We Need a 4th Vista DBA / Technical Support

Work for OIIT!

Become our 4th DBA / technical support person for our team.

  • Located in Athens, GA (college town, UGA football)
  • $, benefits, generous leave, rare snow
  • we love open source
PDF of GeorgiaVIEW DBA position

Check out the PDF (right) for more information.

Sorry for the convoluted route to the application…

  • Click this link to go to our HR site.
  • Click the “View Job Postings / Apply for Job” link.
  • Check the “Information Instructional Tech” box.
  • Enter “learning” for the keyword and click search.
  • Systems Support Specialist 3” is our DBA position. We also have a Business Systems Analyst position for a less technical position.

We’d love to have you.

Try Again

The worst response technical support can give me is to suggest I try something I have already tried without success. An explanation why this suggestion is going to work this time when the previous attempt(s) did not work would help. Otherwise, why would I expect it to work this time when it didn’t last time? The response to…

Perhaps you can explain why this will work now when we explained in the first note that we have already tried this and found BbVista would not start?

was

I’m conferring with our development team about how it will work now vs. earlier when it did not. Thanks.

This wasn’t our usual support person. This is, I think, someone covering our cases and thought to get us to close the ticket easily. You know reach Ticket Inbox Zero. Someone who doesn’t realize I blog about stuff like this because… Well… It annoys me.

Ticket Inbox Zero

Blackboard implemented a ranking system to determine the priority of support tickets. This effort uses criteria like the age and recency of updates to ensure the attention of Technical Support Managers. Certainly this initiative is due to continuing customer complaints about languishing tickets. Last spring we saw a similar push to fix support.

We have a weekly call with our Blackboard TSM where we discuss the status and priority of the issues. As GeorgiaVIEW is a consortium, these calls allow us to track the progress of the couple dozen of active tickets. From our vantage point, the tickets get verified as a bug in relatively short order and escalated to Development in rather short order.

Once there, the tickets languish for months to years. Most tickets impact a single section so once grades are posted, a fix is pointless. Even one ticket who passes this point to me proves a failure in the system. As fixing the issue after this point solves nothing. It cannot help anyone as the class is inactive. Yet, we hold on in hope someone might look at the issue and provide a fix for the next time this happens. Maybe that will be another customer or ourselves soon?

Unless a fix is provided immediately, we start losing the confidence of the instructors or students. Within only two weeks, we have irrevocably lost the confidence of these users. At that point we are incompetent to this person and may never be able to regain trust.

Our TSM seems effective in the realm in which she operates (confirming bugs, providing known solutions, and pestering Development for updates). We hawkishly ensure no tickets are dropped through the cracks.

If the goal really is to make the customers happy, then providing us timely updates that nothing is being done will not cut it. Provide the resources to Development to get our tickets resolved. Only then will our users be happy.

Wrong Number

A ticket our Blackboard technical support manager marked as really urgent was picked up by another technical support person who left a note about calling me. Except, the familiar phone number called wasn’t my office number or even my cell number. Nope, it is the office number at my previous job. Yup. I have not worked there in over two years. Yet, no one at WebCT or Blackboard has updated my contact information so Blackboard employees can find me. Isn’t the whole point of having my phone number to be able to call me? It is okay. As it is the end of the work day I was headed home anyway.
🙂

Sorry, Andy, if they left a message….

Dance Lessons, Anyone?

The modest proposal of having students help teachers learn to dance makes an interesting point. Suggesting the learners do not want to learn is an easy way to avoid the real problem.

I hear from higher education faculty, students are unmotivated and fail to see the importance of learning. I hear from academic technical support at the campuses my project supports, faculty members are unmotivated and fail to see the importance of technology.

Certainly, I ought not allow myself to think of students as unwilling to learn, faculty members unwilling to use technology, and academic technical support unwilling to help the faculty. Empathy is one of those right brain skills I should be using.