(b) Review and, to the extent necessary, establish standards and best practices regarding electronically distributed learning and related support services including online help desk support, advising, mentoring, counseling, and tutoring;

Lead: Connie Broughton

Technical support best practice provides for a familiar connection between support and user, an effective ticketing system, consistently good response times, an analysis to determine if internal or vendor provided support is appropriate, hour of operation beyond the 8-5 work day, consistent and effective intact response process, support of “modern” technology, and multiple methods of getting support.


Help desk support provides assistance to faculty, staff and students of an institution using delivery methods that are appropriate to the user. College help desks might provide technical support for elearning tools, for on-campus hardware and software or for services such as registration, financial aid, advising, counseling or tutoring. Help desk support can be delivered either by the institution, by third-party vendors, or by using collaborative models.

Philosophical Statement

Access to help desk support is an important tool for retention, completion and satisfaction. Institutions should provide all necessary resources to ensure all students supported by the institution will have a quality learning experience. The help desk services should reflect the opportunities learners now have to engage 24x7 and should be offerred through reliable, efficient and readily available technologies. Learners need access to support services 24x7 as well as to technical support services.

Best Practices
  • Institutions might choose to hire a vendor or provide support internally
  • Learners might benefit if institutions can combine multiple help desk functions into a single contact center
    • "breaking down the silos between different services for students, faculty and staff" - our goal should be excellent service and ease of use for all users.
  • A ticket tracking system creates efficiencies for the help desk and reduces the time it takes to reach a solution for the learner
  • Users should expect a quick and reliable response
  • Users should be able to work with the help desk through multiple methods (telephone, live chat, knowledge base articles on the web, email, etc.)
  • Shared enterprise help desk support requires standard processes and escalation procedures
    • who is responsible for the support
    • established escalation paths (tier 1, 2, 3)
    • multiple methods of getting support - web knowledge base, open ticket on web or phone,
    • 24/7 if learners are working 24x7

WCET Transparency by Design Principles of Best Practice http://www.wcet.info/2.0/index.php?q=TbDPrinciplesofGoodPractice
SBCTC Service Level Agreement for WAOL ANGEL http://www.waol.org/faculty_and_staff/angelMigration.aspx
Example of integrated HD support for students http://www.onestop.uc.edu/