Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Student Technology Assistant Programs - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Student Technology Assistant Programs

How do STAs save money?
STAs are trained to do many of the same functions that are done by full time technical staff. Because STAs receive a small percentage of the salary/benefits of full time permanent staff, the institution can expand services to meet IT support service demands.

How will STAs be managed?
The STA program is designed around the concept of self management. A professional staff person will use a multi-level student management model to create an integrated management process that gives students management experience and increases the availability of full time IT staff to do the more demanding assignments.

In what areas can STAs work?
In the model institutions, the STAs work in the following areas: Technical support for faculty, Campus Computer Labs, Classroom Support, Desktop Support, Help Desk, Network Services, Peer Training, Photo Services, Printing Services, Shortcourses, Technical Resources, Television Services, Visual Design Services, and Web Maintenance Services.

What kind of training do STAs receive?
An important aspect of the program is an ongoing mentoring model that enables students to work closely and learn from seasoned staff. In addition, ongoing formal training takes place throughout the year, and an intensive hands-on training program is held each summer that STAs are required to attend.

Does this mean that an institution can eliminate IT staff positions?
Eliminating full time staffing is not usual for organizations that have implemented STA Programs. While some have used funds from vacant positions to initially fund the program, the emphasis has been on using money more effectively to develop better IT support across the institution.

What advantages are there to the students?
The student advantages are plentiful: career preparation through real work experience, management experience, and enhanced information literacy (especially for the non IT majors); learning and growth as a result of their working with faculty and staff as IT peers; building of interpersonal skills; and being part of an active Learning Community.

Can students really step up to this level of self-management and service?
Interestingly this concern is one of the largest obstacles for this program to overcome. Since student turnover is constant and the level of responsibility high, this is an often asked question. The best answer is that all of the model STA institutions have succeeded beyond their expectations.

Student Technology Assistants - STA+ (Large) Programs

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