Archive for November, 2009

In January 2008 the Springboard learning management system (LMS) was launched. In May 2008 there were 1,397 active course sections in the system. In November 2009 there were 2,615 active course sections and over 24,000 unique student logins to the environment each month. The rapid adoption of Springboard by faculty and students to extend the physical classroom into the online environment has been truly impressive. Predictably, this growth spurt has challenged our ability to provide clients with the support they have come to expect and deserve. During the Fall 2009 start-up it became evident that we were nearing maximum capacity for the two individuals tasked with responding in a timely fashion to the hundreds of requests for assistance directed to their personal email accounts, personal phones, emails to Springboard Help, voice messages to the Springboard Help phone and Footprints tickets. So like the ‘Mom and Pop’ shop that has outgrown its neighborhood location, we have outgrown our existing system and need to restructure how Springboard support is provided to meet the increasing demands.

A careful analysis of requests for assistance directed to Springboard Help indicates that over 80% were generated by students. These Level 1 and Level 2 requests were for issues such as: unable to see my class, course not active, quizzes not active, or content won’t open. The first step in designing an expanded Springboard support system was to separate routine student questions from faculty initiated requests. The following elements have now been put in place as:

Benefits for Students

  1. All requests for assistance must be directed to the Zip Support Center by phone 330-972-6888 or by email: support@uakron.edu
  2. A new ‘role’ was defined within Springboard for Zip Support Center staff that will allow them increased visibility to diagnose and resolve problem issues.
  3. Performance-based training was provided to Zip Support Center staff to develop their expertise in Springboard and Peoplesoft related support issues.
  4. The Zip Support Center provides expanded hours of service and all requests will generate a Footprints ticket. The ticket system will ensure rapid escalation to Level 3 resources if the problem cannot be resolved by the support center. Tracking requests will help us improve service offerings and identify problem patterns more easily.

The second step was to ensure the accumulated knowledge about Springboard was documented and re-distributed to a support team of highly trained full-time staff members. Requests from faculty that cannot be resolved by the Zips Support staff such as, “Oops, I accidentally changed all my grades to F’s” are immediately escalated and assigned to the Springboard support team. The net gain for faculty will be a faster response time resulting in the following:

Benefits for Faculty

  1. All requests for assistance directed to the Zip Support Center by phone 330-972-6888 or by email: support@uakron.edu will benefit from the expanded hours of service.
  2. Performance-based training was provided to full time staff to develop a multi-person support team to provide Level 3 support for faculty – currently 6 individuals – with the knowledge and skills required to solve problems and develop solutions.
  3. Rapid escalation to Desire2Learn Support for any problems that are unique.
  4. Changes have been made to the role of “instructor” to permit increased instructor control of specific tasks at the course level such as adding a Teaching Assistant.

To those faculty who have adopted Springboard – THANK YOU! We remain fully committed to supporting your efforts and providing first quality services.

To those with an interest in adding Springboard to your instructional plans, please contact Instructional Services so we can help you get started.