“It’s broke”

As you know, I also work on the Help Desk, and try to help folk with whatever their computer-related problems are. Sometimes, it’s as simple as reminding folk about the steps to take, sometimes I have to refer folk to someone else… but sometimes….

Let’s try something from your point of view for a moment.

What do you do when a student doing poorly comes to you (or you drag them into your office) and, when pushed, the student finally admits, “I don’t get it.”

You internally sigh, and ask back, “Don’t get what?”

The student then flails a bit and says something along the lines of, “None of it!”

You then really sigh, sit the student down, and start to back-track. “Okay, let’s go back a week, did you understand [last week’s topic]?” You continue to poke around within the last week (or month) of material to try to identify where the student stopped understanding what you were trying to do. Sometimes, the problem goes back far enough that it’s daunting, or sometimes there’s a fundamental topic / process / concept that the student did not understand (or read or do the homework for or whatever) and, once you go back to that, the student does that “oh!” thing, and then everyone feels better.

Well, that also happens on the help desk. We get a lot of requests (thank you!) that have the details we need to help, but there are calls with “it’s broke” and essentially nothing else.

So when we come back with questions about your problem, we do need you to work with us to be able to help you.

If nothing else, give the “who, what, where, when and why” details. Just because we’re the help desk, doesn’t mean we’re experts on what you do every day — there are lots of things we don’t know. The more information you can give up front, the better we can help you!

Thanks!

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