Teaching & Learning Champions 20: Technology support for students through remote learning
December 13, 2020
Today on Teaching & Learning Champions, we’re joined by Marc Petrick, Manager of Academic Technology Support. We’re talking about technology support for students through remote learning.
Thanks for listening to TLC @ ACC!
[ Music ]
[Matthew Evins:] Welcome to another episode of Teaching and Learning Champions. I’m Matt Evins, Director of Academic Technology in the Teaching and Learning Excellence Division at ACC. Before I introduce our special guest, I wanted to share a great resource for all faculty. Did you know that ACC’s Teaching and Learning Excellence Division has an events calendar just for faculty? Navigate to TLED.austincc.edu/calendar, to see upcoming training, important dates and deadlines, and to overlap all ACC faculty events on your Google calendar. Today I’m joined by Marc Petrick, Manager of Academic Technology Support as we talk about technology support for students through remote learning. Marc, thanks for joining me today.
[Marc Petrick:] Thanks, Matt, I appreciate it.
[Matthew Evins:] Let’s go ahead and just jump right into the questions, because we have quite a few of them. Can you tell us just starting off, tell us a little bit about your tenure and role since joining ACC.
[Marc Petrick:] Sure. I started with ACC back in February 2005 as a senior computer support technician in the department that used to be known as IRT, which through reorgs and such we’re kind of now known as TLED, but from there, I went to work as a senior companion your support tech for the learning labs for four years into moving back to IRT, and then into library services, all as a senior computer support technician. And then, I became the manager of the library computer labs, and I’m currently the manager of Academic Technology Support, which includes the TLED computer centers, as well as Student Technology Services group.
[Matthew Evins:] Now the purpose for me inviting you on today’s podcast is to give you an opportunity to talk a little bit about the student technology services group that you just mentioned, because it is brand-new for ACC, and I’m sure that most faculty aren’t aware that it exists. Can you talk a little bit about what prompted the creation of this group?
[Marc Petrick:] You know, Matt, what prompted the creation of this group was the need to provide students with a deeper level of technical and technology support. The pandemic brought an entirely different type of need for student support, and while our partners at the Student Affairs Help Desk, have always been, and continue to be there for our students, the amount of calls that they were receiving dramatically increased. In addition to that, the types of support calls they were receiving also changed with students needing a deeper level of support on everything from iPads to laptops to the various software the use, Office, Adobe and Blackboard. So, student technology services was really great. It was a way to provide that deeper level of support to our students.
[Matthew Evins:] That’s great. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, when did Student Technology Services really get started?
[Marc Petrick:] So, student technology services got started — we took our first support calls back in early November. We had five employees. I think the group actually formed in the October timeframe, and it took us just — we’ve ramped up very, very quickly to start taking these calls. So, we started our first calls in early November, and to date, we have taken over 400 support requests, and many of those students have multiple questions per call. Of those 400 or so calls that we’ve received, approximately 85% of those calls were resolved on the first contact. So, we didn’t have to follow up with them or transfer them to another part of the Student Affairs Help Desk.
[Matthew Evins:] That’s fantastic, especially in such a quick turnaround.
[Marc Petrick:] It was an amazing turnaround. Everything came together really, really quickly, and the only reason that was able to happen was because of the support that we had from the administration and from the Student Affairs Help Desk. It’s all these people came together to really help us get off the ground quickly.
[Matthew Evins:] That’s great. Can you talk a little bit more about the different types of services that STS provides to the students?
[Marc Petrick:] Sure. And, you know, in addition to the support that we talked about earlier, STS also facilitates checking out of equipment to students. So, we have various equipment, iPads, calculators, web cams, headphones, and for certain courses, we have some laptops. So, we facilitate the checking out of that technology to students, and we’re just about to start a chat-based support for students, so they can reach us via chat. And we’re going to — we’ll have some additional services that we’ll be offering in 2021, as we continue to ramp up.
[Matthew Evins:] Now for faculty who are listening to this that have students in their classes that need some sort of technology support, whether it’s checking out a device or getting the technical support that you mentioned, how do students go about getting support from your team, and where can faculty send these students?
[Marc Petrick:] So, there’s a couple ways that you can reach us. They can go to our website, which is that Austincc.edu/sts, and that will direct them to our Student Technology Services homepage. From there, you can fill out the request form to check out the device or equipment that you need. In addition, the phone number to the Student Affairs Help Desk is located on that page. That numbers 512-223-4636, and the options — one of the options in there, a couple of the options there will route to us directly. Option eight is the Student Technology Support that provides that level of support to them.
[Matthew Evins:] Great. Let’s talk a little bit about, since this team is so new, which talk about some of the feedback you received. You know, let’s talk about — let’s start with the faculty, staff, and administrative feedback.
[Marc Petrick:] You know, like I mentioned earlier, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, but that’s because we had, so many, you know, groups come together and really help us get up and running here. I’ve had the pleasure of talking about STS in many meetings, and it’s really been amazing to see how happy and excited that faculty have been and administrators have been when they learned about our team and the level of support that we’re providing to the students. One of the comments that I’ve heard over and over again and over again is this is something that ACC has needed for a long, long time, and I know I’ve said this a couple times already, but I really have to thank the incredible folks over at the Student Affairs Help Desk. Everyone in that group, from their management to their tax, has been really amazing in getting us up and running and answering any questions we may have had. They’ve been a great partner, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them.
[Matthew Evins:] Then how about on the student side? You know, you have call center agents right now who are taking calls from students. What has the feedback been from them?
[Marc Petrick:] Yeah, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve had many students tell me how happy they are to see this level of support available to them finally, it’s something they’ve wanted for a really long time. My staff has also informed me of the many comments that they’ve received at the end of their phone calls about how helpful and friendly that they have been, which, you know, that’s just something that started with Student Affairs Help Desk. They have great customer support or customer service, and we’re trying to — we’re carrying that same tradition on with them, making sure to provide the best level of customer service that we can.
[Matthew Evins:] Great. What are some of the long-term plans for student technology services? Obviously, it’s been sort of a whirlwind last couple of months, but this is something is going to go on even beyond the COVID. So, what you have in mind for the long-term plans?
[Marc Petrick:] Yeah, absolutely, I mean this is just the start of, you know, of what we’re doing with STS. You know, our long-term goals are focusing on expanding our services as we get back to campus. We plan to offer some one-on-one in person and drop-in support appointments for students with their technology and their support needs, but before we go back in person, we’re actually going to be offering those appointments as virtual appointments through the use of scheduled chats or videoconferencing. Additionally, we’re planning to offer classes on a wide range of topics, from Blackboard to Office to ACC mail. You know, anything that the students really have questions on or anything that we see trends on in our support calls of calls that we’re getting for the same things. We’re going to offer those classes to help students when we’re back in person. And we’re going to make sure that’s expanded across all campuses in our district. So, students will be able to drop in on any campus at any location, and we’ll have somebody there to help them with their needs.
[Matthew Evins:] That sounds like quite the undertaking. So, definitely wish you the best of luck in doing that. The last question I have before I let you go, Marc, is just sort of a standard that I ask to all of our guests on this show. Is there anything specific giving you River Bat pride this week? And I realize the today’s Monday that we’re recording this. So, if there’s something from last week, as well. That would work fine.
[Marc Petrick:] You know, Matt, honestly, what gives me River Bat pride every week is knowing the role that my departments play in checking out technology to students, as well as the level of support that we’re now able to provide to them. Knowing that we’ve had a hand in their success is just absolutely something I take a lot of pride in, not only for me, but my team has that same pride also.
[Matthew Evins:] Well, great, and just before we go ahead and wrap up, I just want to let everybody listening to this episode know that we will make sure that the link to the student technology services webpages available on the transcript and blog posts for today’s episode. So, Marc, thank you very much for being on today’s episode and talking more about Student Technology Services, and good luck in the expansion.
[Marc Petrick:] Thanks, Matt, I really appreciate it.
[Matthew Evins:] Well, that wraps up another episode of Teaching and Learning Champions. Don’t forget that you can read episode transcripts on the TLED blog and find links to any resources we reference during the show. I also encourage you to subscribe to the ACC District Podcast on any of your preferred podcast apps or listen to individual episodes on the TLED website. You can learn more about the Teaching and Learning Excellence Division and keep up with everything relevant to the faculty experience that ACC by subscribing to our weekly newsletter. Simply text ACCTLED, in all caps, to 22828 subscribe. And of course, he could find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ACCTLED. Thank you for tuning in, and we’ll chat next time on TLC@ACC.
[ Music ]