[Discussion] workflow of support

James Howard james at partimus.org
Sun Aug 14 02:37:26 PDT 2011

> On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 4:50 PM, James Howard <james at partimus.org> wrote:
>>> We have two or three support models: 1) Grant goes by Everrett every
>>> Wednesday or so and keeps an eye on things. 2) Christian keeps an eye
>>> on KIPP and CACS. They call him when something breaks. 3) Grant goes
>>> by CACS occasionally, talks to teachers, and finds out what's broken.
>> It's actually been quite a bit more complex than that, involving a lot
>> of
>> different volunteers, during different periods, who communicate with
>> many
>> different teachers via many different channels.
>> It's been suggested before that we set up a trouble ticket system.
>> Perhaps
>> deploy the package on some of our recently acquired web hosting and then
>> direct teachers there. They can file comprehensive reports about their
>> tech questions and problems. Partimus volunteers would then take
>> ownership
>> of each problem and track progress using this system until completion.
>> It's also been suggested that this sort of system would not be adopted
>> by
>> the teachers. That nothing beats good old fashioned face time at regular
>> intervals. They teachers describe their problems to you in person, and
>> you
>> schedule time to work with them on the problem on site.
>> I imagine whatever approach we take could involve both software and
>> personal communication.
> I agree. A combination of both would serve corner cases. We use RT
> (http://www.bestpractical.com/rt/) in OLPC, which allows for tickets
> to be created simply via e-mail. However, in a situation where the
> computers don't work or get online, it becomes a problem to report the
> problem. I don't know if RT has a phone interface...
> Anyway, I think it would be a good academic exercise for some of our
> students to explore and map out some of these issues.

It would be interesting, and if you could convince the teachers to buy in
to the trouble ticket system, that'd be great.

Generally, speaking, the teachers seem pretty overwhelmed with their own
workloads (teaching) and are usually reluctant or unable to spend too much
time reporting/troubleshooting technology issues (though they all seem to
have wishlists of what they'd like to see-- it'd be nice to get that
documented in a TT system too). Usually, their issues aren't serious, but
when they see you around, human nature rears it's head, and they'll
approach you in attempt to articulate the need or requirement.

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