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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 CALI 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Why We’re Doing This Presentation 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 Administration Network Administrator Ref/Electronic Services Librarian Student Assistant 3 LABS Lexis & Westlaw 3 Student Lab Reps Monitors *also work at Circ. Desk 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 level 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 located Lab Monitor Hiring Hiring is usually easy because work hours are convenient and students are allowed to study. 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 semester. 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 duty. 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 Monitor No longer needed student computer ―guru’s‖ Needed workers that could fill-in at the Circulation Desk 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 Circulation 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 http://www.cali.org/conference/2000/SE SSDESC.HTM#HINMAN 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 http://www.vssi.net/ 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-- email@example.com 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 Librarian University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Library 224C Hulston Hall Columbia, MO 65211 (573) 882-9680 JonesDL@missouri.edu 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 (FTE) Lab Assistants (5-6) Computer Lab Challenges/Constraints No System In Place To Determine Skill- Levels Before Hiring Budgetary Constraints Cannot have lab assistants all the hours the lab is open 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 Printers Growing Resentment Among Other Library Employees 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 Communications 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 Completion 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 Services ―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 Completed Don’t Assign Tasks During Finals or Mid-Terms Sarah W. Conrad ElectronicServices & Training Librarian Case Western Reserve University Law Library 11075 East Boulevard Cleveland, OH 44106-7158 (216) 368-5342 firstname.lastname@example.org Background 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 sessions Laser printers, as well as Lexis and Westlaw printers, in both 2nd and 3rd floor computer labs Background 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 software Assist with imaging and testing new computers What do you do with them? Student Lab Assistants Primary Answer Law Students’ Responsibilities: computing questions regarding: 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 printers Maintain cleanliness of computer labs filing student printouts; recycling discarded print jobs cleaning computer screens dusting on and around the computers removing lint from mice Troubleshoot basic hardware and software problems What do you do with them? Student Lab Assistants, cont. Average student works 12-15 hours/week 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? Hiring 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 students attracted three lab assistants this way! Referrals from other lab assistants How do you get them? Most Important Skills/Qualities: RELIABLE 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 computers 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 support How do you get them, and how do you keep them? Law Students vs. Undergraduates, cont. Undergraduates 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 information 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 experience How do you keep them? Reality 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 reassuring 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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