Support and Training Committee Report

Chebucto Community Net, April 23, 1997

Below are reports from the leaders of each of the five teams:

Help Documentation: David L. Potter <ab934>

Over the last year, a major revision of the HelpDesk has been undertaken in conjunction with the ongoing work to distribute CSuite to other communities.

This work has included the revision of many documents, the establishment of a documentation model that will allow documents developed at any CSuite site to be easily integrated into another site's document base, thus reducing the work required to maintain documentation at all CSuite sites.

The New HelpDesk is now installed although we are still awaiting several new indexing tools. The new HelpDesk a more consistent 'look and feel including a consistent set of document footers.

User Help: Tony Cianfaglione <ab616>

According to the archives, Userhelp processed 2046 requests for assistance since the assumption of the team Leader in May, 1996. Of these, approximately 14% were referred to ccn-tech for intervention and 3% to other departments such as the office or Board. The busiest times at Userhelp are at contract times when the system switches to a new provider and some features may change.

We had 8 new Userhelp members join, 6 old members leave, 7 regular members in addition to the Team Leader. Userhelp would like to commend all the participating volunteers for their assistance in making Userhelp run smoothly.

User Training: Clive Bagley <clive>

In the past 12 months, we put on 29 training courses, each of about two hours duration consisting of nine sets of the Basic User Training 1, 2 and 3 courses plus two sessions on HTML and Editing Your Profile. Class size varied from 4 to 22 with an average of ten people.

For the first part of the year training courses were held in Room B271 at the Killam Library. We shared the room with Dal. students, and there were many occasions when the room was very crowded.

Over the summer of 1996, we began conducting some of our training using a computer lab at the Halifax Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College on Bell Road. That location gives us the use of a well equipped computer lab for our exclusive use for a two hour time slot on Saturdays - and lots of parking! We are currently conducting all CCN User Training at that location.

Information Provider Training: Bob Adams <ac200>

Since March 1996, 27 new IP Editors have been trained (see Roster, under g ip), another half dozen are near completion, and many more are on our lists, but inactive.

Since March 1996 the IP Training has been reorganized into a strictly on-line training system involving on-line tutorials and a series of on-line assignments or tests. This permits applicants to learn at their own pace and within their own schedule, and is more in keeping with the way our on-line community functions. Experienced html editors have completed the training in as little as a day or two. Most others complete in a week or two, once they get going. A few have taken one or two months, because they were very new to computing, or because they were very busy with other things.

The new program has been quite effective. Working actively from their own account rather than sitting inactively listening in a classroom has made the training more realistic. Applicants must practice and apply the skills before becoming IPs, all but eliminating the usual errors and requests for help that used to prevail in launching new IPs.

When I began in March 1996 there was thought to be a crisis in IP Training, and that lack of training was stalling IP creation. This proved to be unfounded. Numerous names were put forward as needing training, but most were not serious about it, many had no intention of becoming an IP editor, some had only toyed with the idea, and some were frankly surprised their names had been forwarded.

Our on-line IP Training resources are quite under-utilized. We are set up to handle far more applicants (up to 200/yr?), but there seem to be few new IP Applications that follow through to completion. Judging from comments from a few of the many who enquire, then disappear, it seems most potential IPs would prefer to be on systems with lots of CGI bells and whistles, and direct FTP transfer of files.

Public Access Terminals:

The current team leader is Doug Rigby <drigby>. There are currently eleven public access sites in Metro Halifax. (See list below) Those offering regular user support and instruction included Spencer House and Dartmouth Seniors' Service Centre. CCN registration classes are held regularly at Spring Garden Road Memorial, Halifax North Memorial and Thomas Raddall Libraries. Due to technical difficulties, cable linked PATs at Spring Garden Memorial and Alderney Gate Libraries were withdrawn.