A student-run help desk based on campus is an excellent way to alleviate the burden on permanent IT staff while educating students with an interest in technology. With tech know-how and the practical experience that comes with running a campus support center, students will come away from their IT support roles with valuable skills and maybe even an interest in a career in technology.
Real-World Examples of Student-Run IT
At Marist College, in Poughkeepsie, NY, a research data center helps to train students while dealing with tech problems. The 150 students involved in the research data center work on the help desk, as well as in the networking operating center and data center.
“We have a very rich paraprofessional program for technology,” Bill Thirsk, CIO and Vice President of IT, “Even that kid in journalism, English or history can come work on the data center floor, in our security operation center or on the help desk. It’s for anybody who wants to get trained in a data-centric environment.”
At Wesleyan University, in Middletown, CT, the ITS student help desk is fully student-run and managed. This help desk handles technical services and support for undergrad students, including student-owned computers and devices. They also provide support for internet issues in on-campus housing.
Digital Learning Centers
Schools like the University of Massachusetts are integrating digital learning centers on campus. This is a strong first step toward student-run IT help desks. These digital learning centers are a step up from past computer labs. They function as a drop-in location for student work and as classroom space.
A digital learning center team handles management and maintenance for every center on campus instead of leaving it to each department. The team includes work-study students who are fully onboard with IT roles. They inspect terminals and clean up stations, maintaining hardware, software, and printers. Students can call an IT service desk for help or submit a ticket online.
But, institutions of higher education aren’t the only ones implementing a student-run help desk program. We have talked about these programs in K-12 before including one highlighted by the US Department of Education. Even elementary schools are enlisting the help of tech-savvy kids to their help desk program.
These are just a few examples of ways students are getting involved with IT from the ground up. Whether it is supporting campus activities or assisting in the wider community. As help desk software becomes easier to implement, we may see even more education institutes moving toward a student-run IT support environment.
Creating a Student-Run Helpdesk
Some help desk platforms today simplify the creation and ongoing management of an IT help desk. A help desk system like everything HelpDesk offers discounted user licenses (we call them Apprentice licenses) that students can gain limited access and work under the supervision of a trained IT technician.
With this type of program, automation and customization come together to ensure that the help desk is built specifically to the needs of its management team and its users. In higher ed, for example, this could mean that automated asset management is used to keep a handle on school-owned technology. Reporting tools help promote end-user satisfaction because a staff member or student overseeing the help desk can identify which technicians are performing well, and which tickets are taking too much time or other areas of concern.
Having a robust, intuitive help desk platform will ensure that your campus-run student support center is strong from the start.