Murano 3201
Frederick Kelly IT Administrator University of Tennessee Knoxville
Mary Lee Stewart University of Tennessee Knoxville
Rosie Sasso Instructional Technology and Research Support Specialist III, University of Tennessee Knoxville

Background: Knoxville has 1,400 Instructional Faculty, Student Enrollments 27k, Colleges 11, Degree Programs 300+, Course Delivery staff of 5.

Course Delivery Tools: Bb Learn, Bb Collaborate

Bridging the Gap

When You are in Support – Every Day is Different!

We are ambassadors among different groups and people with unique backgrounds and traits with which to synthesize superior support.

Don’t be THAT guy.  – It’s okay to say “I don’t know”, Investigate, Give Users Options

User Real Life examples and practical experiences – even if anecdotal – and then apply them to tech.

– Use analogies, metaphors, and/or similes.  “Like drinking a milkshake through a cocktail straw”
– Computing Systems are like a fingerprint – browsers, operating systems, java, security, MS Office, third party- All users are diverse  (verbal, visual) get to know users and needs

Embracing Change

The only thing constant is change – Heraclitus, Greek philosopher (535 BC – 475 BC)

  • Change is often forced on users, but it’s constant, so roll with it.
    – Know you are a change agent. (Make it as not scarey as possible)
  • Browsers are on accelerated schedule
    – Best browsers for BbLearn? More than one.
    – Your browser is the window for the internet like your windshield is a window to the interstate
  • Sites like Amazon tweak GUIs all the time and no one freaks out.
    – Literal people may view a GUI change as catastrophic
  • Focus on positives from the change.  Yes, things an break, but new features are helpful
  • Find balance between experimentation and frustration.
    – If something looks different play with it.
    – If you’ve got the time to experiment, do.
    – If you start to get angry or frustrated, call support.

“For every ailment under the sun there is a remedy, or there is none; if there be one, try to find it; if there be none, never mind it.”
– W.W Bartley American Philosopher (1934-1990)

Empowering Users

  • Provide cheat sheets, walkthroughs (printable & Postable)
  • Myth: Technology is supposed to make things easier – not true, just different
  • Hold users accountable and foster a sense of personal responsibility. (“let’s schedule a time to get together an set up Grade Center BEFORE next semester.”)
  • Take the Heat when its applicable
    – Know when to say no. Do not be run over.
  • Make a checklist for Instructors to get them started

Fortune favors the brave!  – Publius Terentius After the roman playwright.

Asking Questions

  • What did you do BEFORE BbLearn or BbCollaborate?
    – I hate BB, but I want it to paint my house and do magical things
  • How far did you get?
  • WHY?
  • Would you be willing to try this a different way?
  • Are you interested in learning a potentially more effective way of doing this?
  • Are you willing to come in and meet with us?

Professional Development:

Workshops – F2f, Online, your place or mine? (5 or 6 a month f2f)
Consults – Brief topical – how do I do x with y? one-on-one or group, where can i find? But what about..
Faculty Assist – Detailed, specific need (ID work) Was, Is or Will Be, Across support groupsKnowledge Base – Online constantly updated

Summary –

Offer multiple avenues of support, consistent message.  Be Technical & Practical, Address Expectations, Expect change!!

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