Solving IT Challenges For Educators with a Knowledge Base

A love of learning likely is what drove many educators into this profession. Depending on someone’s particular discipline and personality, some teachers may be more interested in the “how” vs. the “why” of a particular topic, but an overall sense curiosity seems to be a constant.

In a school setting, the IT team can further encourage this curiosity by creating what’s called a “Knowledge Base.” Essentially, it’s a local online style guide of what’s happening with their computers and local networks.

While not everyone outside of the Help Desk can, or wants to, understand the mechanics and theories of modern network management, even the most novice computer user in an educational setting can hopefully absorb something from a peer-created how-to guide.

Knowledge bases aren’t necessarily new concepts for the tech world, but they have become helpful tools for developers, network managers, and designers as good tools to keep track of updates and changes and document local procedures.

But in the last few years, especially with more open source development taking place, the bases have become handy repositories for local fixes, local code, and perhaps local general info. Help Desk teams can also keep track of changes, upgrades, or best local practices for maintaining hardware and software.

At the same time, some businesses are beginning to allow general internal users to access and contribute– it could be an excellent resource to walk users through some procedures that might seem basic to the Help Desk team, but may confuse less proficient users: perhaps tasks like finding/adding a printer, connecting to a mail server, how to reboot, basic troubleshooting – pretty much a local Frequently-Asked Questions section.

The Help Desk, of course, can and should be called for emergencies and greater mechanical failures. Which they may be more eager to help with, since they may not have as many smaller-sized requests to contend with if the non-Help Desk staff starts trying to answer basic questions themselves.

The database could be searchable, so users can look for what’s happening with their specific machines or similar problems that others may be having, such as software compatibility issues. It could be an easy place to share instructions for the entire staff as well, such as required upgrades or upcoming interruptions to service.

A Knowledge Base could be configured in different ways – maybe the bottom level could be accessed by everyone on the internal network, but only IT could access higher levels – here, there could be more technical information or details about open and compete work orders, or the ability to make larger changes to the document, or historical profiles of individual desktops, peripherals or other equipment.

Companies that create and continue to maintain a Knowledge Base could be expected to save time — rather than starting a work order from scratch, they’ll have a handy record of past work done on a machine. General users also may appreciate not having to lose time by waiting for help if the answer could be found.

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