Campus offers multiple options for tech support

What do you do when your computer gets overrun with viruses? Or when you just can’t figure out specialized software for a class? Just ask anyone from Learning and Technology Services, and they’ll take care of you.

LTS serves everyone at UW-Eau Claire and is designed to support students, said Carol Accola, manager of computing assistance and training for LTS. Everything from troubleshooting software, classroom assistance, one-on-one training, equipment check-out and maintaining an extensive online how-to guide is covered by the segregated-fee driven department, she said. Best of all, it does not cost a querying student a dime.

“We really do have a lot of support here and people devoted to make sure students have help,” she said.

The LTS Help Desk, located in Old Library 1144, is available to answer questions over the phone or in person, Accola said. It operates seven days a week and is open until midnight from Sunday to Thursday.

Computer lab assistants also staff the general access lab in Old Library 1108, she said, and will answer questions for students who are working on projects or unfamiliar software.

“We’ve certainly put a lot of emphasis on students,” she said. One-on-one training is also available in OL 1108, she said.

A division of LTS that offers specialized software workshops and additional one-on-one training is Bringing Instruction in Technology to Students, located in the Old Library. BITS takes both reservations and walk-ins, Accola said, and will train students in everything from digital media to word processing, free of charge.

LTS also offers discounted software and free anti-virus, spyware and adware for UW employees, Accola said, since the university doesn’t want problems to leak into the network. These services are also available at the Help Desk, she said, and employees will assist students with installing protection software if they request it.

The portion of segregated fees that go toward technology increases every year, said Stephen Hilger, director of the Information Technology Commission of Student Senate. He said more funds are needed to keep up with the changing technology, and the commission, which consists of student representatives, administrators and LTS representatives, increases the funding every year to reflect these advances.

In 2005, the commission approved $668,851 for technology, Hilger said, adding students are always welcome to approach a Student Senate member with suggestions or concerns about campus technology. The commission’s purpose, he said, is to address the question, “how does the average student use technology and how can we better serve them?”
Laura Ude, who transferred to Eau Claire for her second undergraduate degree this fall, said the campus offers many good outlets for technology support.

“I was just amazed at everything they have to offer here,” she said.

Now in her second week working at the LTS Help Desk, Ude said she has noticed a trend with the questions she fields. Often, she can tell if a certain professor asks his students to work on Dreamweaver, since a large number of students will come to her for advice.

“We can do just about anything that the student needs help with,” said sophomore Tyler Schroeder, who works for ResCom, another division of LTS. ResCom operates out of Towers Hall’s PC lab and will make “house calls” to students living in residence halls who are having trouble with their computers, he said.

” ‘I can’t connect to the Internet -help!’ ” is the most common call ResCom receives, Schroeder said. He often helps residence students connect to the network or Internet, he said, over the phone or in their rooms.

Sometimes students prefer to find technical answers on their own, Accola said, so LTS offers an online tutorial system. The department has won national awards for its online guide to a wide range of computer programs and operating systems, she said, and can be found at www.uwec.edu/help.

Most students aren’t aware of the technology support available, Accola said, adding students often struggle too long with a problem LTS could answer easily.

“If you need the help,” Ude said, “you should come and ask.”