Keeping the G-whiz in G-Tech

When students at Gettysburg have a problem with their computer, their first line of defense is to call the student-staffed G-Tech Center at X 6935. If the problem is not straight forward enough to be resolved with phone assistance, the student is asked to bring their computer to the G-Tech Office located in the West Building at the rear of the Digital Media Center. If the problem is with the software, such as the removal of a computer virus, a network problem, data recovery or possibly backing up data from a damaged hard drive, the student technicians at G-Tech will assist students on a first-come, first-served basis. If the problem is with the hardware and the computer is still under warrantee, the technicians will ask them to contact the manufacturer for service or a replacement part. Otherwise the student is responsible for purchasing a replacement part with the option that G-Tech may do the replacement. In short, G-Tech is a fantastic solution for students with computer problems. But, who is responsible for keeping the G-Tech students organized and supervising the quality of their work? That is where Chris Marsh, Computer Support Specialist, enters the picture. Her primary responsibility is to ensure that the student technicians’ work is done in a responsible way and is of high quality.

Chris, a native of western Pennsylvania, arrived on campus in 2007 and has been working with G-Tech ever since then. She presently resides in Fairfield. Chris’s formal credentials include a BSCS in Information Technology and experience working for a computer repair service taking calls that included hardware and network problems. What did not appear in her formal credentials is that she is fantastic working with her team of student workers.

Her work hours have been arranged to provide more suitable access hours for students who may need help. Her office in the West Building is adjacent to the G-Tech work room. This space makes it easy to hold team meetings, discuss policies, procedures, problems, new ideas and, as always, build esprit dcorps.

In addition, Chris is responsible for keeping up with new technology and making sure that her student technicians are prepared for the services that they may need to provide. Two facts have reduced the number of service visits to G-Tech recently: there is no longer a required operating system for on-campus network use and the switch to gbcwifi also means that students no longer need to join a domain. However, there are still computer viruses, hardware problems and the need to rescue data from computers with hard drive problems. There is also a need to make adjustments for new computer architectures. All of these are handled by Chris and her G-Tech team.

While Chris participates in the interviews of all applicants for G-Tech, she also relies on the judgment of the Student Manager and Student Supervisors, whom she selects. These students handle the day-to-day scheduling of student technicians and do initial quality assurance evaluations. Of course, they report directly to Chris. Some of Chris other responsibilities are the writing of information pamphlets to be given to new students at Get Acquainted Day and arriving students during First Year Move-In Day.

Gettysburg has a great team of student technicians who are always ready and able to help their colleagues. The driving force behind them is Chris Marsh. Great job, Chris!

A Tale of Two Networks

When individuals become members of the Gettysburg College community, they are automatically given a college network account complete with their own personal login name. With this account they can go to any of the publicly available computers on campus and logon to the college network. Many of these computers have network cables leading to the College’s secure network. Other computers, including individually owned personal computers with WiFi capability, are able to logon to the internet from anywhere on campus via the gbcwifi wireless network. This network gives full access to the internet for surfing the web and e-mail just as is available on public networks in many coffee shops, airports or network connections at home. It also gives individuals access to authorized Moodle accounts, personal pages in the Student or Faculty Center, parts of the CMS and CNAV. In the same way that individuals are responsible for the security of their data on any public network, they are responsible for it on gbcwifi. Thus, IT maintains two networks on campus. One is a very local network with state of the art security for all data, specialized services, and College owned software. The other is a publicly accessible wireless network requiring all of the precautions common when working on any public network.

Most faculty and administrative staff are supplied with a college owned computer for doing their college related work. According to their office and/or preference, they are issued either a PC or a Mac. They, generally, have a choice between a desktop model or a laptop. In their offices they have a portal for a network cable to connect to the College’s secure network. IT assumes responsibility for the repair and maintenance of that computer. It is expected that any work done on that computer involving sensitive or protected college owned data, such as financial information or student grades, remains on that computer and may not be transferred to personally owned computers. Any loss of such data resulting from its use on a network other than the secure college network becomes the responsibility of the user.

Gbcwifi has the advantage that it can handle tablets, electronic readers, smart phones, and similar devices, giving users a wide variety of connection options and access to Apps. Please note that there is no on campus provision for restoring data lost by these devices. For this reason it is essential that the individuals provide for some form of back up. Generally this is done using a cloud service. Failure to have made such provisions is, at best, risky business.

By providing the Gettysburg College community with two networks, IT is giving members of the college community options for using a variety of devices, quick connection to the digital world and providing a secure storage point for sensitive protected data and specialized software.

A View Of The Campus
From The Tower On Doubleday Avenue
Near the Peace Light

Building Connections Across Campus