IT’s endless help and troubleshooting

Nate Powalie

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Students are sitting behind their computers when they hear a phone ring. It is a fellow AU student saying they are having problems with their computer.

The Ashland University Information Technology, or IT, department, is ready to respond to that student’s complaint.

The IT crew, located on the first floor of Patterson Hall, focus on supporting current technologies while looking forward to see how new technologies can benefit the campus and community.

The mission goal comes with three functional areas within the department, which are Administrative Services, Client Services & Technical Support and Infrastructure & Security.

Not only is there a main IT department on campus in Ashland, but there are also IT support stations at the regional campus in Mansfield and Columbus, as well as at other instructional locations and several correctional institutions, according to the IT Ashland website.

The head of the IT Department usually has a busy day-to-day schedule.

“Definitely busy – I manage and train the student workers to assist anyone affiliated with the university,” Marquise Pirela said. “I’m responsible for the staff means when it comes to class and there is never a dull moment during a semester, especially when the fall semester gets busy with students trying to gain access to their accounts.”

The daily schedule varies depending on the semester for the IT department. For example, during the summer semester, IT is available on Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.

They are also available during Freshman Move-In Weekend on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Trouble with account access isn’t the only thing IT handles. They also can help with classes whenever the website is down, when a student’s Wi-Fi connection fails, or if the computer is just not corresponding with a university resident. They can also help do some troubleshooting if a printer is not working, according to Pirela.

When it comes to student employment, there are not many requirements for those who want to be a part of IT.

“To be transparent, there are no prior technical knowledge requirements,” Pirela said. “We typically look for strong organizational skills, problem solving skills, and soft conversational skills.”

Most of the crew in IT is made up of Computer Science majors here at AU, but there are a few who aren’t- like senior Mitchell Ott.

“I’m not a computer science major myself, but I came in and ended up liking learning about the technology, you sort of get an inside scoop in the department,” he said.

The department is an active participant in the governance process with several committees designed to help with communications, customer service, technology integration and adoption, and change management.

IT will also perform scheduled maintenance on the Ashland University Guest and Secure Wi-Fi networks during the hours of 10 p.m. on Saturdays to 8 a.m. on Sundays.

“I try to abide by the golden rule,” Ott said. “I treat others like how I’d want to be treated, and try to assist them through their computer troubles.”

The department even has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pamphlet to answer questions about connecting computers to the Guest or Secure networks, logging in to AU’s services and acquiring Microsoft Office.

Some of the information inserted on that pamphlet includes how to contact the Tech Support Center, where to find policies on correctly using AU systems, and more.

In order to register a device, as noted on the pamphlet, a student must first go to clearpass.ashland.edu. From there, they can sign in with their credentials (username based on the email address and personal password), then click on “create device” and follow a set of instructions.

The fourth step is to enter in a “device name” and put in the “MAC address” in a similar box. Once the device has been created and all of the information about it has been put in, the student can click on “create device” again to complete the setup.

More information can be found online, or by going to Room 100 in Patterson Hall.

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