Before the school year begins, student interns are trained in software troubleshooting, hardware repairs, and professionalism. During the year, each intern covers one hour at the help desk, either before, during and after school. Most help desk support cases are minor, such as resetting passwords or installing printer drivers.
However, interns are authorized to perform major hardware repairs when needed. Broken screens and drop damage are the largest problems encountered, and currently occur a few times per month. Most students are honest about the cause of hardware problems, though some detective work is sometimes required.
One computer suddenly had a host of problems, from corrupted hard drive data to memory and motherboard faults. The help desk interns were baffled, until the computer’s owner was overheard talking about cooking the computer in the microwave oven. “We still don’t know why she did it, but that did answer our technical questions,” says faculty help desk mentor Cory Culbertson.
U-High charges students at cost for any repair resulting from damage. The help desk stocks repair parts and maintains a small stock of replacement computers, but does not issue loaner computers. “Our goal is fix software problems on the spot, and hardware problems the same day,” says Culbertson. “In fact, most of the time we can get major repairs done in an hour or two.”
He notes that the help desk has been so effective that the manufacturer’s warranty service is not an attractive proposition. “By the time we pay to ship a machine and wait for service, we could have saved ourselves both time and money by doing it here.”
(Next page: Additional perks for schools and interns)
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