Page 23 - Campus Technology, July 2017
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attend other schools. (Dover’s group also performs a “spot check once or twice a day to make sure we didn’t miss anything.”)
From there, a bot posts a copy of the tweet and its link onto Slack, which is used for internal chat communication. Dover and a few other members of the help center receive notifications on their phones and computers when something from the bot shows up, and they’ll jump on Twitter to send a quick response: “Hey, sorry. We apologize that you’re having issues with the ASU WiFi. Please call us at the following number so we can help you out.”
Most of the time, depending on network traffic, that entire process is “close to live,” Dover said. If the student calls the help center, the support person will ask questions regarding device type, location and whether the problem is new or ongoing. Sometimes, he noted, students will attach to the wireless network as a guest, which restricts them from getting to the systems they want to access. Other times, “They’re letting us know there are significant issues in an area so we can get those escalated.”
Use Twitter to Spur Additional Study
Once U Georgia determined that the complaints were loudest in residence halls, EITS began gathering data in other ways — through help tickets and web forms — to measure the extent of the problem. Eventually, EITS held forums in each
of the residence halls to hear directly from the students. Those sessions generated an earful and helped to formulate a roadmap of priorities.
The school also put together a mobile-only survey with a handful of questions, which was promoted by university housing as well as resident assistants and residence life coordinators and pushed through social media and e-mails to students living in campus housing. That survey, which focused solely on experiences with wireless, had a 35 percent completion rate and included an open-ended question that generated “over a thousand comments” related to getting on the wireless network and staying on, said Testement. All that work “really aligned a whole picture of what we needed to do, so we could get the proper funding for [an upgrade] project,” she pointed out.
Fixing WiFi Isn’t About Better
Netflix Streaming
While a case could always be made that students rely on WiFi too much to power not just mobile devices and laptops but also smart TVs and gaming devices, the results of those open-ended responses at U Georgia suggested something else. “A key story we were hearing from students was [that] they were trying to do their academic work in the residence halls. And because they were having issues with the wireless network, that was compromising them completing their
academic work,” Testement asserted. “It was not just, ‘Fix my WiFi so Netflix is better.’ It really became about, ‘We need to fix this issue so we can ensure that students are succeeding in their classes.’”
The result was an allocation of more than a million dollars committed to upgrading wireless service in residence halls over the subsequent 18 months. Russell Hall, with 950 students, was the first to receive a wireless makeover, when EITS installed nearly 300 access points throughout the facility over spring break in 2016. A follow-up survey to those residents found considerably higher levels of satisfaction after the changes.
Tie Social Feeds Into Student Success
Arizona State’s BI efforts have resulted in all kinds of “sentiment analysis” tied to social commentary, said Dover. He expects the information culled through that work to get richer with time.
Ideally, in the future, Dover anticipates that his crew will be able to fully engage with students in the “Twittersphere.” That would allow them to stay in “that mode of communication that [students are] comfortable with, and we’ll be able to keep the record of that particular tweet and know which agent was helping them,” he said.
That interaction, in turn, would be pushed into a system that could be used for data mining tied to improving service

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