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What Happens over in ITS?

Last Friday, as I took my seat in my English class, one of my peers mentioned a struggle she had just been through with the IT Help Desk. She started to describe what had happened to her computer, and the class burst into discussion—almost everyone had a similar problem.

She had had difficulties printing from a personal Mac laptop to campus printers, and the faculty’s response was to upgrade to a newer operating system. The student purchased this software and, while downloading it, she fried her entire hard drive. She now has to send her laptop to an Apple store and spend an absurd amount of money on data-recovery. This inconvenience could have been avoided if the staff at the help desk had mentioned to her that you cannot jump two levels when upgrading the operating system, or else the hard drive will crash.

Her frustration hit home with all of us, and we proceeded to tell our stories. The most frequent concerns are ITS’ apparent refusal to help students with non-school-issued computers, the all-too-common re-imaging that erases all of the student’s documents, music, and pictures, and my personal dilemma—my computer randomly shuts down and will not turn on again.

As many classes at Deerfield require programs on our laptops, most students have become dependent on their computers. No one expects that students go through all four years without experiencing technical difficulties at some point, so we should be able to turn to familiar faces at the Help Desk and trust that they will fix the problem. So why does everyone get a feeling of dread when they come to the realization that they must take their computer to the Koch Center and leave it in the hands of the computer experts?

It is the fear of the unknown. Most students on campus feel a disconnect with the staff at ITS and do not like the idea of dropping off their laptop with no information of what will happen to their computer over the indefinite period of time it remains in the hands of the tech staff.

I have taken my computer in three times for the same problem, so I cannot help feeling hesitant to take it in again. From my point of view, when the staff cannot figure out what to do, they take a look at it and return it to me without addressing the problem at hand. This is my only explanation since ITS has not reached out to tell me what is going on.

So can the student body develop a friendly relationship with the IT department? Who are the people in ITS? We feel that since no one really knows people on the staff—and they most likely don’t know us—then they don’t feel a responsibility to do all they can to help us. If we want to eliminate this judgment, we should make an effort to get to know the people behind the Help Desk, and increase the level of communication so that we can walk in feeling comfortable dropping off our laptops, and leave knowing exactly what they are going to do to fix it.