IT Helpdesk program sees increased use

Caitlin Carter

Students, faculty and staff who run into computer problems on campus may find they don’t have to go to Mass Media and Technology Hall to get help.

GoToAssist allows a Helpdesk consultant to remotely control a user’s computer in order to figure out and fix problems, said Lori Douglas, director of the IT Helpdesk and ResNet.

It has been used in more than 7,000 cases this year, Helpdesk Consultant Michael Moore said. He expects that number to hit 10,000 by December.

“Its usage has exponentially escalated every semester, particularly this one,” Moore said.

In 2009, GoToAssist was used in only 7,000 cases total, he said.

A user is first directed to the Helpdesk portal, Douglas said. There, the user is prompted to enter his or her WKU ID and Helpdesk-given code that allows the consultant to log onto the computer.

“We can use our keyboard and mouse to control their computer,” Douglas said. “It helps a lot when it’s hard to explain things over the phone. (The client) sees what’s happening, and then the Helpdesk consultant can ask, ‘Do you see where I’m moving my mouse? Where I’m going? What I’m doing?'”

Users of GoToAssist usually don’t encounter many problems, Moore said.

If there are any, they usually arise from security settings, he said.

“Internet Explorer is infamous for having very high security settings on their browser,” Moore said. “So there can sometimes be difficulty in connecting to GoToAssist.”

GoToAssist works on all common browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, Moore said.

“As of last year, Go To Assist was able to connect to Macs as well,” Moore said. “It used to be completely Windows-based.”

Until 2006, WKU’s Helpdesk only supported faculty and staff, Douglas said. With students now supported, the client base jumped from around 5,000 to 20,000 people.

“Solving problems quicker and more efficiently was something we had to do,” Douglas said. “GoToAssist allowed us to do so with the new, high number of clients.”

Before WKU began using remote access to client computers, workers had to go onsite for most problems, Moore said.

“That is a lot of manpower and time to go to everybody’s office or have the students come down here to solve the problems,” he said. “And efficiency is number one.”

Overall, GoToAssist has been well-received at WKU, said Bob Owen, vice president for Information Technology.

Each time GoToAssist is implemented, the user is prompted to take a survey regarding satisfaction, Owen said.

In the last three months, 85 percent of users have liked it and are extremely pleased with the results, 13 percent have only liked it and 2 percent were neutral, he said.