By Alyssa Foy | Reporter
The HelpDesk+ opened in the fall semester of 2019 to offer a centralized location for students, faculty and staff to seek technology-related support, and planning is ongoing for a formal grand opening during the Spring 2020 semester.
After a full semester transitioning to this new approach to technology services, students and staff have responded positively to the changes.
Luke Whiting, manager of technical support at HelpDesk+, said an additional significant change in the new desk is the greater focus on student employment. This includes part-time jobs and internship opportunities that help students gain technical knowledge and customer support skills.
“When I hired [students,] I focused less on the IT skills they had and more on the customer service side,” Whiting said. “Even if they never work on computers again in their life, they’re learning how to do things that will work, whether they’re a teacher, doctor, lawyer and that’s my vision for the worker side.”
Abilene senior David Brown is an intern in the Makerspace, the studio at HelpDesk+ with 3D printers, laser engraving and vinyl cutters, among other work tools.
“I really enjoyed the creative freedom that’s offered,” Brown said. “Anytime I have a random idea, whether it’s for a class or just a random business idea. I can prototype it right then and have a physical prototype to hold and examine and get other people’s opinions on.”
Students can visit the Makerspace during its business hours to meet with staff regarding project interests.
Waxhaw, NC sophomore Anusha Gadepalli works on the technical side of HelpDesk+ and has used TechPoint resources in the past. Gadepalli said she has been able to see many changes in the new way support is offered.
Gadepalli said that in the past, resources could be difficult to locate.
“Now I feel it’s pretty well known, if we have problems, we can call HelpDesk+. It’s also very simple,” Gadepalli said. “You can call in eight to five, which is typically when most people run into their problems. If not, eight to seven, you can go [to the desk], and they can help you out either way.”
Located in the Garden level of Moody Memorial Library, the HelpDesk+ combines multiple departments’ efforts into one location for patron ease of access.
Previously, the largely student focused TechPoint desk in Moody offered equipment loans, PawPrints support and access to the MakerSpace. Meanwhile, Information Technology Services, or ITS, was housed in the Dutton Parking Garage for faculty and staff use.