Student Computer Lab Staff Guide

Computer Lab - Staff Guide

The Student Computer Lab staff plays a vital role in providing us with access to information technology at the University of Lethbridge. This document is designed to give a broad overview of their responsibilities.

There are five key areas:

  • Create and maintain a relaxed, yet professional environment, for staff, faculty and students to learn and work in
  • Assist staff, faculty and students with their computing needs
  • Maintain all computer and classroom equipment located in the Student Computer Labs as well as the 24-hour facilities
  • Attend to the general security of the Student Computer Labs
  • Perform administrative duties in support of the IT department and to facilitate the continued functioning of the labs
The staff is responsible for creating and maintaining a relaxed yet professional environment for staff, faculty and students to learn and work in.

The Student Computer Labs are a place where people tend to spend a lot of time. Our goal is to make the experience as pleasant as possible. For many, the hustle and bustle of people coming and going makes it difficult for them to work. Staff are responsible for minimizing these distractions by:

Acting in a professional manner:

  • Being aware of department policies and procedures
  • Keeping the Proctor Stations free of clutter
  • Keeping a neat personal appearance
  • Answering the phone in a prompt and courteous manner
  • Working in a quiet and respectful manner
  • Refraining from engaging in personal business while working

Ensuring that the facilities are clean and comfortable by:

  • Disposing of food and drink packaging and containers
  • Ensuring that recycling bins are free of garbage
  • Pushing unused chairs under desks
  • Cleaning monitors and keyboards as required
  • Cleaning white boards as required
  • Reporting problems with ventilation and lighting

Providing a predictable environment:

  • Ensuring that Proctor Stations are monitored
  • Announcing classes 10 minutes before they come in
  • Ensuring that schedules are accurate
  • Being knowledgeable and providing students with consistent advice

Ensuring a relatively quiet work environment.

  • Having an awareness of
    • Loud or boisterous behaviours
    • Excessive talking between individuals who are not working quietly
    • Software programs that are loud or beep repetitively
    • Individuals playing CDs or other multimedia without headphones
    • Onscreen content which may be objectionable
    • Individuals who appear annoyed by their surroundings
  • And then acting
    • Ensuring that the individual is made aware that they are bothering others
    • Showing individuals how to adjust the volume on the monitor
    • Suggesting earphones

Ensuring that signage is of a high standard by:

  • Taking the time to make signs that are visually appealing
  • Ensuring that the message is clear and complete
  • Removing old signage
  • Rather than marking-up textual errors, replacing the signs altogether
  • Limiting signs to specific areas
  • Removing any advertising signage from the bulletin boards

Computer Lab Staff have the responsibility of representing the entire IT department as well as the university as a whole. We are the first point of contact with many members of the university community

We represent ourselves positively by:

  • Being knowledgeable about our services
  • Promoting our services and products
  • Presenting our department and university in the best possible light
  • Fully affiliating ourselves with our department and the university

Staff are responsible for assisting staff, faculty and students with their computing needs.

Customer service is the most critical aspect of making the Student Computer Labs a pleasant place to be. Although individuals will vary in their professional style, all staff are expected to:

  • Demonstrate a willingness to solve problems
  • Be friendly and courteous when responding to students' concerns
  • Have the patience to deal with repetitive tasks
  • Focus on the customer
  • Be diligent
  • Help individuals solve problems in a respectful manner
  • Proctor By Walking Around (PBWA)
  • Handling students data in the safest manner

It is important that the customers see you as being friendly, courteous and diligent. Their perceptions of you frame their perceptions of the lab as a whole.

While Student Computer Lab staff are expected to have a strong knowledge base, they are also expected to build on this. Although learning plans have not yet been developed, general expectations are as follows:

  • Having an awareness of department policies and procedures
  • Being comfortable with the materials commonly required for computer classes
  • Being comfortable using standard applications
  • Developing an understanding of the campus computing environment
  • Seeking answers to questions they are unable to respond to

In some instances, other members of the IT department, or perhaps even another department, may be required to solve a problem. Before directing a client anywhere, the staff member should phone the respective department to ensure that this indeed meets with the expected protocol.

Although the role of the Student Computer Lab staff is to help students with their computing needs, which may require them to explain solutions to course-related questions, staff are not there to do their homework for them. If a student seems to be particularly demanding of their time, staff will direct them to other resources, including their course materials or lab instructors.

Staff are responsible for the maintenance of the computers and other equipment within the Student Computer Labs.

Although students will often report a break-down of equipment, staff need to be vigilant about identifying unreported break-downs. Proctoring By Walking Around (PBWA) increases the students likelihood of reporting these problems.

Staff should look for indications that a machine may not be working, perhaps the existence of a single computer in a busy lab that remains unused; or a computer that individuals approach and then quickly abandon.

Staff are expected to make a reasonable effort to get a computer functioning. This includes trying to replicate and isolate a problem. Unless otherwise instructed, staff are not expected to troubleshoot anything that requires opening a computer case.

If a staff member cannot fix a machine it must be officially reported, adding as much information as possible. This will ensure that the right people become aware of the problem and have a solid understanding of it. Meanwhile, these machines should be tagged with a Computer Not Available sign. Hand-scrawled signs are not acceptable

Staff are responsible for the general security of the Student Computer Labs.

The equipment that is provided for the Student Computer Labs may only be used on these premises

  • Lab equipment is not to be removed without the explicit permission of the lab supervisor or designate
  • Staff should have an awareness of the equipment in their lab in order to be cognizant of any losses
  • It is important to ensure that when the lab closes, the doors are locked

Equipment from the Student Computer Labs is periodically lent out to other departments. Staff should pay close attention to the policies governing these arrangements, to ensure that the item is not lost, damaged, or returned late. Equipment cabinets should be kept locked to discourage theft.

Although staff members are permitted access to the labs after-hours, they should exercise good judgment. Guests should be kept to a minimum and be there for a specific purpose. The doors to the lab should remain locked at all times

Staff members should be familiar with the university's Working Alone Policy and take the appropriate steps to ensuring their personal safety. This includes:

  • Having emergency contact numbers readily available
  • Knowing the location of fire exits, pull-stations and fire extinguishers
  • Being familiar with cash-handling procedures
  • Ensuring their own safe travel when arriving at or leaving work
  • Not hesitating to contact security for help

In the event of an evacuation warning there will be two bells. The first will beat at a rate of 60 beats per second, allowing staff to inform people that they should prepare to leave if the rate of the bell increases. If it begins to ring at 120 beats per second, everyone will be evacuated from the labs. The staff member will lock the outside door.

Staff are responsible for performing administrative duties that keep the Student Computer Labs functioning smoothly.

Staff members must understand and implement procedures that are appropriate for their facilities. These include:

  • Cash handling
  • Equipment Lending
  • ID Card Creation
  • Modem Renewal
  • Reporting a problem

Staff members should be aware of the services that the Information Technology department provides. The U of L Faculty Orientation Manual is a guide to services for students.

Staff members are responsible for reviewing their staff e-mails on a regular basis. This is an important communication channel, alerting you to potential problems or tasks that need to be performed. Standard rules of netiquette apply to the mailing list.