector combination is starting to look better all the time for that classroom.


Bardiac said...

Oh, boy, technology makes me nuts sometimes. And so often, it seems to be more a plugged in or not plugged in cord or something that causes the problem.

Deb said...

Geez, that's just crazy. How could they be *that* unhelpful?

I'd probably complain to somebody.

undine said...

That's just it: the technology's there if we could get the cords to work. I'm thinking that I might stop by and try the first step--"please help me to understand why this doesn't work"--before the complaint.

Deb said...

Yeah, that makes great sense--a very diplomatic way of handling it!