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									  How do you get them?
What do you do with them?
 How do you keep them?

Innovative Ideas for Managing Law
School Student Computing Workers

           June 22, 2000
              Presented by:

            Ana Marie Hinman
        Washoe County Law Library

               Darcy L. Jones
University of Missouri-Columbia Law Library

             Sarah W. Conrad
Case Western Reserve University Law Library
Ana Marie Hinman

 Current   contact information:
 Reference Librarian
 Washoe County Law Library
 P.O. Box 30083
 Reno, Nevada 89520-3083
 (775) 328-3095
    Why We’re Doing This
 Realization that lab assistants are different than
  traditional law school and library student assistants
    Require technical trouble-shooting and problem-
      solving skills
 Realization that law schools are each different, and
  we don’t each have the same expectations for the
  students who work for us
 Although our problems and solutions may be
  different, we also found quite a bit of overlap
 We will discuss some of the challenges we’ve
  encountered in our environments, some of the ways
  we tried to overcome them, what worked well, and
  what didn’t work well
Creighton Law Library
Computing Structure
 Law School Network        Student Assistants for
  Administrator is           Network Admin. are
                             supervised by the
  employed by both           Network Admin.
  Law School and
  Law Library
                            Lab Monitors are
 Reference/Electroni        supervised by
  c Services Librarian       Ref/Electronic Services
  is employed by             Librarian and they also
  library and                work at the Circulation
  supervises labs            Desk
    Creighton Law Computing

      Law School                 Law Library

             Network Administrator             Ref/Electronic
                  Student Assistant
                                                 3 LABS

Lexis & Westlaw
                                               3 Student Lab
                                               *also work at Circ.
Student Employees Not Hired
by Creighton
   Lexis and Westlaw Hire        Lexis and Westlaw
    Student                        Reps are also required
    Representatives                to clock-in on the
   In the past, some              library’s timeclock
    representatives were           computer
    not very responsive to        The Reps handle Lexis
    the needs of the library       and Westlaw questions
    and computer users             in the labs and help to
   Guidelines were                maintain the company
    developed                      printers and supplies
Law Library Computer Labs
 Two computer labs (Lillis Lab & Skinner Lab)
  housing 8 PC’s each are in the library upper
 One computer lab/classroom (Kutak Lab)
  housing 25 PC’s is in the library lower level
 Lab monitors have a designated seat at the
  instructor’s PC in the lower level lab
 The Lexis rep is asked to work in the Lillis
  Lab where the Lexis printer is housed
 The Westlaw rep is asked to work in the
  Skinner Lab where the Westlaw printer is
Lab Monitor Hiring
 Hiring is usually easy because work hours
  are convenient and students are allowed to
 Lab monitors are not hired to cover the entire
  time that that the labs are open. Only 2 or 3
  lab monitors work at the library in any given
 Notice is sent to campus student employment
  office and posted on their web site.
 Have had better luck hiring non-law students,
  but it can be helpful to have a law student on
Lab Monitor Pay
 Lab monitors used to be paid more than Circ.
  Deskworkers, but now the pay is the same
 Used to try to hire very technically proficient
  computing-major students, but they can make
  so much more money elsewhere, the library
  couldn’t pay enough to recruit them
 Also, the library’s computing equipment was
  upgraded and more reliable, and law students
  became more and more computer-literate
 Now, the Network Admin. hires one
  computing assistant with advanced skills at a
  higher rate of pay
    A Need for a New Type of Lab
 No longer needed student computer ―guru’s‖
 Needed workers that could fill-in at the Circulation
 Needed workers who were willing to do everyday
  tasks like checking printers and computer cleaning,
  and who didn’t get bored because they couldn’t work
  on challenging computer problems frequently
 Needed workers who could communicate well and
  report computer problems accurately via e-mail
Cross-training at Circulation
 Lab monitors were told that they would need
  to work a few hours per week at the
  Circulation Desk
 There were few complaints from the student
  workers, and many were happy that they
  could get extra work hours
 Some confusion about which supervisor
  handled what job issues came up and
  scheduling was a bit more complex
 Overall very successful, and Lab monitors
  became more responsive to the needs of
Lab Monitor Manual and Lexis
and Westlaw Rep. Guidelines
 Lab monitor manual was very helpful in
  training new monitors
 Lexis and Westlaw Representative
  Guidelines helped to improve responsiveness
  of student reps
 Checklists keep workers on track
 Copies of these supervisory documents may
  be found at
Timeclock Software
 Can be very useful in making sure that
  students show up for shifts
 Creighton Law Library has used Time
  Capture for Windows since 3/99
 Versatile Software Solutions
 Steven Williams is the main library supervisor
  who uses the software for management and
  payroll purposes and he is available to
  answer your questions about the library’s use
  of the software--
Lab Monitor Duties
 Maintain printers—clear paper jams, make
  sure there is enough paper in them, and
  handle printing quota questions
 Help students with computing questions
  involving word-processing and instructor
  assigned computer exercises like CALI and
  interactive cd’s
 Lexis and Westlaw questions usually
  forwarded to Reference Librarians or
  company student representatives (1L’s & 2L’s
  receive extensive training in their required
  legal research and writing courses, so this
  isn’t much of a problem.)
Lab Monitor Retention
 Easier to retain the ―new‖ type of lab monitor
  rather than a computer ―guru‖
 Monitors usually work at the library for
  several years because we are so flexible with
  scheduling and allow students to study while
  at work
 During the student’s first semester of work,
  the student is allowed to work only 10 hours
  per week, so that the student isn’t
  overwhelmed at mid-term time, etc.
 Students who do a poor job even after
  counseling, training, and several warnings
  are terminated
Darcy L. Jones
   Automated Systems/Technical Services
    University of Missouri-Columbia School
       of Law Library
    224C Hulston Hall
    Columbia, MO 65211
    (573) 882-9680
Computer Services Organization
MU School of Law
                      Computer Services Organizational Chart

               Law School                               Law Library

               Director of                          Automated Systems/
          Law School Computing                     Technical Services Lib.

 Law School Faculty         Classroom      Law Library Staff    Computer Support
 & Staff Computing          Technology    & Public Computing       Specialist

                                                                  Lab Assistants

                                                                   Computer Lab
 No System In Place To Determine Skill-
  Levels Before Hiring
 Budgetary Constraints
       Cannot have lab assistants all the hours the lab is
            Little Cross-Over Time with Computer Support Specialist
                 Difficulty Assessing Skills or Helpfulness
                 Difficulty Communicating or Teaching New Skills
                 Little Opportunity to Reinforce Expectations
                 Assistants Were Largely Unsupervised
Challenges/Constraints cont.
   Most Assistants Only Worked 4-5 hrs./wk.
        Didn’t Have Responsibility or Investment in Lab
        Didn’t Work Enough Hours to be Aware of Changes
         or Reinforce Newly Acquired Skills
        Could Only Answer the Most Basic Questions and
         Performed Little Trouble-Shooting
   Assistants Did Not Have Many Tasks Besides
    Selling Print Credits and Adding Paper to
        Growing Resentment Among Other Library
    Plan for Change
   Determine What Tasks Lab Assistants Should
    be Responsible For:
       Clearing Print Jams and Filling Paper
       Selling Print Credits
       Lab Maintenance (Cleaning Keyboards, Monitors,
        Mice, Updating Virus Definitions, etc.)
       Advanced Skills with Windows, Word Processing
        Software, and E-mail Functions
       Basic Trouble-Shooting
       Creating User Tutorials
Plan for Change cont.
 Designa Centralized Location for
 Develop On-Going Training Plan
How To Get Them
 Advertise   Aggressively
   Besides Usual Human Resources Options,
    Advertise in Computer Science, Library
    Science, and Law School
 Offer Higher Rate of Pay Depending on
  Qualifications ($6.50 v. $5.15)
 Be on the Look-Out for Technically
  Savvy Law Students in the Lab
Determining Their Skill Levels -
Quiz Software
 Quiz   Software
   Interactive Software and Operating
    Systems Testing
   Windows, Word, WordPerfect, Access,
    Excel, PowerPoint, Lotus 1-2-3
   Scoring, Methods Used, Time Spent

   Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced
    Questions Answered
    What To Do With Them
 Up-front training – thorough orientation
  session and check-list of skills they should
  know from the beginning
 Assign periodic maintenance tasks
 Have them record what they’ve done on their
  shifts (LawNet)
       Record cash-box transactions
       Record all questions and how they were solved
       Record documentation and Maintenance Task
What To Do With Them, cont.
   On-Going Training Through User Tutorial
    Creation (FAQ Page)
       Best Way to Learn is to Teach
       Reinforces Skills
       Gets Them Thinking About Ways to Improve
 ―Senior‖ Lab Assistant Either Because of Skill
  Level, Seniority, or Level of Resposibility
 Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
       Message Board
       Lab List-serv
How To Keep Them
 Give Them Tasks That Require More
  Creativity (Web Work)
 Train Assistants About Computer Applications
  That Interest Them
 Remain Flexible –
       Ability to do Homework When Other Tasks are
       Don’t Assign Tasks During Finals or Mid-Terms
Sarah W. Conrad
 ElectronicServices & Training Librarian
 Case Western Reserve University Law
 11075 East Boulevard
 Cleveland, OH 44106-7158
 (216) 368-5342

 Three Computer Labs
 2nd  floor computer lab - 17 computers
 3rd floor computer lab - 15 computers
 3rd floor Glickman Electronic Training
  Classroom - 8 computers
      Used as a lab when there are no training
 Laser printers, as well as Lexis and
 Westlaw printers, in both 2nd and 3rd
 floor computer labs

      Computing Structure: Case Western
      Reserve University Law School
                                                        Law School

                                                        Law Library

                                                    Law Library Director

                                       Associate Director for Information & Technology

Electronic Services & Training Librarian           Network Administrator                 Software & Applications Coordinator

       Student Lab Assistants                       Hardware Technician
            (approx. 10)

                                                      Student Techs
                                                        (approx. 3)
What do you do with them?

Student Techs
 Respond   to calls from faculty and staff
  on the Law School’s Help Desk phone
 Troubleshoot and install hardware and
 Assist with imaging and testing new
 What do you do with them?

 Student Lab Assistants
Primary            Answer Law Students’
Responsibilities:   computing questions
                                word processing
                                printing
                                e-mail
                                Internet
                                online applications (Lexis-
                                 Nexis, Westlaw, CALI, etc.)
    What do you do with them?

    Student Lab Assistants, cont.
   Maintain supplies of paper and toner in
    printers; clear paper jams
        laser printers, as well as Lexis and Westlaw
   Maintain cleanliness of computer labs
        filing student printouts; recycling discarded print
        cleaning computer screens
        dusting on and around the computers
        removing lint from mice
   Troubleshoot basic hardware and software
What do you do with them?

Student Lab Assistants, cont.
 Average  student works 12-15
 Pay rates
    new campus minimum
    student lab assistants - $.25 more/hour
    student techs - $.50-$1.00 more/hour

 Allowed to do homework
 One student on per shift
 Need supervision
What do you do with them?

Old Student Computing Structure
 Lab Assistants and Techs were a
  combined group
 2-3 students on duty at all times
 Students would answer Help Desk
  phone and go on calls
 What do you do with them?

Old Student Computing Structure, cont.
 Problems        with old structure:
   confusing who was working for whom and
    who was responsible for what duties
   lab would be unmanned at times
       law students then look for me, or
       ask for help at Circulation/Reference desk on

        the 1st floor
             unequipped to assist with computing problems
             do not know whether anyone is on duty or not, since
              lab assistants stationed on 2nd floor
 How do you get them?

 Campus    Student Employment Office
  posts jobs - students browse the job
  binder, then contact the potential
  employer for a meeting
 Announced the position at an
  Orientation session for first year law
   attracted   three lab assistants this way!
 Referrals    from other lab assistants
 How do you get them?

Most Important Skills/Qualities:
 Able  to communicate clearly
 Friendly
 Willing and eager to try to find a solution
   using own knowledge, help screens, or
    providing the appropriate referral
 Customer service mindset is key!
 Comfortable and familiar with
 How do you get them?

Preferred Skills:
 Vast   experience with Microsoft Word
   Excel  or PowerPoint are an added bonus,
    but infrequently called upon
 Corel    WordPerfect experience
   but,   not many students have ever seen it
 Experience troubleshooting software and
  hardware problems
 Some experience with HTML
How do you get them, and how do you keep them?

Law Students vs. Undergraduates
Law Students
 understand more of the law-specific online
  sources and word processing functions
 typically find jobs in their field that pay more
 lots of contact with peers while working
 potential (perceived) security issue for tech-
  side workers since work with faculty and staff
 How do you get them, and how do you keep them?

Law Students vs. Undergraduates, cont.
 often will work entire time in college
 limited previous work experience
 job attracts computer science and
  engineering majors
 some students take very heavy course load
     some can work only very limited hours
     some find it difficult to keep working at all
How do you get them, and how do you keep them?

Students in General
 Primary  job is being a student
 May have less investment in job or take
  job less seriously since it is part-time
  and not their primary responsibility
 At CWRU, a private institution, there
  seem to be relatively few students who
  seek part-time jobs
 What do you do with them?

  Proven Ideas
            session for all new/
 Orientation
 returning employees
   they get to know each other
   allows me to get to know them a little better
    and vice versa
   promotes general good will

   provide and reiterate crucial information
    only once
   attendance required
What do you do with them?

Proven Ideas, cont.
 Lab       Assistant Binder
     students   consult at the beginning of each
      shift for important new information
         Lab Assistant Manual
         Phone List

         Lab Assistant Work Schedule

         Tips on new problems

     centraldissemination point for up-to-date
 What do you do with them?

 Proven Ideas, cont.

 Lab Assistant       Manual
   each  student given a copy when they begin
    the job, plus a copy is kept in the Lab
    Assistant Binder
   clearly delineates their role and
    responsibilities as a Lab Assistant
   includes Law School Computer Lab-
    specific problems and their solutions
    How do you keep them?

    Other Ideas (aka Idealistic Plans)
   Projects to work on while student assistants await
    questions - some examples:
       Computer Lab Quick Reference topics (tutorials)
          students get credit - their name is on the handout

          help lab users, plus help lab assistants to develop

             their own skills
     Computer      Lab web page
          will have links to Quick Reference topics online
          will show lab assistants’ photos and names

          hopefully, will be a source of pride for the students

             who work on the page
 How do you keep them?

 Common Retention Problems
 Boredom
   Computer   science and engineering majors,
    especially, may become bored with the job
   some flee to the Tech side

 Heavy  academic work load
 Internship/co-op at local company
   requiredfor some of the degrees at CWRU
   combination of better pay and excellent
  How do you keep them?

 Underlying reality: To a large extent,
  need a ―body‖ in the labs
    studentdoes not need extensive
     computing experience
    we attempt to provide coverage during all
     open lab hours
   takes time to plan projects
 It
 Most student workers are not motivated
  enough to create their own projects
How do you keep them?

 Further Reality
 Their   position and location is highly visible
   students, faculty, and staff alike feel their
    absence when they are not there
   their constant presence is positive and
 Theyhave a lot of knowledge and
 resources at their fingertips: to refer
 questions to the proper person, to search
 the Lab Binder for solutions to common
 problems, etc.
 How do you keep them?

 Further Reality, cont.
Student   Lab Assistants play a
 vital role in the computer labs,
 just by being there, ready and
 available for questions.

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