The IT Department announced this week that Blackboard support is now available for all faculty, staff and students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Prior to this change, Blackboard support was available during normal office hours and only occasionally extended to evenings and Sundays. No support was available overnight or on holidays.
The biggest reason for the change to 24/7 support was to allow students to have help at all hours of the day, said Jean Marlow, Deputy Chief Technology Officer.
“We know that students visit Blackboard to read course materials, post assignments, contribute to discussion forums and take online tests at all hours,” Marlow said. “We expect that students who call the service desk will receive excellent help with all Blackboard issues, whether they call during normal office hours or at 3 a.m. on Friday.”
This year, EKU negotiated a new contract in order to continue using Blackboard. In this new contract, the Blackboard company offered good terms to the university to include 24/7 telephone support, said Gene Kleppinger, Manager of Online Learning.
Most of the telephone support will now be handled by the Blackboard company, rather than IT staff at EKU, Marlow said.
Though this change will impact who is directly handling the support for the faculty and students, the IT department does not anticipate any changes, such as downsizing, to occur, Marlow said. The EKU IT staff will still be available to assist with any technological problems, whether that is with Blackboard or other EKU technologies.
“Our staff will continue to handle issues during office hours, and will continue to be busy servicing all sorts of technology issues,” Marlow said.
Recently, EKU’s online courses have been expanding. This means that more students from all over the world are taking online courses, making Blackboard help sometimes necessary at all hours of the day for those students, Marlow said.
Some of the most common technical issues are problems with submitting files or tests, posting to discussion forums or viewing grades in Blackboard, and students often go directly to their professors with a problem, Kleppinger said. The 24/7 support is used for students to contact the Blackboard company itself, rather than contacting professors who may not know how to fix a problem the student is having.
Mostly, the IT Department staff members want to be able to help students and faculty with any problems they come across, and, if they can’t help immediately, their goal is to gain as much information from the users to solve the issue as soon as possible, Kleppinger said.
“Students and faculty increasingly work at all hours of the day and night,” Kleppinger said. “We must be ready to help them at any time.”
For all EKU students and faculty, the number to call for Blackboard support and assistance is (859) 622-3000.