Online Computer Lab Maintenance

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Often, the computer service department will take the responsibility of managing online computer labs. The technicians in the department will perform the tasks related to technical support, training, routing maintenance, lab update, and troubleshooting. By nature, before a semester starts, there are more demands for lab update and reconstruction. During a semester, there will be some demands for troubleshootingand technical support. Upon an agreement, the computer service department will dedicate some staff members to carry out these duties. The dedicated staff members should be able to design and implement the labs to meet requirements from instructors and students. Backup staff members should also be appointed in case a dedicated person is not available due sickness or vacation.

In many cases, instructors may also be involved in computer lab management. They need to design lab activities and provide the requirements for software and hardware. They will need to work together with the lab management team to update or rebuild the labs. They will be asked to verify if the newly built labs meet the requirements of teaching and hands-on practice for the technology-based courses. They will alsoperform some technical support duties to help students during lab sessions.

The basic goals of lab maintenance are to:

  • Make an online computer lab as secure as possible so that it is a safe computing environment to perform hands-on practice.
  • Make a computer lab as reliable as possible so that instructors and students can access the lab anytime and anywhere.
  • Make a computer lab able to support as many services as possible so that it can support multiple technology-based courses at the same time.

 It will take great effort to achieve these goals. The following are some of the topics related to the accomplishment of these goals.

Management Model

Theoretically, there are two types of management models designed to achieve the above goals. The first management model is the IT infrastructure library (ITIL). ITIL is a library containing a set of documents and each of them covers a specific IT management topic. It provides the guideline for IT management such as incident management, problem management, change management, configuration management, and release management. The Microsoft operations framework (MOF) is another management model based on the concept of ITIL. MOF provides guidelines to ensure reliability, availability, supportability, manageability, and performance.

Service delivery: Based on the agreement between the service provider and the customer, Service Delivery is a collection of management activities to make sure that a set of specified services are available to the customer. This topic contains five disciplines, service level management, capacity management, contingency planning, availability management, and financial management. Based on the Service Delivery guidelines, a set of checklists are usually prepared to help IT managers to better deliver the services.

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