Gordon Discusses Work at ITS Help Desk amid COVID Changes

Jackson Johnstone

ITS Help Desk is Manchester’s computer support center that is located in the Clark Computer Center building which also houses Campus Safety. ITS employs 17 full-time staff members as well as a variety of student employees. One of the student employees at Manchester is Andrew Gordon, a senior exercise science major who is working at ITS for his third consecutive year.

Gordon states that ITS Help Desk has not changed much amid the pandemic, with the biggest differences being wearing masks, installing plexiglass barriers, as well as having the staff be slightly more spread apart. “Social distancing has never been an issue as we have always been rather far apart,” Gordon said. At the beginning of the semester, ITS implemented a knocking policy to where students had to knock to enter the room but this was later changed to the plexiglass being rotated to better protect students and staff as well as to increase the overall capacity.

Before the semester started, ITS had to prepare for the school year, with all the normal routine details such as computer updates and providing new software for online learning. One of the biggest differences this semester was setting up the quarantine rooms in Schwalm for internet connectivity. This entailed installing an HP computer in each room on the third floor as well as setting it up with all of the necessary equipment for online learning.

This semester the Help Desk has seen significant demand from professors for camera and microphone setups, both for the classroom as well as at home to make the learning more pleasant for those who are quarantined or are unable to come on campus. So far, ITS has been able to comply with these demands as they have a dozen cameras and microphones for use, although that may change when campus closes, if the requests for cameras increases.

Another issue that ITS has faced on a large scale is the differences in class and professors’ schedules this semester. This has made it increasingly difficult for ITS to find a good time to fix something in a classroom or know when a professor is in their office to have an issue addressed. “What’s scheduled to happen during a normal semester cannot happen this semester because there is no longer any regularity,” Gordon said.

An ongoing issue for Gordon and the rest of ITS this semester is an increase in internet connectivity issues in the residence halls. This has kept them extremely busy as they have been combating this issue. They ultimately believe that it is resolved but will gladly help if a ticket is submitted on ChetNet.

Another issue faced this semester is that the password reset link has been going to student’s junk mail, leaving students no way to access important documents, OneDrive, and their Outlook mail. They believe that this has been resolved but are unsure as there have been no new reports.

Currently, Gordon’s biggest personal worry is a result of the impending campus closure. When the North Manchester campus closes, Gordon is out of a job and will no longer have an income. In years past he was able to stay on campus and work without any issue. And although Gordon loves technology, he becomes disgruntled when he has to use it for classwork. He is hoping to move away from online learning for his final semester. When he graduates this spring, he is going to miss ITS and his friends on campus that he’s made over these four years.