Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Our Helpdesk System

Our Helpdesk System

For several years now we have used a vendor-hosted helpdesk system called “Kayako Fusion.”  Kayako is the name of the company, Fusion the name of the software.  It is a great product at a fair price.  It has worked well and has made our organization better able to serve Palomar College faculty, staff and students.  (The company is located in the Punjab, but that is neither here nor there in the Internet age). Being vendor hosted, however, creates some limitations. Beginning August 1st we have taken the next step in making this product more effective by hosting it locally.

The good news is we can now use Palomar LDAP (light duty authentication protocol—the same used to login to Blackboard, WordPress and your web sites) to login to our helpdesk system and to track the progress of help request tickets.  (Remember, I am talking about the Academic Technology helpdesk, not the Information Services helpdesk, the one you go to for on-campus computer or email problems).  The way the “soon to be old” system works is that when a user creates a help request ticket via the web site, she has to submit an email address and the system creates a password at random so that the user can have an ongoing dialog with us as we work through solving their issue.  Since the password is so random, few people can remember it and therefore interactions are limited.  With the new system the userid and password will be the same ones used to login to Blackboard.  Therefore, users can login BEFORE they create a help ticket request, and we will better be able to serve them.

Since the system will be pulling their personal information from what is called their Palomar Active Directory account, it will use their Palomar email as the primary email address.  this is a bit of a limitation, because many students and some professors do not want to use their Palomar email address as their primary email contact point, but it is possible to enter an alternative email in the system, so it is not a serious disadvantage.

Currently, if help requests come in via email (atrc@palomar.edu) or phone (760-744-1150 ext. 2862), and the user does not leave all the information we need to contact them and work on their help request we have to contact them, if possible, and ascertain this information.  I’m talking about basic information like their own contact information, phone number, etc.  Under the new system if users email us from a Palomar College email address, or call from a Palomar College telephone, the information will be captured automatically, the help ticket created, and the user will be able to track the progress of the ticket by logging into the help system web site with their Palomar login credentials.  If the user emails us from a non-Palomar email address about a new issue they will receive an automated reply asking them to create a ticket via our help desk web site or to resubmit the request from their Palomar email address.

For these reasons, we are encouraging users to submit help requests to the new web site, effective August 1, 2012, at http://www.palomar.edu/atrc/helpdesk.  Remember, this address will not be effective until August 1.  The current helpdesk web site is at http://palomaratrc.helpserve.com.  The current site will remain active for a couple of months after the switchover, but contain only redirection information to the new site.

To summarize, Academic Technology help will still be available via the new helpdesk web site, email, phone and live chat.  Tickets generated via any of these methods will be associated with the users Palomar login account, and they will be able to track ticket progress by logging in to the web site with their Palomar userid and password.  If students have password login problems, as often happens at the beginning of semesters, they can reset them in the eServices system.

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